Hello. I'm Dr Sandra Fryhofer. Welcome to Medicine Matters. The topic: a new policy on nonmedical exemptions to immunization from the American Medical Association (AMA). This segment also includes highlights of a joint report from the AMA Council on Science and Public Health and AMA Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs, presented to the House of Delegates at its June 2015 meeting. Here's why it matters.
Immunizations are life-savers. Because of them, we've eliminated the spread of epidemic diseases like smallpox and polio. When you get vaccinated, you not only protect yourself, you also help prevent spread of disease to others.
High vaccination rates promote herd immunity which protects the unvaccinated, the undervaccinated, as well as those at highest risk for severe disease, including little babies, pregnant women, people with immune system problems, and people with chronic diseases. Thus, immunization benefits not only the person receiving the vaccine but also the wider community.
We have laws that require immunizations before attending public schools. In some states, immunization can even be a condition of employment. For example, Alabama, Colorado, and New Hampshire have mandated flu vaccination for all healthcare personnel.