SAN ANTONIO — Throughout history, vaccinations have been an important part of public health.
Experts say that vaccines prevent the spread of infectious diseases including polio, measles, HPV and COVID-19. But despite long and successful experiences with vaccines, vaccine hesitancy is at an all-time high.
Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, the President and CEO of Bio told us, "We need to make sure, as we're heading into the fall, that people are up to date on their immunizations, whether they're the childhood immunizations, your COVID vaccination or your flu vaccine."
Some are convinced that childhood vaccines caused autism in children. That was debunked, and the large public opinion was starting to accept those vaccines were safe.
Then came COVID.
Dr. McMurry-Heath added, "We were just starting to recover from that and people realizing and reinvesting in that childhood vaccinations when COVID hit. And so I'm sure there is a lingering residue that has had an impact on the COVID vaccinations."
A study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases modeled the spread of COVID in 185 territories and countries worldwide, and found that without vaccines, over 31 million people would have died from the disease between December 2020 and December 2021. In the United States, routine immunizations prevent 10.5 million cases of infectious disease each year and 2,685 hospitalizations every day.
Changing guidance from the CDC caused many to refuse the COVID vaccine, but the changes are due to an increase in knowledge about the virus. Dr. McMurry-Health said, "The silver lining of all of that confusion is that we're confused because the science is continuing to progress incredibly quickly, and that's something we need to rejoice in."
Dr. McMurry-Heath says if it has been more than two months since you got the last COVID booster, which only includes the original strain, getting the latest one, including that strain and BA.4 and BA.5, is a must.
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