Facts About Vaccines: How Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Combats Misinformation
// By Althea Fung //
The recent outbreak of measles puts the issue of vaccination front and center, especially for children’s hospitals. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has taken a leadership role in providing accurate, evidence-based information through its Vaccine Education Center.
Measles cases are on the rise.
All six regions of the World Health Organization (WHO) are experiencing large outbreaks of measles. In the U.S., health officials recorded 1,109 new cases of measles in 30 states in the first six months of 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s the greatest number since 1992. Agency officials attribute the surge in cases to misinformation about vaccines.
Around the country, health professionals have been trying different strategies to fight misinformation. For nearly 20 years, the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has worked to combat misinformation with facts about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
Under the direction of Paul A. Offit, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist who is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, and Charlotte Moser, a research scientist, the center is an online resource for parents and professionals that provides informational sheets, webinars, lectures, and videos about vaccines, how they work, their efficacy, and scheduling.
“There are a lot of people out there who have heard something and have questions, but they just aren’t sure where to get answers,” says Moser. “We started the Vaccine Education Center because as scientists working in the field of vaccinology, we could help answer some of the questions parents were asking. We knew there was data that existed to answer those questions in a scientific way.”
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