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FDA Leaders Sound the Alarm About U.S. Vaccination Trends

Doctors and pharmacists can help prevent illnesses and deaths by clearly explaining the benefits of vaccines, officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Woman receives a bandage on her upper arm after a vaccine.

As vaccination rates fall in the United States, leaders at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are calling upon doctors, pharmacists and others in the clinical and biomedical community to educate the public “in plain language” about the health benefits of vaccines.

If the trend to skip vaccines continues, it could push the U.S. toward a dangerous “tipping point,” wrote Dr. Robert Califf, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs at the FDA, and Dr. Peter Marks, the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in an article on the JAMA Network, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association.

“The situation has now deteriorated to the point that population immunity against some vaccine-preventable infectious diseases is at risk, and thousands of excess deaths are likely to occur this season due to illnesses amenable to prevention or reduction in severity of illness with vaccines,” the FDA leaders wrote in the article.

Less than half of U.S. adults received influenza vaccines this season and about 20% received vaccines for COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To counter the trend, Marks and Califf suggest that clinicians, retail pharmacists and others working in health care better educate people by providing accurate, plain language information backed up by scientific evidence.

“By doing so, we can both help prevent pediatric infectious diseases and dramatically reduce the harm from pathogens such as COVID-19 and influenza, before we have another large wave of any of these vaccine-preventable illnesses.”

Read the article: Is Vaccination Approaching a Dangerous Tipping Point?