What’s the worry?
Specifically, some have claimed that the vaccine is linked to:
- complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
Why the confusion? CRPS and POTS are real but very rare conditions that can affect teenagers. HPV vaccines are given to teenagers, leading some to wonder whether there is a connection. The concerns are understandable but unfounded. There is no causal link between HPV vaccines and the symptoms of CRPS and POTS. Independent experts at the European Medicines Agency looked at the rates of these conditions in teenagers who had had the vaccine. They compared this to teenagers who had not had the vaccine. The rates of POTS and CRPS were the same in both groups.
Christine Marie George, PhD, an associate professor in International Health, is turning to the ubiquitous mobile phone to help reduce infection rates in Bangladesh, one of the planet’s poorest countries with one of the highest risks for cholera. Cholera is spread, in part, by poor sanitation and inadequate hygiene; handwashing is one way to reduce the likelihood of transmission.
“The time when family members are at highest risk is the one-week period after the cholera patient presents in the hospital,” George says.
The Cholera Hospital-Based Intervention for 7 Days, or CHoBI7, aims to reduce that risk by sending text and voice messages to remind a patient’s family to wash their hands with soap. Ninety percent of Bangladeshi homes have access to mobile phones.
ECDC data show that up to 80% of teenagers and young adults who contracted measles in 2017 had not been vaccinated.
ECDC analysis of sub-national data indicates that even countries with high overall levels of vaccine coverage may have groups that are unvaccinated. In recent and ongoing measles outbreaks, ECDC’s recent rapid risk assessment identifies healthcare workers as among those affected.
Analyzing trends on Twitter and Google can help predict vaccine scares that can lead to disease outbreaks, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.
In the study, researchers examined Google searches and geocoded tweets with the help of artificial intelligence and a mathematical model. The resulting data enabled them to analyze public perceptions on the value of getting vaccinated and determine when a population was getting close to a tipping point.
In the study, a tipping point represented the point at which vaccine coverage declines dramatically due to spreading fear, which could cause large disease outbreaks due to a loss of population immunity.
"What this study tells us is that the same mathematical theories used to predict tipping points in phenomena such as changing climate patterns can also be used to help predict tipping points in public health," said Chris Bauch, a professor of applied mathematics at Waterloo. "By monitoring people's attitudes towards vaccinations on social media, public health organizations may have the opportunity to direct their resources to areas most likely to experience a population-wide vaccine scare, and prevent it before it starts."