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What Will House and Senate Lawmakers Do as They Investigate Measles Outbreaks?

In addition to an increased number of State Legislators looking at what they can do to stop the increasing number of outbreaks we have been seen each year, there is now news that House lawmakers will also see what they can do.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY) announced today that the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the current measles outbreak and response efforts on Wednesday, February 27. More information on timing, location and witnesses will be announced next week.

“Measles is a highly contagious, life-threatening virus that was previously eliminated in the United States thanks to the success of the measles vaccine,” the four bipartisan Committee leaders said.

“Unfortunately, measles cases are on the rise as a consequence of the virus’s transmission among unvaccinated groups. The reemergence of vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, presents a serious public health threat, especially for those who rely on ‘herd immunity.’ We look forward to learning more from public health officials on addressing the current outbreak, efforts to prevent the disease’s spread, and strategies to support vaccination efforts,” Pallone, Walden, DeGette and Guthrie concluded.

E&C Bipartisan Leaders Announce Subcommittee Hearing on Measles Outbreak and Response Efforts on February 27

So happened at this entitled, Confronting a Growing Public Health Threat: Measles Outbreaks in the U.S.?

This meeting doesn't mean that the Federal government is stepping in to change vaccine laws.
This meeting doesn’t mean that the Federal government is stepping in to change vaccine laws.

We heard from several witnesses, including:

  • Nancy Messonnier, MD – Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
  • Anthony Fauci, MD – Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

And we will hopefully learn more in an upcoming Senate hearing, Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?, when we will hear from:

  • John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH, Secretary of Health, WA
  • Saad B. Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD, Emory University
  • Jonathan A. McCullers, MD, Univerity of Tennessee
  • John G. Boyle, President and CEO, Immune Deficiency Foundation
  • Ethan Lindenberger, Norwalk High School

How is the Federal government addressing the current outbreaks, what efforts they are taking to prevent the disease’s spread and what strategies they are making to support vaccination efforts?

“And, unfortunately, the anti-vax movement in certain segments of the population, certainly not generalized, is just growing, and it’s getting worse. And it’s based fundamentally on misinformation.

You don’t want to denigrate people who make those kinds of decisions and essentially attack them. That doesn’t work. You have got to understand they have these beliefs. And the way you try and get them to understand the importance of getting vaccinated is talk about the facts, talk about the evidence. Don’t attack them.”

Dr. Fauci on the PBS Newshour

Just as importantly, we will hopefully hear more ideas on how to address the misinformation about vaccines that scares parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

And what can be done about the alternative, non-evidence based practitioners that influence the decisions parents make about vaccines and other health care decisions.

More on Confronting Measles Outbreaks

Updated on March 3, 2019

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