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Lancet Commission on Vaxx Acceptance

Dr. Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, was selected to co-chair The Lancet Commission on Vaccine Refusal, Acceptance, and Demand in the United States. The commission includes researchers, scientists and vaccine advocates from universities and nonprofit groups with the goal of developing evidence-based interventions to increase vaccine acceptance.

“This commission's focus on synthesizing evidence-based interventions to increase vaccine acceptance and to develop an actionable policy agenda will substantially inform efforts to ensure high vaccination rates,” said Omer, also professor of infectious diseases at the Yale School of Medicine and the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health. “Vaccine hesitancy and refusal is a persistent and significant threat to the world’s public health.”

The increase in nonmedical vaccine exemptions across the country is cause for concern because the ramifications of an outbreak of a disease like measles could be deadly. Measles is one of the most highly transmissible diseases and has a reproduction value of between 12 and 18, meaning that one person infected with measles could infect 12 to 18 others.

Protecting an entire population from disease through vaccination, often referred to as herd immunity, is what protects those who are too young to be vaccinated against a disease as well as immunocompromised individuals. When the percentage of vaccinated individuals in a community drops, the herd immunity is compromised.

Dr. Omer co-chairs the Commission with Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Commission members include Regina Benjamin, Noel T. Brewer, University of North Carolina; Alison M. Buttenheim, University of Pennsylvania; Timothy Callaghan, Texas A&M University; Arthur Caplan, NYU School of Medicine; Richard M. Carpiano, University of California, Riverside; Chelsea Clinton, Columbia University; Renee DiResta, Stanford Internet Observatory; Lisa C. Flowers, Emory University; Alison Galvani, Yale School of Public Health; Rekha Lakshmanan, The Immunization Partnership; Yvonne A. Maldonado, Stanford University; Michelle Mello, Stanford University; Douglas J. Opel, University of Washington School of Medicine; Dorit R. Reiss, UC Hastings College of Law; Daniel A. Salmon, Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; Jason L. Schwartz, Yale School of Public Health; Joshua Sharfstein, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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