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Vaccinations Are Key to Public Health

Oral health professionals are exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from clinicians and patients. Fortunately, there are myriad strategies to maintain a safe environment—from effective surface disinfection to donning personal protective equipment. Vaccinations are another essential component to maintaining health for both clinicians and the public at large. Unfortunately, the United States is experiencing a downturn in compliance with vaccination recommendations, putting public health at risk.


Despite the long history of vaccine benefits, in 2018, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a trend in which an increasing number of children (kindergarten and younger) are not receiving the required vaccinations.

Young Girl Getting a Flu Vaccine at a Hospital FreshSplash / E+
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Measles was declared eliminated from the US in 2000 thanks to a highly effective vaccination program, as well as improved measles control in the greater Americas region.

Sick child with red rash spots from measles Bilanol / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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How many individual measles cases were reported across 26 states in June 2019?

Children vaccine for prevention of viral diseases Manjurul iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Two forms of the pertussis vaccine are in use: the whole-cell vaccine (wP) and the acellular vaccine (aP).

Bacteria pneumonia, medical concept. 3D illustration showing rod-shaped bacteria inside alveoli Dr_Microbe / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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In what year was the booster acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for all adolescents ages 11 to 12?

Tdap Vaccine in a glass vial for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis Samara Heisz / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Pregnant women should receive a Tdap vaccination in the second or third trimester, preferably before how many weeks of gestation?

Black pregnant woman hugging her tummy at home Prostock-Studio / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Individuals should not get Tdap vaccine if they’ve had the pertussis vaccine as a child or have been sick with pertussis in the past.

Pediatrician gives vaccination to small boy Jovanmandic / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Vaccinations Are Key to Public Health
Not bad, but there’s room to grow when it comes to vaccines and their role in public health. Consider reading more about this important facet of dental hygiene care. Good luck!
Well done! Continue to study vaccines and their role in public health. You’ve got this!
Congrats! You understand the importance of vaccines and their role in public health. Get out there and put your know-how to good use!

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This information is from the article “Protecting Public Health” by Susan Davide, RDH, MS, MSEd, Christine Macarelli, RDH, MS and Anty Lam, RDH, MPH. To read the article, click here.

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