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Editorial |

State Mandates and Childhood Immunization

Kathryn M. Edwards, MD
JAMA. 2000;284(24):3171-3173. doi:10.1001/jama.284.24.3171.
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Routine pediatric immunization programs have eradicated many of the infectious diseases of childhood and have been one of the most remarkable public health accomplishments. In 2000, the United States has achieved the lowest rates of vaccine-preventable diseases and the highest rates of immunization ever recorded.1 But despite such successes, many individuals are challenging recommended vaccination programs. For instance, a congressman has scrutinized government reports, has conducted hearings to investigate the procedures for the licensure of vaccines by the US Food and Drug Administration and for establishing guidelines for vaccine use by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has suggested that vaccine manufacturers have unduly influenced vaccine policy.2 A recent television news program questioned whether a link exists between autism and the measles vaccine,3 causing many parents to consider whether to abandon measles immunization for their children. Internet Web sites are picturing children harmed by vaccines and are urging parents to forgo immunizations for their children.4

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