Showing posts with label immunology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label immunology. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Sen. Rausch, Supporters Testify in support of Community Immunity Act

Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham) and Representative Paul Donato (D-Medford), lead sponsors of the Community Immunity Act, testified alongside healthcare providers, public health experts, and educators testified at a virtual Public Health Committee hearing today in favor of the Community Immunity Act (S.1517/H.2271).  

This legislation seeks to prevent the spread of highly infectious diseases by promoting and supporting localized herd immunity statewide. The Community Immunity Act strengthens the Commonwealth's immunization policies by standardizing the immunization requirements for all schools, daycare centers, and other covered programs and centralizing within the Department of Public Health (DPH) the processes for obtaining an exemption from those requirements. 
Currently, Massachusetts does not have localized herd immunity across the state for many vaccine-preventable diseases. Of the kindergarten programs that submitted data to DPH in 2019-20, 145 kindergarten programs are below herd immunity rates for measles, 119 kindergarten programs are below herd immunity rates for pertussis, and 71 programs reported at least 10% of students are missing one or more vaccines required for school, without an approved exemption. 
Furthermore, DPH lacks complete data on immunization rates in daycare centers, K-12 schools, summer camps, and colleges because data reporting is voluntary. In the 2019-2020 school year, 451 middle schools, 520 kindergarten programs, and 1,677 daycares and preschools failed to report any immunization data to the MA Department of Public Health. Moreover, according to recently available data from DPH, in 2020 18.8% of kindergarten students in Suffolk county, 14.4% in Franklin county, and 8.6% in Hamden county are not meeting school vaccination requirements. Under current statute, school and program administrators are charged with implementing certain immunization protocols, including vaccine exemption requests, rather than medical and public health professionals.  
“As has become blatantly obvious over the last year and a half, every Bay Stater deserves strong public health protections. COVID reminds us that our collective health and safety rises or falls together,” said Senator Rausch. “If ever there were a time to advance the Community Immunity Act and its comprehensive immunization infrastructure, that time is now.” 

“Senator Rausch and I filed this bill long before COVID hit because even then Massachusetts had a serious immunization infrastructure problem, and we had already seen multiple outbreaks of measles and other illnesses that we can prevent with vaccines,” said Representative Donato. “We all know a lot more about community immunity now. All of us are living through the consequences of what happens when we do not have strong public health infrastructure and herd immunity against infectious diseases.” 
More than 20 religious, educational, medical, and public health organizations support the Community Immunity Act including: 
  • American Federation of Teachers – MA Chapter 
  • Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA) 
  • Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) 
  • League of Women Voters 
  • Massachusetts Association of Health Boards 
  • Massachusetts Association of Health Offices 
  • Massachusetts Association of School Committees 
  • Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents 
  • Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners  
  • Massachusetts Health Council 
  • Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association 
  • Massachusetts Independent Pharmacists Association 
  • Massachusetts Infectious Diseases Society 
  • Massachusetts Nurses Association 
  • Massachusetts Medical Society 
  • Massachusetts School Based Health Alliance 
  • Massachusetts Teachers Association 
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners – MA Chapter 
  • National Association of Social Workers – MA Chapter 
  • Progressive Mass  

Link to full press release:

Link to doc with quotes from organizations participating

school vaccination requirements
school vaccination requirements

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

MA News: main vaccination sites to phase out, here immunity not likely according to some

"WITH 70 PERCENT of Massachusetts adults having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced plans to wind down operations at mass vaccination sites while making the shots more easily available in local communities. The shift comes as demand for the shots has been leveling out, indicating that most people eager to get a shot have already done so.

“Now that we believe we are going to hit the 4.1 million goal we started with over the next few weeks, it’s time to adapt our vaccination efforts to make sure we get to some of the harder to reach populations,” Baker said at a State House press conference.  

According to the CDC, 3.9 million people in Massachusetts have received at least one shot as of Monday, or 70 percent of eligible adults. Another 180,000 people have scheduled appointments to get a first dose in the next week. When the COVID-19 vaccines first rolled out in December, Baker set a goal of vaccinating 4.1 million state residents, and he said those people are on track to be fully vaccinated by the beginning of June.

As a result, the governor announced that four of the state’s seven mass vaccination sites will close by the end of June. These include Gillette Stadium, Hynes Convention Center, DoubleTree hotel in Danvers, and the Natick Mall. Baker said those sites were chosen because of the availability of alternative vaccination sites in the area and projections about interest in appointments there. The Hynes site is also part of a federal partnership with FEMA, which was always scheduled to end after eight weeks. The seven mass sites have administered 1.2 million vaccine doses so far."
Continue reading the article online
Press conference video link =
Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe
"Early in the pandemic, when vaccines for the coronavirus were still just a glimmer on the horizon, the term “herd immunity” came to signify the endgame: the point when enough Americans would be protected from the virus so we could be rid of the pathogen and reclaim our lives.

Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.

Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

COVID-19 Immunology 101 for Non-immunologists.(video)

"In collaboration with BioRender, Akiko Iwasaki, Ph.D., Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, explores COVID-19 Immunology 101 for Non-immunologists."

About BioRender:
BioRender is the easy-to-use science illustration tool that’s quickly becoming a staple in academic institutions and labs around the world! You can access the program for free at

Video link =