MedPage Today talks with Finberg on new pertussis vaccine report

By Jim Fessenden

UMass Medical School Communications

September 30, 2013

Robert W. Finberg, MD, chair and professor of medicine, was interviewed by MedPage Today on the importance of vaccinating children for pertussis, after new research showed refusal to vaccinate children for the disease might have played a role in the 2010 California outbreak.

"Herd immunity is important,” Dr. Finberg told MedPage Today in the Sept. 30 report. “If most of the population is not immunized, any given individual will have a much greater chance of being exposed to pertussis and therefore of coming down with the disease.”

Researchers at Emory University analyzed the outbreak, the largest in California since 1947, and drew a correlation between clusters of children who had not been vaccinated and clusters of outbreak. Their analysis, published in the October issue of Pediatrics, showed that pertussis cases fell into two large temporal and spatial clusters which overlapped with nonmedical exemptions from vaccination for children. This suggests that nonmedical exemptions might have been “one of several factors in the 2010 California pertussis resurgence,” wrote the authors.

Without understanding the reasons parents are seeking exemptions however, it's not easy to decide how to approach the problem, said Finberg.

Read the full story at: