NEW YORK — As many as half of all babies born in the United States are still not immunized, and while it is a national epidemic, the CDC is warning that it is not a one-way street.
A CDC report released on Wednesday said that nearly 30 million Americans are unvaccinated.
The agency is calling on pregnant women to have their babies tested for the disease, and says many more Americans are not vaccinated.
“The vaccine rates in the US are so low, and there’s so little information, that it’s really hard to make any educated, informed decisions,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a press briefing.
“If we don’t make sure that we vaccinate our kids and our neighbors, it will lead to the spread of infectious diseases.”
Chan said there is no reason to be alarmed about the number of unvaccinating babies, as the majority of the US population is vaccinated.
“There is a lot of information out there about how to protect your child, but not a lot about how vaccines protect your health,” Chan said.
Chan called for more research into the vaccine and said many studies have linked vaccines to a reduced risk of autism, attention deficit disorder and epilepsy.
A report released earlier this year by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 1997 and 2012, the percentage of U.S. children who received a shot was about 2.7%, down from 4.4% in 1999.
Although the vaccine is currently under development, Chan said the vaccine would not have prevented the pandemic.
Some people are asking, “Why haven’t I been vaccinated?”
Chan said, “There are a number of reasons.”
Among the biggest is the cost.
According to Chan, vaccines are more expensive than other health care items like antibiotics.
When the vaccine was introduced in the late 1990s, the price of the shots ranged from $1,500 to $4,500.
Today, the cost of a single vaccine shot is around $1.3 million, and Chan said prices have skyrocketed since.
Since 2007, when the CDC began using a universal vaccine schedule, vaccines have cost about $1 billion a year, Chan added.
But Chan said that this is not enough to cover the costs of administering the vaccine, including the cost for administering the shots and providing the vaccines.
She also said there are not enough funds to keep the vaccines stocked in pharmacies or clinics, as they are in other countries.
Dr. David Satcher, a pediatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-author of the new report, said he believes the cost is partly because people are not vaccinating.
As a result, a large number of people are being left without access to vaccines.