The following are excerpts of a letter from the new President of the American Academy of Pediatricians recently sent to all AAP members. Dr. Hellems kindly gave us her copy to share with you:
A Message from the AAP President
Dear Dr. Hellems-Stanley:
As your new president, I have been working closely with AAP leaders and staff to monitor the recent cases of measles in the United States. The measles outbreak that is linked to Disneyland has now been reported in 14 states. The Academy is deeply concerned about the children infected and, most importantly, those at risk because they are unvaccinated....
The evidence is clear that the best way to protect children is to follow the recommended immunization schedule. The measles outbreak is a stark reminder of this. Advocacy of delayed or alternative immunization schedules increases the risks to all children. The AAP strongly urges all members to follow the approved immunization schedule and to help educate families about the safety and effectiveness of childhood vaccines. ...
Media coverage of this measles outbreak has been generally consistent with AAP policy, but there have been examples of misinformation. The Academy is actively promoting our policy and pitching interviews with AAP spokespersons to the media. We need all pediatricians to join the AAP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family Physicians to recommend children be immunized appropriately. The AAP issued a press statement on January 23, and today I am releasing a new statement that directly urges parents to vaccinate their children. the media, and in conversations taking place online.
Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP