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January 11, 1980

Immunization Programs

Author Affiliations

Center for Disease Control Atlanta

JAMA. 1980;243(2):120. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300280018014

To the Editor.—  The article in The Journal by Pantell and Stewart (241:2272, 1979), and the accompanying editorial by William R. Barclay, MD (241:2299, 1979), appropriately addressed long-standing problems of preventive medicine, particularly the gap between knowledge and practice. Although the editorial constructively confronts these problems, the article is unduly pessimistic and even misleading in dealing with current immunization practices. The authors of the article convey the belief that problems stemming from the swine influenza program of 1976, controversies surrounding polio vaccine, and public skepticism have combined to produce "alarmingly low immunization rates." Their conclusions neglect to acknowledge the current success of childhood immunization programs; they also fail to offer constructive remedies for the problems they identify.Dramatic testimony of the success of vaccination programs is the realization of the eradication of smallpox. The Childhood Immunization Initiative, now only 27 months old, has steadily approached its goal of 90% immunization