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December 19, 2019

Shots, Not Moonshots—The Importance of Broad Population Immunization to Patients Who Undergo Cancer Treatment

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
  • 2Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(1):23-24. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.4572

In a seemingly prophetic announcement in January, the World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy as a top-10 global threat to public health for 2019. Months later, measles outbreaks expanded substantially in New York and ignited in Washington State.1 By May, the number of measles cases in the United States had surpassed the annual totals for each of the previous 25 years. As of November 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported more than 1200 cases in 31 states, and these numbers continue to rise.2 The current outbreaks are occurring as more parents opt out of childhood immunization, decreasing vaccination rates and weakening the protective layer of population immunity that the United States has enjoyed for the past 2 decades. There are well-founded concerns that undervaccinated communities create growing pockets of vulnerability that threaten to make measles endemic again.

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