As White House Presses for Booster Shots, Americans Are Slow to Get Them
Enlarge this image toggle caption Scott Olson/Getty Images Scott Olson/Getty Images
For some, the idea of getting a free booster shot is an enticing one.
“This is a simple and effective way to get healthful bacteria on your skin and a vitamin D boost,” says Mary Ann Keppler, one of three volunteers giving a shot of vitamin D to nearly 100 children and 100 adults, all in an effort to boost their immune systems, improve their overall health and reduce the risk of getting sick.
Keppler says she was inspired to help others when she saw a need in her native country, where measles, a disease she grew up being told could kill her, is often a risk for pregnant women and small children because measles can affect their brains and their developing immune systems.
“I was like, ‘This is something I could do to help people,’ ” says Keppler.
In early August, the small clinic located in the suburb of Fayetteville, N.C., was hosting two clinics and four volunteers, including Keppler, who have given free shots to over 100 people so far, all in the name of helping others.
Enlarge this image toggle caption Courtesy of Mary Ann Keppler Courtesy of Mary Ann Keppler
In the last decade, the amount of money being invested in vaccinations has increased dramatically, from over $600 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year to over $7 billion in the latest fiscal year. And in the last 10 years, immunization rates have gone from being about 50 percent to about 90 percent, and even then, the number of Americans over 3 years old who are up to date for their vaccinations are only about 58 percent.
At the same time, the rate of autism has increased to about 1 in 68 children under 3, or about 1 in 42 boys.
So far, Keppler says, the shot is working, and her clinic has seen it help boost some of its patients’ immune systems to improve their overall health.
The goal is to increase the rate of healthy babies and kids in the womb and throughout their lives, she adds.
The vaccine, called the hepatitis B vaccine, is one that has not been linked directly to autism, in fact, according to the World Health Organization, this is the first