Health & Spirit

Vaccine Rates Get Shot in the Arm

Scott LaFee on

Since 2015, when California legislators banned nonmedical vaccine exemptions, more and more kindergartners are getting all of their required vaccinations before beginning school. In 2017-2018, for example, 95 percent of students had all of their required shots.

But where there's action, there's reaction. Researchers report that the rate of medical exemptions has increased, jumping to 0.7 percent in 2017-2018. Exemptions, which require signed, written statement from a licensed physician, must explain the physical condition or medical circumstances that prohibit vaccination -- and whether the exemption is limited to certain vaccines or is temporary.

Body of Knowledge

Information travels at different speeds within the body depending upon the type of central nervous system cell involved. Some messages travel as "slow" as half a meter (1.6 feet) per second, while others cover 120 meters (393 feet) in the same time. Given the actual distances involved, it's all quite speedy.

Get Me That, Stat!

An FDA-approved pill called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, has been shown to prevent HIV infection. But while rates of its use are rising -- 78,000 Americans had PrEP prescriptions in 2016, compared to under 14,000 two years earlier -- the numbers are still alarmingly low. Experts estimate more than 1 million people in the U.S. could benefit from the drug.

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49 million: Number of people who fell ill with the flu in 2017

960,000: Number of flu-related hospitalizations

79,000: Number of flu-related deaths


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