At its most basic, immunization is a numbers game: the greater the percentage of the population that is immunized, the lower the risk of contracting the disease. Immunization not only protects the people who are immunized, but others around them who could be vulnerable to the disease, such as unimmunized infants and elderly or sick people.
In 2011, there were 23 cases of measles in Minnesota. We saw many of them in our clinics and emergency departments. We have also seen increased cases of whooping cough, chicken pox, and influenza. Despite having a long standing tradition of being one of the highest overall immunizations rates in the country, Minnesota’s vaccination rates have been steadily decreasing.
Over the past six years, there have been a growing number of drugs in critically short supply due to a number of factors including lack of manufacturer regulations. More than 80% of these were generic injectable medications, and over 60% were drugs concentrated in five disease areas: oncology, anti-infectives, cardiovascular, central nervous system and pain management.