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AMA adopts new policy supporting tighter limitations on immunization opt outs

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — In light of the re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases in the United States, the American Medical Association is seeking more stringent state immunization requirements to allow exemptions only for medical reasons.

“When people are immunized they also help prevent the spread of disease to others,” AMA board member Patrice Harris said. “As evident from the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, protecting community health in today's mobile society requires that policymakers not permit individuals from opting out of immunization solely as a matter of personal preference or convenience.”

Immunization programs in the Unites States are credited with having controlled or eliminated the spread of epidemic diseases, including smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and polio. Immunization requirements vary from state to state, but only two states bar non-medical exemptions based on personal beliefs.

New AMA policy recommends that states have in place an established decision mechanism that involves qualified public health physicians to determine which vaccines will be mandatory for admission to schools and other public venues. States should only grant exemptions to these mandated vaccines for medical reasons.

In recognition that highly transmissible diseases could pose significant medical risks for vulnerable patients and the health care workforce, new AMA policy also states that physicians and other health professionals who have direct patient care responsibilities have an obligation to accept immunization unless there is a recognized medical reason.

The AMA also intends to support the dissemination of materials on vaccine efficacy to states as part of the effort to eliminate non-medical exemptions.

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Report: Publix may be eyeing smaller-store format

BY Antoinette Alexander

LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix may be mulling a smaller store format, according to a report in The Gainesville Sun.

While a Publix spokesman was not available to comment, the publication reported that, according to city planning manager Ralph Hilliard, representatives from Publix met with the city’s planning staff on several occasions to discuss building a smaller-concept store on the site of a McDonald’s and a couple of adjacent lots.

Last year, The Orlando Business Journal reported that the grocer was working on a new 20,000-squre-foot concept for college towns and seaside communities. The typical Publix store ranges from 40,000 to 60,000 square feet.
 

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Wakefern’s Cheryl Macik receives service award

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — The Food Marketing Institute has presented Cheryl Macik, director of consumer affairs for Wakefern, with its Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award, recognizing her dedication as a shopper advocate and her influence in serving and retaining Wakefern’s customer base across its ShopRite and Price Rite banners. 



Macik started at Wakefern more than 30 years ago as a frontline representative in what was then a fledgling consumer affairs department. Today, she serves as director of the department, overseeing a staff of 30, including ShopRite’s Customer Care Center and consumer research team. Under Macik’s direction, Wakefern’s Customer Care Center responds to nearly 200,000 customer contacts annually.


Macik has played a pivotal part in advancing consumer-centric programs over the last three decades, with a constant focus on consumer education, advocacy and health and wellness. Notably, Macik was instrumental in developing a protocol that utilized ShopRite’s loyalty card database to notify customers of a product recall; a procedure that has become an industry standard.

She also recognized early on that supermarkets had an opportunity to impact and influence consumer’s well-being through their food choices, and she was instrumental in hiring Wakefern’s first corporate dietitian and today, that same dietitian now heads an extensive retail program with more than 115 dietitians in ShopRite stores.




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