By Jason Terk, MD, Keller, Chair, TMA Council on Legislation Vaccine hesitancy has been listed alongside HIV and air pollution on the World Health Organization’s list of Top 10 threats to global public health this year. Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise – ImmunizeSM works to counter that in Texas. The Be Wise program promotes the importance, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines – and ultimately to improve vaccination rates in Texas. TMA launched Be Wise – Immunize in 2004. Be Wise offers current and science-backed information for patients and the public about childhood, adolescent, and adult vaccinations. Be Wise also provides funding to support local vaccination clinics hosted by TMA physicians and medical students, and members of the TMA Alliance (a group of physician spouses). Be Wise event sponsors have administered more than 360,000 shots since the program began. In my work as a pediatrician, vaccinations have always been a key part of keeping my young patients healthy. I’ve been involved with the Be Wise program as a physician adviser for more than 10 years because I believe physicians are the most trusted voice about vaccinations. Now, as chair of TMA’s Council on Legislation, I work in a broader arena to help impact vaccinations statewide that will help protect all Texans. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. Be Wise supports our nearly 53,000 physician and medical student members in helping Texans avoid needless suffering from diseases, including cancer, that can be prevented with a vaccine.
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