Healthy People 2020 and the Decade of Vaccines
by Sherri Tenpenny
Green Med Info., 5 July 2015
Healthy People 2020's latest recommendations are vast in scope and include government intrusion into nearly ever conceivable area of personal life and health, including a National Vaccine Plan.
While it appears that the recent measles hysteria pushed a button that rocketed nearly all 50 states to introduce vaccine bills simultaneously, calling to restrict and/or remove vaccine exemptions for children, the plan has actually been evolving for a long time. The flurry of legislative actions are rooted in the Healthy People guidelines which began 35 years ago.
In 1976, Congress created The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) to coordinate disease prevention and health promotion efforts across the United States. Three years later, Surgeon General Julius B Richmond chronicled the state of health in America, then defined five quantitative goals for public health. The document came to be referred to as Healthy People. With the help of Assistant Surgeon General Michael McGinnis, the formal publication was released in 1979. In 1980, a companion piece written by the Institutes of Medicine – Promoting Health/Preventing Disease: Objectives for the Nation – set forth 226 specific, measurable health objectives. This was the action plan for the Healthy People goals. These two documents, considered to be "landmarks" in the history of public health, became Healthy People 1990.
Lofty goals were put forth for many areas of health, but some of the first directives for mass vaccination were established in Healthy People 1990. For example, one goal was to achieve at least a 60% influenza vaccination rate among high-risk populations. Another was to fully vaccinate all children with MMR, polio and DTP by two years of age.
The goals were meant to be national in scope. But 1980s was long before the age of instant internet communication and few of the objectives were met in the era between 1980 and 1990. Therefore, planning the objectives for the new decade began in 1987, engaging broad based input from across the country.
By the time Healthy People 2000 was released in 1990, more than 7,000 persons and public health organizations at the local, state, and national levels had participated in the development of 22 topics with 312 objectives. Included in Healthy People 2000 were goals to ensure all children were fully vaccinated and all older adults were vaccinated with both the influenza and pneumonia vaccines.
In 2010, the current guidelines were released, framed as Healthy People 2020. The latest recommendations are vast in scope and include government intrusion into nearly ever conceivable area of personal life and health. What started out as 15 topics and 226 objectives in 1990 has grown to 42 topics and more than 1,200 objectives for 2020.
Representatives from more than 50 Federal Agencies helped develop the Healthy People 2020 topic areas. Representatives from each agency also worked with the Federal Interagency Workgroup (FIW), a task force that includes, among others, the Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Transportation. The massive efforts were coordinated by The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), in conjunction with the Department of HHS. All agencies drew on the expertise of the Assistant Secretary's extensive Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. The Assistant Secretary of Health, who reports directly to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HSS), has direct oversight of ODPHP activities. HSS has more than 77,000 employees. Thousands of people participated in the development of Healthy People 2020 and have a stake in its implementation.
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