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EPI NEWSLETTER. 1998 Dec; 20(6):5.Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, President of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Georgia and former Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, currently co-chairs the newly-created Vaccine Initiative sponsored by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society to foster a positive and informed public dialogue on immunization. Considerable progress has been made through vaccination in preventing and controlling infectious diseases, rendering vaccine-preventable diseases to an all-time low level in the US and in many other areas of the world. There remains, however, a long way to go before all vaccine-preventable diseases will be eliminated. Efforts are needed to break down the barriers which prevent access to immunization, including maintaining and strengthening the public's trust in vaccines and immunization programs. Reports in the lay press which question the safety of routine immunization simply scare parents with unsupported accounts of the dangers of vaccines and impede the overall immunization effort. Efforts need to be improved to communicate what is known about the value of vaccines to both individuals and communities.