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William Schaffner, M.D.
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Medical Director, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

Dr. William Schaffner is the medical director and past-president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He is also professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. Additionally, he serves as a hospital epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Hospital.


Dr. Schaffner also is a member of numerous professional societies, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America, and the American Public Health Association. 


Dr. Schaffner is active in the field of infectious disease research and has authored or co-authored more than 400 published studies, reviews and book chapters on infectious diseases. He currently serves on the editorial board of a number of scientific journals, including Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vaccine and the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Dr. Schaffner’s work has focused on all aspects of infectious diseases, including epidemiology, infection control and immunization. In 2009, he received the James D. Bruce Award from the American College of Physicians for “distinguished contributions to preventive medicine.” Dr. Schaffner has worked extensively on the effective use of vaccines in both pediatric and adult populations. He is a strong proponent of collaboration between academic medical centers and public health institutions.

Entries by William Schaffner, M.D.

5 Types of Bacteria, 2 Vaccine Types, 1 Important Decision for Parents

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 9:34 PM

Parents usually rely on their child's pediatrician to keep them up to date on vaccines. But the updated meningococcal vaccine recommendation recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is different. The new recommendation paves the way for adolescents and young adults to get vaccinated...

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Increasing Adult Immunization: Great Opportunities, Great Challenges

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 6:11 PM

The following is a summary of the presentation I gave last month as the 2014 Jeryl Lynn Hilleman Lecturer at the 2014 National Immunization Conference in Atlanta, GA.

I cautioned the audience in advance about the strong opinions about adult immunization that I would be issuing, while "channeling" Dr. Maurice...

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Are You Meeting the Standards for Adult Patient Care?

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 5:23 PM

As an infectious disease doctor, I have seen firsthand the value of vaccines in preventing serious diseases such as influenza, measles, and shingles. We often discuss the importance of vaccines when it comes to children, but as health care providers, we should be devoting equal attention to vaccinating adult patients....

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Cell Culture Technology: An Innovative Evolution in Influenza Vaccine Manufacturing

(1) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 11:40 AM

Over the past 40 years, millions of lives have been changed because of advances in medical technology. From stem-cell research to reengineering the way we take our daily medications, these developments have brought health care into the 21st century. However, there has been a vast disconnect between these improvements and...

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Practice What You Preach: Adults Need Vaccinations Too

(2) Comments | Posted June 4, 2012 | 10:51 AM

We may have taught our children well but we need to follow our own advice.

Adults will often take their children to get immunized, knowing that vaccines can protect them from debilitating and potentially deadly diseases, but many of those same adults fail to get vaccinated and properly protect themselves....

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Repeat After Me: HPV Is an Anti-Cancer Vaccine

(16) Comments | Posted November 14, 2011 | 10:37 AM

The recent vote by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to extend routine HPV vaccination to boys and young men is a victory for our children. Adolescents immunized today will be protected from a range of cancers that would otherwise start appearing in their 30s, 40s,...

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'Have We Politicized Our Public Health?'

(26) Comments | Posted September 22, 2011 | 8:11 AM

Decades in public health have taught me just how hard it is to communicate sound scientific information to the public through the media. I believe that our work got a lot harder as politicians took to the airwaves to politicize the HPV vaccine. I can't help but wonder how many...

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An Ounce of Prevention

(1) Comments | Posted June 29, 2011 | 12:42 PM

Here's a motto we don't hear so much anymore: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." But I live by it. These words have guided my professional career. Why would anyone want to get an illness that can be prevented?

The American public doesn't care enough...

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Flu Shots: Public Health Begins With You

(102) Comments | Posted March 7, 2011 | 7:29 AM

Certain stories make the headlines every year, like updates on influenza outbreaks during the winter months and public health officials urging the nation to get the vaccine. No one needs to be reminded to put on an extra sweater or a warm coat to ward off winter's chill. So why...

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