Media/Policy Watch

Media/Policy Watch
This watch section is intended to alert readers to substantive news, analysis and opinion from the general media and selected think tanks and similar organizations on vaccines, immunization, global public health and related themes. Media Watch is not intended to be exhaustive, but indicative of themes and issues CVEP is actively tracking. This section will grow from an initial base of newspapers, magazines and blog sources, and is segregated from Journal Watch above which scans the peer-reviewed journal ecology.

We acknowledge the Western/Northern bias in this initial selection of titles and invite suggestions for expanded coverage. We are conservative in our outlook in adding news sources which largely report on primary content we are already covering above. Many electronic media sources have tiered, fee-based subscription models for access. We will provide full-text where content is published without restriction, but most publications require registration and some subscription level.

The Daily Beast
Accessed 4 February 2017

Are Kids Getting Too Many Vaccines?
Political leaders and parents have expressed concerns that young children are getting too many vaccines, often for diseases that aren’t raging anymore.
Paul A. Offit 29 January 2017
….And while it is difficult to watch children receive so many injections, most parents would probably be surprised to learn that the immunological challenges from today’s 14 vaccines are less than the challenge from that one (i.e. smallpox) vaccine given a hundred years ago….
…Despite claims by Carson, Christie, and Paul, every one of these vaccine-preventable diseases can cause permanent harm or death. So, choosing one vaccine over another wouldn’t be a reasonable choice; it would be an untenable choice—a Sophie’s Choice.

Accessed 4 February 2017

Museum At Birthplace Of Vaccination Needs Booster Dose of Funds to Stay Open
Tara Haelle, Contributor
31 January 2017
…Starting in 1968, visitors to Gloucestershire could visit the Edward Jenner Museum, located in the cottage Jenner gave James Phipps in gratitude for his involvement. In the same year smallpox was eradicated, in 1980, The Jenner Trust acquired Jenner’s home as well, the Chantry, where Jenner wrote his famous paper. It sits next to the 13th century church of St. Mary’s where Jenner is buried. Since then, the museum at the Chantry has remained open to public visitors who wanted to learn about how Jenner lived, the items he used and the history of smallpox. Until they visit, most people don’t know Jenner was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society—one of the oldest, most prestigious scientific societies in the world—for his research into birds, not vaccination. It was Jenner who discovered that cuckoos use other birds’ nests to raise their young. Most probably don’t know he discovered dinosaur fossils and launched a hydrogen balloon two years before his experiment with Phipps.

However, the museum’s continuation is in jeopardy. According to the trustees, the budget for Dr. Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden was cut by 55% over the past three years and still operates at a deficit. The United Kingdom has strict requirements for maintaining historical buildings, and the Jenner Trust’s funds have been gradually dwindling. Their income comes primarily from admission charges, events, the museum shop, a schools’ educational program and conference facilities, plus grants and donations…

Trump, Vaccines, And Science Under Threat
Geoffrey Kabat,  Contributor
30 January 2017
…So far, the scientific issue that has gotten the most attention from Trump is that of the safety of vaccines. During the Republican primary campaign, he expressed concerns that vaccines were linked to what he called the autism “epidemic.” A year earlier he had accused the medical community of lying about vaccine safety. Trump, an avid consumer of cable news and social media, has no trouble ignoring the existence of a compelling body of evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in preventing common childhood diseases. This knowledge stems from studies involving hundreds of thousands of children that show no link between vaccines and autism…

The Guardian
Accessed 4 February 2017

Brazil on high alert as yellow fever threatens major cities
Health ministry ramps up vaccination campaign but cautions against ‘disinformation’, as disease spreads to areas where it is not normally found
Thursday 2 February 2017 Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil has ramped up an emergency yellow fever vaccination campaign as the worst outbreak in decades spreads towards major population centres, killing dozens of people and decimating wild monkey populations.

The uptick comes exactly a year after the Zika virus – another mosquito-borne disease – was declared a global health emergency, and as during the previous epidemic Brazilian authorities are struggling to calibrate an appropriate response.

Because there is a vaccine, yellow fever should, in theory, not cause as much of a panic but global vaccine stocks are dwindling, and the disease is far more deadly than Zika.
Of the 107 confirmed cases in the state of Minas Gerais, 40 ended in death. Three patients have also died in São Paulo state and one in Espírito Santo…

New York Times
Accessed 4 February 2017

H. Boyd Woodruff, Microbiologist Who Paved Way for Antibiotics, Dies at 99
February 03, 2017 – By SAM ROBERTS

H. Boyd Woodruff, a farmer’s son whose groundbreaking research enabled fellow scientists to harvest an arsenal of lifesaving antibiotics from ordinary dirt, died on Jan. 19 at his home in Watchung, N.J. He was 99…
His death was confirmed by his son Hugh.

Dr. Woodruff was instrumental in isolating two microbes that, while effective against tuberculosis and other infections, proved toxic to humans. But his findings in the early 1940s inspired the rapid development of streptomycin, the miracle cure used to treat tuberculosis, typhoid, plague and other diseases that did not respond to penicillin and other drugs.
“This was the eureka moment in all antibiotic discovery,” Dr. Douglas E. Eveleigh, a professor emeritus of biochemistry and microbiology at Rutgers University, said of Dr. Woodruff’s research in an email on Thursday.

“The pharmaceutical industry caught on very rapidly, and there followed an avalanche of antibiotics,” Dr. Eveleigh said. “This was all dependent on the Woodruff proof of concept in screening for antibiotic production.”

In 1942, Dr. Woodruff left his laboratory at Rutgers to join Merck & Company, the pharmaceutical giant, where he oversaw the introduction of other antibiotics, vitamins B12 and C, and riboflavin; a treatment for a rare cancer called Wilms tumor; a pneumonia vaccine; and a drug used to treat river blindness

Washington Post
Accessed 4 February 2017

Trump’s vaccine views are at odds with those of most Americans, study says
Despite debate about vaccine safety, 82 percent of Americans support the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine for public school children.
Lena H. Sun | National/health-science | Feb 2, 2017