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.

Der Spiegel
http://www.spiegel.de/
Accessed 25 February 2017
Bill Gates Interview
I Told Trump ‘How Wonderful’ Vaccines Are
22 February 2017
Amid wars, fake news and Donald Trump, the risk of a global pandemic is getting little attention these days. In an interview, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates warns of the dramatic consequences.

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Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/
Accessed 25 February 2017
A West Virginian Is Trying To Stop A Senate Bill From Destroying State Vaccination Rates
Kavin Senapathy, Contributor
Feb 23, 2017
Similar anti-vaccine bills have fizzled out but Meredith Snead is taking no chances. The health of West Virginians and the nation are at stake.

Dear Robert Kennedy Jr.: Here Are Two People You Can Give $100,000
18 February 2017
Bruce Y. Lee,  Contributor
Dear Robert Kennedy, Jr., I heard that you have offered $100,000 to anyone who could find a study showing that it’s safe to administer vaccines to children and pregnant women (as indicated in the Washington Post). Actor and Director Robert De Niro was present during the announcement to offer his endorsement. It’s great that you are committing publicly to support medical research. Hope you have a lot of money (this site says $50 million but I don’t know if this has been verified) because there have been a lot of vaccine safety studies out there. Well, to start, if you have a pen handy, here are two people whom you can make the check out to: Dr. Neal Halsey and Dr. Dan Salmon. That’s Neal with an “ea” and Salmon, spelled like the fish…

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Fortune
http://fortune.com/
Accessed 25 February 2017
What Bill and Melinda Gates See That Donald Trump Doesn’t
| 17 February 2017
… It’s no surprise that the cofounder of Microsoft is a techno-enthusiast, but the most high-impact technology for improving global health, Bill and Melinda Gates argue, are simple vaccines. It’s hard to overstate their enthusiasm for the potential of a “basic package” of childhood vaccines to save lives, reduce the cost of healthcare, and unleash economic productivity. The worldwide vaccination rate is the highest it’s ever been (86%,), they explain, thanks in large part to a global Vaccine Alliance that has immunized 580 million children. Vaccines “are one of the great things the rich world does for the rest of the world,” Bill Gates notes, and “for every dollar spent on childhood immunizations, you get $44 of economic benefit.”…

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New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/
Accessed 25 February 2017
The Anti-Vaccine Movement Gains a Friend in the White House
23 February 2017
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Vaccine opponents, often the subject of ridicule, have found fresh energy in the election of a president who has repeated discredited claims linking childhood immunizations to autism and who has apparently decided to pursue them. With President Trump’s support, this fringe movement could win official recognition, threatening lives and making it urgent that health officials, educators and others respond with a science-based defense of vaccines.

Vaccines have saved lives by protecting children and adults from diseases like measles, polio, smallpox, cervical cancer and whooping cough. And there is no evidence whatsoever that vaccines or a preservative used in flu shots cause autism. Scientists have also shown that parents who refuse to immunize their children are threatening to undo decades of public health gains.

Yet, activists like Robert Kennedy Jr. continue to push pseudoscience about immunizations. The terrifying thing is that they appear to have Mr. Trump’s ear. After a meeting with the president last month, Mr. Kennedy said that the president would name him to head a new committee on vaccine safety; the government already has an advisory group that is meeting this week. And last week, during a news conference with Robert De Niro, Mr. Kennedy offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who could prove that vaccines are safe for children and pregnant women.
Of course, countless studies show that vaccines are safe and effective — more than 350 health groups compiled a list for Mr. Trump — but they haven’t penetrated the reality distortion field created by Mr. Kennedy and his fellow travelers. The biggest danger is that their movement will sow enough doubt that more parents will refuse to let their children be immunized. In some states like Texas the number of children who do not receive vaccines has risen sharply over the last decade and is now in the tens of thousands. Not only does this increase the risk of infections to the youths who don’t get shots, but it also threatens infants who are too young and children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. This phenomenon has already led to outbreaks of measles and mumps.

Some parents are understandably anxious about autism. But scientists say there are several possible explanations for why more children have been found to have autism spectrum disorders in recent years, and none of them are linked to vaccines. Doctors have gotten better at identifying those conditions. Genetic factors could be at play, as well as fetal brain defects that develop during pregnancy because of exposure to chemicals and infections.

Mr. Trump does not have the authority to change vaccination requirements for schools and day care centers. States set those rules and determine whether families can opt out based on religious or personal beliefs. But he has a bully pulpit and appoints the heads of health agencies. People who care about public health ought to pressure Mr. Trump not to empower this antiscience movement.

The good news is that members of Congress are pushing back. Six influential lawmakers from both parties, including Senators Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, sent a letter to their colleagues on Tuesday declaring, “Simply put, vaccines save lives.”