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.
Accessed 15 July 2017
Zika Vaccines and Pregnant Women: Here’s What Ethics Experts Say
10 July 2017
…Thus, all of the scientists, laboratories, research centers, companies, policy makers, healthcare facilities, healthcare administrators, government agencies, and public health officials involved in this massive race need guidance. Otherwise it could descend into some chaos (if there is such a thing as “some” chaos). Therefore, months of reviewing available research studies and ethics guidelines, interviewing experts, and complicated discussions resulted in the following guidance from the Ethics Working Group: “Pregnant Women & the Zika Virus Vaccine Research Agenda: Ethics Guidance on Priorities, Inclusion, and Evidence Generation.”…

The Guardian view on vaccinations: a matter of public health
Resisting childhood vaccinations for bad reasons should not be tolerated. We must not play with people’s lives
Friday 7 July 2017 13.33 EDT Last modified on Friday 14 July 2017 12.46 EDT
It takes a long time for social movements to show up in conventional politics. The personal becomes political only with a time lag of decades. The increased toleration and the respect for the individual and the marginalised that appeared in western societies in the 60s and 70s did not make their political breakthrough until the earlier years of this century. This wasn’t an unmixed good. We tend to think of this rejection of outmoded convention as a wholly progressive development, but the loss of respect for authority has a shadow side as well. The belief that people should be free to believe what they like has led to the rise of fake news, and of infantile fantasies of the triumph of the will. These burst into electoral politics last year, nourishing both the Trump campaign and the Brexit referendum. But such thoughts had been incubating quietly for years inside the anti-vaccine movement.

To refuse to have your children vaccinated is an attack on society in much the same way as tax evasion is. If a refusal to vaccinate only endangered the children whose parents deliberately put them in harm’s way, it would still be wrong because parents do not have an unlimited right to be irresponsible. It can be argued that so long as very few people do it, there is very little irresponsibility in refusing to vaccinate a child against a risk that remains distant if everyone else acts for the good of society. Similar arguments are used to justify all sorts of fraud. But when children who might be vaccinated are not, their parents are both exploiting herd immunity and contributing to its breakdown. This is plainly wrong and should not be tolerated. The French government has just announced that children there must be vaccinated against 18 common childhood diseases. This follows the Italian decision to make vaccinations against 16 diseases a condition of entry to school at six. These measures may feel disturbing to society’s liberal instincts, but they are entirely justified as measures of collective solidarity against disease.

The resistance to vaccination in the rich world is also an example of post-religious movements reproducing some of the obnoxious habits and beliefs of traditional religion. Opposition to childhood vaccinations came from fundamentalist religions, as it still does in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where health workers have been murdered by the Taliban. This strand of resistance, though, comes from societies that reject modern medicine partly because they are excluded from most of its benefits by poverty. It is much easier to believe in miracles when no alternative cure is available.

The antivaxxers of the western world are very different. They are often rich, and enjoy plenty of access to the conventional medicine they despise until they need it. President Trump – who else? – has also embraced discredited theories linking vaccines to autism, instantly popularising dangerous fringe thinking with his tweets and speeches. Hypochondria meant, originally, anxiety and depression, which are very serious conditions, not to be mocked. But it has mutated into a form of anxiety that damages other people far more than the sufferer. In a sense, the antivaxxers are carriers of a condition that is as contagious, if not so debilitating, as the physical diseases they also spread. It must also be controlled as a matter of public health

Washington Post
Tulane gets $12M for Lassa fever animal studies
…to treat Lassa fever and to develop a vaccine for the deadly virus…
Associated Press · Regional · Jul 12, 2017