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 30 September 2017
Paul Offit: The Pregnancy Vaccine Scare That Should Have Never Been
22 September 2017
Last week, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that an influenza vaccine given in the first trimester of pregnancy might have caused miscarriages. News outlets all over America picked up the story.
The CDC’s claim wasn’t trivial. About 50 percent of all pregnant women in the U.S. receive an annual influenza vaccine. Now, some expectant mothers were wondering whether they had done the right thing by getting their flu shots‍.
These women had no need to worry. For several reasons, this CDC study should have never been published. Why?…
Accessed 30 September 2017
Flu Shots Aren’t 100% Effective, But They’re The Best Protection Available
Sep 28, 2017
Rita Rubin , Contributor
The good news is that 43.3% of U.S. adults 18 and older were vaccinated against the flu this past flu season, an increase of 1.6 percentage points over the previous flu season, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bad news is that only 43.3% of U.S. adults 18 and older were vaccinated against the flu this past flu season, which means that more than half of the people in that age group weren’t vaccinated…
The Guardian
Accessed 30 September 2017
Protect babies from flu by getting older siblings vaccinated, parents advised
Babies and toddlers are significantly more at risk of being hospitalised with influenza complications if they have older brothers or sisters, research finds

Last modified on Wednesday 27 September 2017 19.05 EDT
Small children are significantly more at risk of serious illness from influenza if they have older brothers or sisters, new research has shown.
Babies and toddlers are more likely to be admitted to hospital with flu complications if they are not the first born in their family, the study found.
Children are “effective spreaders” of respiratory infections and can easily pass viruses onto their vulnerable younger siblings, said the researchers. Parents were told they can help protect their young children by getting older offspring vaccinated…
The Hill
Accessed 30 September 2017
Bill Gates hopes talk with Trump on vaccine programs was ‘enlightening’
24 September 2017
By Mallory Shelbourne
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he hopes his conversation with President Trump about vaccines was “enlightening.”
“You know, we talked about vaccines and how they’re miraculous,” Gates told “Fox News Sunday” (see video) about his two meetings with Trump.
“We talked about these different programs and so I’m hopeful that was enlightening to him.”
“But it didn’t have the impact you hoped?” host Chris Wallace asked Gates. Gates said his hopes were not reflected in Trump’s first budget…

New York Times
Accessed 30 September 2017
Bavarian Nordic Eyes More U.S. Government Contracts After New Vaccine Order
Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic expects to win further U.S. contracts for its smallpox vaccine after it secured a key government order, the company said on Thursday.
September 28, 2017 – By REUTERS

Can I Spread the Word About an Unvaccinated Child?
The magazine’s Ethicist columnist on whether to reveal another parent is an anti-vaxxer and more.
September 27, 2017 – By KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH

Accessed 30 September 2017
Paul Offit: Correcting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s vaccine ‘facts’
| 22 September 2017
When people misrepresent facts on the record, journalists are in a tough spot — especially when that information can be harmful.
Which brings me to STAT’s recent interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., conducted by Helen Branswell. STAT wanted to interview Kennedy about his claim in January 2017 that Donald Trump would soon appoint him to head a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. Seven months had passed since Kennedy had made the claim and no announcement had been made. STAT wanted to find out where things stood.
Branswell began her interview by asking Kennedy eight different times and in eight different ways where things stood on his commission. Each time, he failed to confirm or deny whether the White House was about to appoint him.
That clearly wasn’t what Kennedy wanted to talk about. Instead, he wanted to talk about his belief that mercury in vaccines is poisoning America’s children and that no one in the federal government seems to care. By insisting that the interview be conducted in the question-and-answer format, Kennedy effectively tied STAT’s hands, which had to print what he said without editorial comment or opposing views.
I feel compelled to oppose Kennedy’s claims…

Washington Post
Accessed 30 September 2017
Mother who refuses to follow court order to vaccinate son: ‘Most likely, I’ll be going to jail’
Kristine Phillips · National/health-science · Sep 30, 2017
A Michigan woman said she will “most likely” go to jail this week if she refuses a court order to vaccinate her 9-year-old son.
And Rebecca Bredow, it seems, is willing to take that risk.
“I can’t give in against my own religious belief,” she told The Washington Post on Saturday. “This is about choice. This is about having my choices as a mother to be able to make medical choices for my child.”
Bredow, who lives in a Detroit suburb, has been embroiled in a custody battle with her ex-husband, James Horne. Last November, an Oakland County court sided with Horne, ordering Bredow to get their son vaccinated. But she has so far not done so. Bredow said the county judge had given her until Wednesday to get her son the medically allowed amount of vaccination, which would be up to eight vaccines.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to have my side heard,” she said, adding later: “Most likely, I’ll be going to jail on Wednesday.”…

Zika was a mild bug. A new discovery shows how it turned monstrous.
By William Wan | 28 September 2017
When the Zika virus became a global terror two years ago — inflicting severe birth defects on the babies of pregnant women who were infected with the virus and alarming health officials worldwide — scientists were mystified.
How did such an obscure, relatively harmless pathogen that had been known for more than half a century suddenly blossom into a monster virus? Was it something about Zika’s new hunting grounds when it spread from Africa to South America and the Caribbean? Were its new victims in Brazil somehow more susceptible to its effects?
A group of scientists based in China may have finally solved the mystery. Their research — published Thursday in the journal Science — pinpoints a small mutation in Zika’s genetic makeup that made the virus much more dangerous…