Vaccines? Safe. Parents? Dangerous.

December 15, 2008 by · 15 Comments
Filed under: Opinion 

Lately I’ve been noticing an increasing number of journal articles, blog articles and opinion pieces on a terrible problem: Parents have questions about vaccines.

You would have to look far and wide to find anyone who thinks that these questions are valid and should be taken seriously. Common explanations are:
1) It is all about the parents who think they are really smart.
2) It is all about the parents who are very stupid and read stuff on the Internet.
3) It is all about the bad stuff on the Internet which is deceiving the parents who aren’t very smart and who think they are smarter than doctors. And infinite variations on this theme, which is really one argument…and the real argument is (drum roll)…vaccines are perfect and parents are the problem.

Being called stupid dupes hasn’t worked to shut up the parents with questions. Perhaps this is not a good strategy?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that many articles and blogs offer comment options to the public. If you are following the vaccine related discussions you’ll have noticed that there is a coterie of passionate vaccine defenders who pop up in every such public discussion. These vaccine defenders are fighting for the good of the vaccine program with everything they’ve got.

Oddly, however, the number of parents with questions seems to be increasing. Perhaps the vaccine defenders need to reconsider their approach. Read more

Does the Inactivated Influenza Vaccine Even Work In the Recommended Age Bracket?

It’s that time of year again!  Having spent last summer consulting the avian set on what’s hot in influenza, the pharmaceutical company has whipped up a fresh batch of flu vaccine, and now they need to move the merchandise!  Fortunately, the CDC is happy to help with sales, by expanding the recommendation to ever more age groups.  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Policy currently recommends the vaccine for all children aged 6 months to eighteen years.  There is just one slight issue that might concern some parents.  Peer-reviewed research in The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 162 No. 10, October 2008,1 demonstrates that the vaccine is not effective under age 5!

An inherent assumption of expanded vaccination recommendations is that the vaccine is efficacious in preventing clinical influenza disease. Although studies have documented immune responses following 2 doses of inactivated influenza vaccine as well as vaccine efficacy for culture-confirmed disease in randomized clinical trials, surprisingly little information exists regarding influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) among young children receiving vaccine in routine health care settings.

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Merck staph vaccine enters phase II

September 21, 2008 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: General 

From Forbes:

VIENNA, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Austrian biotech firm Intercell <ICEL.VI> said on Thursday its partner Merck & Co <MRK.N> has started a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate a vaccine candidate against Staphylococcus aureus infections.

Merck is responsible for clinical development, manufacturing and marketing of the vaccine. Intercell is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on future net sales

This is the second trial start following a separate Phase II trial launch in December 2007. Read more

Close Encounters with the Vaccine Schedule

February 28, 2008 by · 15 Comments
Filed under: Parents' Pages 

baby-feet.jpgScene: A pediatrician’s office. Behind the desk is the doctor, a pleasant, middle-aged woman in a white coat. Seated in front of the desk are the expectant parents, prosperous, educated, self-confident, and, in the case of the woman, exceedingly pregnant.

Doctor: So, what questions did you have for me today?

Mother: We are concerned about the current vaccine schedule.* We know that babies should be protected from serious diseases, but the current schedule is getting…well, strange. (Pulls a scroll from her purse and starts unwinding it, reading off the schedule as she goes, and inserting comments) So, at birth, they want our baby to get a Hepatitis B vaccination. We both test negative and are not at risk for that disease.

Father: Does our baby really need that one?

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