Immunization Action Coalition and the Hepatitis B Coalition

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Issue Number 535            June 27, 2005

CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

  1. The New York Times article "On Autism's Cause, It's Parents vs. Research" is available free of charge only until July 2
  2. Institute of Medicine responds to article on thimerosal written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
  3. More than 30 cases of measles reported in Indiana; free vaccine administered
  4. June issue of CDC's Immunization Works electronic newsletter now available on the NIP website
  5. New: The web section of WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety now offers information in six languages
  6. Upcoming events: Hepatitis B Foundation's B-Informed patient conference and Oregon's Flu Summit scheduled for July
  7. MMWR corrects its article on seroprevalence of poliovirus antibodies in a Dominican community in Puerto Rico

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ABBREVIATIONS: AAFP, American Academy of Family Physicians; AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics; ACIP, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; FDA, Food and Drug Administration; IAC, Immunization Action Coalition; MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; NIP, National Immunization Program; VIS, Vaccine Information Statement; VPD, vaccine-preventable disease; WHO, World Health Organization.
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June 27, 2005
THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE "ON AUTISM'S CAUSE, IT'S PARENTS VS. RESEARCH" IS AVAILABLE FREE OF CHARGE ONLY UNTIL JULY 2

On Saturday, June 25, the New York Times published a lengthy front-page article, "On Autism's Cause, It's Parents vs. Research," which was placed above the fold. Written by Gardiner Harris and Anahad O'Connor, the article delineates the challenges the scientific community has in persuading some parents that no causal link exists between the presence of thimerosal in vaccines and the development of autism in young children.

The article quotes CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding, who upheld the CDC's scientific integrity, saying that the agency is not withholding information on thimerosal. The assertion that CDC is withholding information was made in an article written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which was co-published by the Rolling Stone and Salon.com on June 16 (see article #2 below for additional information).

The article also quotes Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of CDC's National Immunization Program, who expressed her amazement at the vehemence with which parents of autistic children are rejecting the conclusions of scientific studies showing that thimerosal in vaccines does not lead to the development of autism. Dr. Marie McCormick, chairwoman of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel that recently examined the issue, is quoted as concurring with Wharton.

The article also discusses the findings of some of the 200 studies on which the IOM panel based its conclusion rejecting an association between vaccines and autism.

The article is posted on the New York Times website, where it will be available free of charge for seven days from publication. The New York Times requires first-time users to complete an online registration form, which is free of charge. To access the registration form, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/register

If you are already registered, you can access the article directly by going to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/science/25autism.html
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June 27, 2005
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE RESPONDS TO ARTICLE ON THIMEROSAL WRITTEN BY ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.

[Crossposted with thanks from the June 2005 ASTHO (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials) "Immunization News."]

On June 16, 2005, Rolling Stone magazine and Salon.com published an article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that alleges a cover-up of data related to scientific investigations into a possible link between autism and thimerosal. In response, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has issued a letter to the editors of Rolling Stone and Salon. The article, titled "Deadly Immunity," asserts a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism-range disorders. The IOM's letter stated that the commentary article was "rife with factual errors and distortions" and described the IOM's independent efforts in reviewing vaccine safety over the past five years. In addition, the letter clarified the work of the vaccine safety study committee, stating that "committee members based their conclusions on the whole body of the evidence, including toxicology studies, not just four epidemiological studies." The letter also clarified IOM conclusions related to thimerosal and vaccine safety, saying, "In its 2004 report, the committee concluded that the totality of the evidence available indicated that neither thimerosal nor the MMR vaccine is associated with autism. Contrary to Mr. Kennedy's assertions, the report clearly recommends that research continue to seek the cause or causes of autism, but that finite resources should be directed toward the most promising paths, and that a significant investment in studies of the theoretical vaccine-autism connection is not useful at this time."

To access the complete IOM letter, go to:
http://www.salon.com/news/letters/2005/06/22/iom_thimerosal/index.html


To access the original article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., go to:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/7395411
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June 27, 2005
MORE THAN 30 CASES OF MEASLES REPORTED IN INDIANA; FREE VACCINE ADMINISTERED

[Crossposted with thanks from the June 2005 ASTHO (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials) "Immunization News."]

As of June 13, 2005, county public health workers in Tippecanoe and Clinton counties, Indiana, had confirmed 31 cases of measles. The outbreak is the first in Indiana since 2002 and the largest since 1991, when six cases were reported. The outbreak is believed to be linked to a girl who had not been immunized and had visited an orphanage in Romania in May of 2005. Subsequently, the virus spread when the girl attended a church fellowship on May 15, 2005. County public health officials stated that the disease is now spreading through second-generation contact to family members of those who first contracted the virus in May. Eight families have been quarantined in their homes to prevent further spread of the virus.

In response to the outbreak, Tippecanoe County is administering free measles shots; as of Monday, 108 people had received free vaccine. While Indiana law requires the measles vaccine for school entry in kindergarten or first grade, it allows health and religious exemptions and excludes children who are home-schooled.
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June 27, 2005
JUNE ISSUE OF CDC'S IMMUNIZATION WORKS ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE ON THE NIP WEBSITE

The June issue of Immunization Works, a monthly email newsletter published by CDC, is available on NIP's website. The newsletter offers members of the immunization community non-proprietary information about current topics. CDC encourages its wide dissemination.

Some of the information in the June issue has already appeared in previous issues of IAC Express. Following is the text of two articles we have not covered.

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Meetings, Conferences, and Resources

PROMOTE HEALTHCARE WORKERS VACCINATION: Two free new resources are now available on CDC's website to promote the vaccination of healthcare workers: an 8-1/2 by 11 in. flyer and a 16 by 24 in. poster. Both pieces were developed with the input from sixty-five healthcare workers across the country. They can be printed in black and white, or color, and can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/nip/publications/default.htm#healthcare

ACIP MEETING TO BE HELD JUNE 29-30TH: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will hold its next meeting June 29-30, 2005, at the Marriott Century Center Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Agenda topics include informational updates and discussion on a variety of topics including vaccine recommendations for Tdap, hepatitis A and B, varicella, human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza, and rotavirus. Votes will be taken on new ACIP recommendations. The meeting is open to the general public. For more information please visit www.cdc.gov/nip/acip/default.htm

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To access the complete June issue from the NIP website, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/news/newsltrs/imwrks/2005/200506.htm
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June 27, 2005
NEW: THE WEB SECTION OF WHO'S GLOBAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON VACCINE SAFETY NOW OFFERS INFORMATION IN SIX LANGUAGES

The web section of WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) now makes information available in six languages--Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

The GACVS web section includes committee reports on topics related to vaccine safety, including MMR and autism, thimerosal, residual cellular DNA in vaccines, bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, and more. It also includes information about evaluating the quality of information found on the Web and an article about assessing the cause of adverse events following immunization.

To access the GACVS web section, go to: http://www.who.int/vaccine_safety/en To access information in various languages, click on the language tabs displayed on the right side of the black bar at the top of the home page.
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June 27, 2005
UPCOMING EVENTS: HEPATITIS B FOUNDATION'S B-INFORMED PATIENT CONFERENCE AND OREGON'S FLU SUMMIT SCHEDULED FOR JULY

IAC recently posted the following conferences to its Calendar of Events web section:

1. "B-INFORMED" PATIENT CONFERENCE 2005.

SCHEDULED FOR July 9-10 at Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, PA.

INTENDED FOR patients, parents, and families affected by chronic hepatitis B.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE is June 30; registration fee is $75 (includes lodging and meals) or $50 (includes meals, no lodging).

TO DOWNLOAD A REGISTRATION FORM, go to:
http://www.hepb.org/pdf/2005_Registration_form.pdf

PRESENTED BY the Hepatitis B Foundation with the Hepatitis B Information and Support List (HB-L).

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, email peggy@hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.

2. OREGON FLU SUMMIT.

SCHEDULED FOR 8AM to 12PM, July 29, at the Auditorium in the Old Library, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE Susan Allan, MD, JD, MPH, Oregon Public Health Director; Carolyn Bridges, MD, influenza epidemiologist, CDC; and Kristin Nichol, MD, MPH, MBA, professor of medicine, University of Minnesota (by live videoconference).

REGISTRATION DEADLINE is 5PM, July 11.

TO DOWNLOAD A REGISTRATION FORM, go to:
http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/imm/docs/regform.doc#a

SPONSORED BY the Immunization Program, Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Oregon Adult Immunization Coalition.

TO ACCESS THE SUMMIT AGENDA, go to:
http://egov.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/imm/docs/sumtagend.pdf#a

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, call Anne Vancuren, Oregon DHS, at (971) 673-0314.

FOR INFORMATION ON ADDITIONAL CONFERENCES of interest to those in the immunization community, visit the IAC Calendar of Events web section at http://www.immunize.org/calendar
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June 27, 2005
MMWR CORRECTS ITS ARTICLE ON SEROPREVALENCE OF POLIOVIRUS ANTIBODIES IN A DOMINICAN COMMUNITY IN PUERTO RICO

MMWR published a correction, "Erratum: Vol. 54, No. 23," in its June 24 issue. It is reprinted below in its entirety.

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In the report, "Seroprevalence of Poliovirus Antibodies Among Children in a Dominican Community--Puerto Rico, 2002," an error occurred in the second sentence of the final paragraph of the Editorial Note on page 581. The sentence should read, "The study described in this report included children who were vaccinated with OPV and children who were vaccinated after the all-IPV schedule was implemented in Puerto Rico on January 1, 2001."

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To access a web-text (HTML) version of the correction, go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5424a5.htm

To access a ready-to-print (PDF) version of this issue of MMWR, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5424.pdf

To receive a FREE electronic subscription to MMWR (which includes new ACIP statements), go to:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwrsubscribe.html

 

Immunization Action Coalition1573 Selby AvenueSt. Paul MN 55104
E-mail: admin@immunize.org Web: http://www.immunize.org/
Tel: (651) 647-9009Fax: (651) 647-9131

This page was updated on June 27, 2005