We were warned, and thus it has come to pass: After the Centers for Disease Control announced at the end of last year that this season’s flu vaccine might not do much to prevent people from getting sick, the agency released results today that show shots have only been about 23% effective.
Researchers may be about to take a bite out of malaria. The mosquito-borne disease, which infects 225 million people each year and kills 781,000 victims, but a new vaccine has cut the number of infections of test subjects in half in the year following vaccination.
A Supreme Court ruling protects vaccine makers from lawsuits filed by parents who believe vaccines have hurt their children.
Blasted almost as soon as it was published, a 1998 study linking the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism has still managed to scare off hordes of anxious parents from fully vaccinating their children. Now a new investigative report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) goes further, saying that the study was not only rife with error, but outright fraud, committed for financial gain.
An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that everyone get flu vaccinations from now on, not just people in special higher risk groups. According to WebMD, “the CDC almost certainly will make universal flu vaccination official U.S. policy for this fall’s 2010-2011 flu season, as it consistently follows the advice of the panel of outside experts.”
Line up, Americans! The FDA has approved swine flu (H1N1) vaccines from four different manufacturers. Like seasonal flu vaccines, they’re available to anyone who visits their doctor and asks for a shot. Who should make sure they get the shot ASAP, though?
Between November of last year and this past January, the FDA “cited 49 areas of concern, including a failure to follow good manufacturing practices” at Merck & Co. Inc’s vaccine plant in Pennsylvania. A Merck spokesman says that most of the incidents were found and reported by Merck’s own employees, and that they occurred in the manufacturing process, not the vaccines themselves: “He stressed that no contamination was found in finished vaccines and that Merck was addressing all the problems.”
Merck is recalling 1.2 million of its PedvaxHIB and Comvax vaccines after “quality-control checks found production equipment may not have been properly sterilized.” There have been no reports of problems—they’re just being extra careful. [Reuters]