CDC Shifts Vaccine-Data Focus
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: November 26th, 2006
Federal health officials have decided to forgo gathering detailed data on whether children in 22 big cities are receiving recommended immunizations and instead will survey teenagers, who are the target of several new vaccines. The decision is drawing protests from local health officials, who say the soon-to-be-lost information is essential to their efforts to make sure that infants and toddlers, many from poor families, are protected against childhood infections. Each year, the CDC contracts a polling company to get data on vaccination rates in various age, demographic and income groups nationwide. "We need to know if the new vaccine has helped, or had no change, or hurt [coverage], and we cannot really make those judgments without the NIS data," [one health official] said. CDC officials said they are redirecting about $3 million to survey adolescents. The only way to pay for the 22-city sampling would be to use money now used to help states buy vaccine, they added. The decision comes at a time when the government is spending record amounts on public health. The CDC's budget has risen 42 percent since 2001 and is now $8.73 billion.
Note: This unusual decision makes sense if you consider that the powerful pharmaceutical industry doesn't want tracking on toddler vaccinations, as it may show what they have long denied -- that there is a link between autism and childhood vaccinations. The mercury-derivative Thimerosal was largely taken out of childhood vaccinations just a few years ago. The much-awaited data needed to prove or disprove a link will now be more difficult to obtain.