Though we may be only a month into the New Year, 2015 has already witnessed a number of notable vaccine developments, and we have your roundup here.
CDC Robo-Call Investigations
If you receive an unexpected phone call from the CDC in the near future, don't panic. You've not been exposed to a contagious disease; rather, the Centers for Disease Control has launched a campaign to gather information about the health effects of vaccines. Their specific aim? To identify if/how many parents believe their children experienced negative side effects from the Hepatitis vaccine. According to The Daily Caller, the initiative is in response to a recent Twitter campaign that uses the hashtag #CDCWhistleblower to speak out against the safety of the Hepatitis vaccine. Supporters of the campaign argue they have reason to believe the vaccine is connected to the development of autism and other neurological disorders. These sentiments echo those that had been expressed by parents of children with autism throughout the early 2000's, sentiments that had somewhat been quieted until recently. What has the CDC concluded from its inquiries? We'll have to continue waiting for an answer to this one, as the organization's research initiative remains ongoing.
2015 Flu Vaccine 23% Effective
2015 isn't shaping up to be a great year for the CDC for another reason: a recent study found that this year's batch of flu vaccines, already admitted to be an "imperfect match" with the season's strain, is actually only 23% effective. The CDC and health officials across the country had invested substantial effort throughout the fall and December to persuade the American public that, though the vaccine wasn't perfect, it was still highly recommended. However, these new findings may undercut their efforts completely. And, for those that have been skeptic of the CDC's flu vaccines for years, largely as a result of their inclusion of the mercury-containing preservative Thimerosal (which has been banned from all childhood vaccines following research from Dr. Mark Geier demonstrating its adverse effects ), the vaccine's proven ineffectiveness makes their arguments even more compelling.
Ebola Vaccine Trials Begin
Johnson & Johnson began testing its newly-developed Ebola vaccine in humans earlier this month, the first vaccine that has been developed to combat the deadly disease. While cases of Ebola have decreased in recent months, the need for a vaccine remains valuable for protection against current and future outbreaks. Johnson & Johnson has yet to announce the effectiveness of their Ebola vaccine in its trial run, but on January 16th, they received a 150 million dollar grant from European partners for the continued development and production of the vaccine. According to the Wall Street Journal, 400,000 additional doses of the vaccine are in production for large-scale clinical testing in the spring.