For a 40-minute documentary broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and produced by Anthony Baxter, reporter Richard Phinney visited a small, long-running public health outpost in Guinea Bissau where a team of Danish and African researchers has studied the long-term effects of vaccines and vitamin supplements on the immune systems of children. The team has published reams of research and influenced WHO policy, but Phinney focuses on what he calls their most “explosive” findings.
They show that the world’s most commonly used vaccines can strengthen – or weaken – a child’s immune system in the long term, and affect their ability to fight off disease. The results directly challenge the WHO’s global health advice, followed by most countries in the developing world, and could mean that thousands of young lives, in Africa and beyond, are needlessly at risk.
Programming note: The program will only be available to download worldwide for a few more days.
Update: The audio is no longer available at the earlier link but it is available, in two parts, on this page. Search the page or scroll down for “Vaccine Detectives.”
Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.
Fallout from Dangers in the Dust, the mammoth asbestos investigation by the BBC and the Center for Public Integrity/International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, continues. On the ICIJ Global Muckracker blog, Jim Morris details the Canadian Public Health Association‘s ongoing effort to detail the financial relationship between a powerful Quebec asbestos lobby and Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources.
The CPHA’s policy director, James Chauvin, told ICIJ that the institute was “polite” in its responses to inquiries and did send “a pile of technical manuals.” But the manuals shed no light on how C$20 million in federal funds has been spent over the past quarter-century, Chauvin said, and the information wasn’t available on the ministry’s website.
The lobbyists, Montreal’s Chrysotile Institute, have earned Canada the title of “primary booster” of the global asbestos trade. The institute receives both government and industry funds, though the numbers are still fuzzy for both.