Tag Archives: vaccines

Persistent threats to U.S. children’s health the focus of #AHCJ19 session

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Ali H. Mokdad

While measles may be the hot topic in the news at the moment for children’s health, it’s far from the only concern. Even as the historical success of vaccines has reduced child mortality and morbidity from infectious disease, chronic disease, assault and injuries have increasingly become killers of U.S. children.

These were among the issues Ali H. Mokdad, Ph.D., a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, discussed during his session at Health Journalism 2019, “From measles to obesity: Key health trends affecting children and adolescents.” Continue reading

Writing about vaccine hesitancy? There’s a study for that

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Global Panorama via Flickr

Vaccines and vaccine hesitancy has been my primary micro-beat since I began working as a full-time health/science journalist, so it’s been interesting to watch how coverage of the topic has evolved over the past decade.

For far too long, false balance was the biggest problem plaguing media coverage of vaccination, a trend that only slowly began fading after The Lancet retracted Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent study. Continue reading

Tip sheet helps journalists cover vaccine hesitancy responsibly

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Tara Haelle, AHCJ core topic leader on medical studies, contributed to this post.

Journalists have a tricky role when covering a public health issue like vaccine hesitancy and opposition. We have a responsibility to report medical facts, but we also want to tell stories of these facts playing out in real life – and we must avoid appearing as advocates or taking a “stance” on whether parents should vaccinate their children or not.

The medical evidence is clear – vaccines are safe and effective – but a small minority of people refuse, or remain unable, to accept medical evidence. Since that small minority can have a substantial impact on public health more broadly, journalists have to capture the micro and the macro while balancing storytelling with facts. Continue reading

Free online courses from CDC, WHO and NIH can enhance medical research reporting

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

By Dr.Farouk via Wikimedia Commons

In a previous post, I discussed how journalists can use MOOCs — Massive Online Open Courses — to broaden or deepen their knowledge of topics they cover. There also is a lengthy list of MOOCs specific to individual beats available on the AHCJ website. Continue reading

Lack of vaccinations leaves some older adults vulnerable

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Global Panorama via Flickr

Many adults are not getting the vaccines they need; often because of the cost or a belief that they are healthy and don’t need them, two public health experts told AHCJ during a members-only webcast last month.

While health care providers generally do an effective job of vaccinating children, less than half of American adults are getting vaccinations for the flu (influenza), hepatitis B, shingles (zoster) and whooping cough (pertussis). Continue reading

How a debate over patient consent rules led to a book on vaccine history

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

The story of how cancer cells belonging to Henrietta Lacks were used, without her consent, became one of the most important foundations of research was told in the 2010 book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. But less-known is the story of how another key set of cells was developed from fetal tissue and used in vaccine testing on patients without their consent.

Meredith Wadman tells this story of controversy in her 2017 book, “The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease.” She found the story just by reading a letter-to-the-editor about patient consent in the publication Science. Continue reading