Tag Archives: vaccines

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

Annual global flu deaths higher than previously estimated

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: Indiana Public Media via Flickr

As influenza activity has begun to pick up this winter, scientists working on global influenza surveillance increased their estimates of how many people worldwide die annually from the flu.

A study published Dec. 13 in The Lancet estimates that 291,000 to 646,000 people die from respiratory complications related to the flu each year. Previous annual estimates ranged from 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. Continue reading

Using data to tell a story about fighting anti-vaccine misinformation

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.

In early October, the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry announced it planned to retract a study that had used altered data to conclude there was a link between aluminum adjuvants in vaccines and autism in mice, according to Retraction Watch.

Though it is good news the paper was retracted, the bad news is that such studies continue to be published, and fuel ongoing arguments within the anti-vaccine community that researchers are covering up evidence of links between autism and vaccines, says Timothy Caulfield, author of the new book The Vaccination Picture. Continue reading

Vaida to lead newest AHCJ core topic effort: infectious diseases

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida, an independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., will lead AHCJ’s newest core topic on infectious diseases.

She will be guiding AHCJ members to the resources they need to cover the many aspects of covering infectious diseases through blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other material. The core topic area of healthjournalism.org will feature a glossary, a more lengthy explanation of key concepts, shared wisdom from other reporters, story ideas and more. Continue reading

Assessing the red flags in a study … annotated

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.

I’m frequently asked on social media for my thoughts on a particular study. In this situation, I thought the quick analysis I did may be instructive for others, so I’ve Storified it here, along with additional commentary and resources. Continue reading

Facts vs. opinions: Beware of false balance in your 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.

scalesIt is a journalist’s job to objectively and fairly represent the various perspectives on an issue, and it’s a journalist’s responsibility to report facts to represent an issue as accurately as possible.

What happens when these two ethical obligations appear to conflict? Ideally, the seasoned journalist takes a step back to assess how the facts influence the balance a story should receive. When this doesn’t happen, a story runs the risk of having false balance — something even stories relying on scientific evidence (sometimes especially stories relying on scientific evidence) can fall victim to. Continue reading