Anti-Vaccination: An Extreme Public Health Risk | msnbc
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talks with Rachel Maddow about the health risks associated with not being vaccinated, and the importance of dispelling the myths behind the anti-vaccination argument.
You may have see or read an interview that NIH Director Francis Collin’s did with the Huffington Post last week. CauseScience posted a summary of his statements in a post here. The takeaway was Collins’ statement about a potential ebola vaccine, “… if (NIH) had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this…” Over the weekend, the Director of NIH’s NIAID, Tony Fauci, was on Meet the Press and mentioned that he would not have said what Collins did. Reported by the Washington Post.
I don’t agree with that, I have to tell you quite honestly. I think you can’t say we would or would not have this or that. Everything has slowed down, but I would not make that statement.
The Washington Post reporter, Dana Milbank, later clarified with Fauci what his statements meant.
I spoke Sunday night with Fauci, a longtime advocate for higher levels of medical research funding, to see why he had opened this public dispute with Collins.
He said he agrees that “budget cuts have a lot to do with the slowing down of research” on Ebola and most everything else, but it’s possible that even with full funding, NIH might have encountered difficulty with the vaccine and couldn’t persuade a corporate partner to make it.
Apparently this slight disagreement about wording and claims of ‘potential’ research is big news in media and politics. The article claims, “Foes of medical research spending by the National Institutes of Health got a boost Sunday from an unlikely source: Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.” This is completely ridiculous. Anyone in science is familiar with this type of squabbling between scientists. Scientists, by nature, argue about everything in and outside of science. Wording, data, interpretation, writing, methods, restaurants, coffee… are all up for argument and debate. These disputes are a HUGE part of science. Debate and argument bring out ideas, require each party to support their assertions with evidence, things done in science. This tiny disagreement between two of NIH’s top scientists is nothing to even talk about, much less be used to justify future funding of biomedical science. And just like any good debate in science… no feelings seem to be hurt.
Collins, in a statement late Sunday, emphasized the common ground between the two: “We both agree that the loss of NIH purchasing power over the last ten years, especially with sequestration, has slowed down biomedical research in virtually all areas. We agree that NIH-funded Ebola research would be further along if that had not happened.
Despite that fact that Ebola is essentially a non-risk for Americans, Ebola is everywhere in the American news. In fact, a poll showed that 40% of Americans think they are at risk for getting Ebola. Not a day goes by without a news article or interview featuring CDC Director Tom Frieden or NIH NIAID Director Tony Fauci. Both of these men have communicated the facts about the Ebola outbreak, both in West Africa and in the United States, to the American people. AMAZINGLY, this is not actually either of their jobs’. This is the job of the US Surgeon General – which we currently don’t have due to Congress and the NRA. Over the last week, with flaws in the response to the Ebola patients in Dallas, Republicans and others in the media have criticized the CDC and Tom Frieden. They have even called for him to resign! First, Democrats blamed Republicans for the Ebola response due to funding cuts to the CDC, NIH, and hospitals. Now we have Republicans blaming the ebola response on poor leadership of Democratic appointees. The politicization of Ebola in America is ridiculous. The only impact Ebola will likely have in America is a lot of unnecessary fear created by the media and politicians – for their own gain.
Meanwhile, America and its politicians are still doing too little to fight the REAL Ebola outbreak in West Africa, where it is actually a problem impacting thousands of people. Not fighting the outbreak in West Africa is what is putting Americans at risk. With that, and to try to get more interaction at CauseScience, I present a poll on whether you think Tom Frieden should resign from the CDC>? I’m pretty sure you can guess where I stand…