28 March – 03 April 2019

Vaccines in the news

Beate Kampmann appears on the Victoria Derbyshire show giving advice and information about vaccinations to parents considering whether they should be vaccinating their child. Beate said: “The main allergy concern is some vaccines, such as MMR, contain traces of egg. You know if you have a demonstrated an egg allergy.” (online link not available)

Beate comments were then covered by BBC News, for a piece about debunking vaccination myths

Heidi Larson is interviewed by BBC World at One after Rockland County, New York City declared a state of emergency following severe outbreaks of measles. The County has also barred unvaccinated children from public spaces. Heidi said: “It’s more of a vaccine hesitancy issue than lack of access or education – it’s a determined decision.” (online link not available).

Heidi speaks to The Telegraph for a piece exploring factors which might be contributing to why parents choose not to vaccinate their children. Heidi said: “These emotions and views don’t start with social media companies but are amplified by them. As a society we need to think seriously about what we can do because something has broken in a big way.” Heidi’s comments were also picked up in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Heidi provides expert comment in The Times (£) after an investigation found that searching ‘vaccines’ on the book section of Amazon displays results suggesting that vaccines such as MMR may be harmful. Heidi said:  “A quick search for ‘vaccines’ on Amazon delivers a list that would make even a vaccine-friendly mother nervous. Amazon’s algorithms are seeding panic for profit rather than giving honest options for the public’s health.”

Finally, Heidi also comments in Science Magazine about a case in Japan where the courts ruled that a medical journalist, who championed the HPV vaccine, defamed a neurologist who claimed to find a link between the vaccine and brain damage in mice. Heidi said:  “I think what is important is that media coverage does not distort the point and imply Dr. Ikeda’s science won: It was Dr. Muranaka’s manners and language that lost.”

Additional LSHTM media coverage

A new LSHTM-led study finds that improved housing in sub-Saharan Arica has doubled between 2000 and 2015, but nearly 50% of the population still live in slum conditions. Lead author Lucy Tusting said: “Adequate housing is a human right. The housing need is particularly urgent in Africa where the population is predicted to more than double by 2050. Remarkable development is occurring across the continent but until now this trend this had not been measured on a large scale.”

The research was covered by The Guardian and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Peter Piot speaks to the Financial Times (£) about dealing with the current outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Peter said: “The strategy needs to be adjusted. Health workers have been immunising people with an experimental vaccine produced by Merck that has almost certainly slowed the disease’s spread. A different Johnson & Johnson-produced vaccine, of which there are a million doses, should be aggressively employed to form a curtain of immunised people.”

LSHTM’s Ruth Ponsford, Claire Thompson and Sara Paparini write a piece for BMJ Opinion about why a renewed focus on primary prevention is needed to tackle youth knife violence in the longer term.

Claire Thompson also co-authors an article for The Conversation discussing research which mapped food poverty across England, to see where food banks are needed the most.

Martin McKee provides comment to BBC News Wales about shops selling e-cigarettes to underage teenagers. Martin said: “There is a real risk of a nicotine-addicted generation. What this demonstrates very clearly is that the rules are simply not being applied.”

James Logan is one of a group of entomologists and ecologists that author a letter in The Guardian calling on the UK’s research establishment to investigate threats to the stability of nature.  

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter account and shares new School-led research looking at the sexual health and satisfaction of older people. The study found that communication and a happy relationship, as well a health, are important for sexual satisfaction in later life.

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