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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Vaccine Controversy Continues

Scientific American reports:
When science revises its stance, the field itself follows established protocol to adapt, but public opinion can be slow to catch up. Rather than wiping the slate clean, last month's retraction of a key paper proposing a link between childhood vaccines and autism seem only to have widened the societal divide on the issue. And the rising rate of retractions—roughly ninefold between 1990 and 2008—suggest that there could be more cases in which public opinion carries on long after science has reversed course.
The Miami Herald reports:

Sen. Jeremy Ring, a member of a governor's task force on autism spectrum disorders, and Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, are sponsoring legislation that would require parents to give signed consent before their children get vaccines that are needed to enter school.

``It's about having a face-to-face discussion,'' said Ring, a Broward County Republican.

But opponents say signed consent -- generally reserved for surgery and other major treatments -- will only create needless anxiety. Under federal law, parents must be given written information about vaccines.

Medical groups, led by the Florida Pediatric Society, voiced their opposition. Ambler's bill received a frosty reception when it was heard in a House committee meeting on Feb. 16, and some -- including Ring -- say the measure faces an uphill climb.