As millions of Americans shun the new swine flu vaccine out of fear of potential safety issues, the Institute of Medicine is suggesting that the U.S. needs to create a permanent group devoted to getting out a coherent message to the public about the safety of vaccines. And the prestigious Institute also called for a national vaccine research strategy.
"Because vaccines and immunization constitute a major public health matter that involves multiple government agencies and has great importance to the public's health, an effective coordinating entity is needed," the committee said.
The committee zeroed in on signs around the country that many parents are refusing to get their children vaccinated due to an unfounded fear of autism. That kind of parental resistance is raising the risk of new outbreaks of measles and whooping cough. And the group added that a universal flu vaccine that would guard against all strains of influenza would be a boon to the country.
"Currently, vaccine development is left to the interests of individual researchers, rather than a central committee, and improved coordination is essential," the report notes. "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs more resources to develop a research agenda."