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posted: 7/7/2013 5:00 AM

Facts needed when writing about medicine

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The Daily Herald editors did their readers a disservice when they published personal opinion disguised as medical fact (see the editor's column on the June 30 Opinion page). In defending a controversial Page 1 vaccine article, the Herald news director stated that, "The practice of giving vaccinations in batches -- to make sure all the disease bases are covered -- can cause problems."

Where's the scientific data backing such a statement? Why do editors not insist that their newspeople reference fact-based medical literature? In its January 2013 Report Brief, the Institutes of Medicine of the National Academies states: "Upon reviewing stakeholder concerns and scientific literature regarding the entire childhood immunization schedule, the IOM committee finds no evidence that the schedule is unsafe."

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While it's not sensational Page 1 stuff, medical experts look to science, not unsubstantiated opinion, and conclude that childhood vaccines are vital and safe tools in the ongoing fight against deadly infectious diseases.

Helen Minciotti, M.D.


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