ACIP Oct-2019 / Votes & VFC Votes

Live blogging/taking notes while the meeting is in progress – please understand any typos and that this is not a transcript! You are encouraged to attend meetings and/or view the proceedings once they are posted on the CDC’s ACIP webpage. My opinions are in this color. 

Pertussis vaccines /Dr. Fiona Havers (CDC/NCIRD): All ACIP members declared they had no conflicts of interest and voted “yes” on the motions regarding changing language around DTaP. I’ve observed several ACIP meetings now and have yet to hear or know of any ACIP committee member voting “no” on anything. 

Influenza Vaccines: Ms Lynette Brammer (CDC/NCIRD) presented lots of very detailed data regarding currently circulating flu strains. Given the lousy track record of the flu vaccine I think we should abandon the flu vaccine as a strategy for “prevention” and instead focus on how to strength our immune systems. 

Dr. Change / Sanofi-Pasteur: presented on their high-dose vaccine and progress on transitioning it to quadrivalent formula. No conflict of interest here, eh?! No committee members had any questions for him. 

Influenza Vaccines WG considerations: Dr Lisa Grohskopf discussed ongoing work of this committee, what they are currently working on (sorry, was so busy grabbing screenshots of her slides that I did not jot down notes while she was talking).

Ebola vaccine

Introduction / Dr. Sharon Frey (ACIP, WG Chair):

Ebola Virus disease /Dr. Mary Choi (CDC/NCEZID): Update on what is known about Zaire-strain of Ebola virus disease. Natural history, immunity following recovery (unknown). No FDA approved treatment – supportive care only. Ring vaccination strategy in current outbreak in DRC. Of note: there are groups of people in DRC who are not cooperating with vaccination. (Imagine that! And this even though this is an incredibly dangerous and deadly disease). She did not elaborate as to why people were refusing the vaccine. Resistance is not homogenous – there are some who do want to be vaccinated. There are no licensed vaccines – both available vaccines are being used under “compassionate use”.

Safety and immunogenicity of rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP /Dr. Beth-Ann Griswold Coller (Merck): Update on development of Merck’s Ebola vaccines. It is a live virus vaccine, it replicates – but secondary transmission via shedding has not been studied (how convenient). Vaccine requires a cold chain. 

Work group interpretation and next steps /Dr. Mary Choi (CDC/NCEZID):

Vaccine Safety

Vaccine safety monitoring systems and methods /Dr. Frank DeStefano (CDC/NCEZID): He reviewed various means of assessing vaccine safety. The fact that it is national in scope does not mean it can rapidly detect serious problems – he acknowledges it needs to be followed up with more robust ways of detecting problems but does not recognize the need for DB RCTs. 

He then reviewed HPV as a case study in these vaccine safety monitoring systems. Curious that this was the vaccine chosen for a case study since it is one of the more controversial vaccines. 

He then reviews investigation of a serious adverse event following HPV vac – death. It is truly astonishing to me that such a large number of “scientists” are blind to the lack of DB RCTs that would help shed light on safety issues. They pile on this and that study with all manner of statistics to justify their conclusions but willfully refuse to do the very kinds of studies that would provide answers. They fool themselves, but there is a large and growing body of people who are no longer bamboozled by the Jedi-mind trick they think they are playing.