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    Trevor Kerr

    Perhaps the Doherty report will try to examine the instructions given to parents of vaccinated children, because there is no hint of it in the Stokes report. Yet, parental behaviour post-vaccination is the key element in effective surveillance. The essential tool in surveillance is the thermometer and, like any tool, standards would apply to measurement.
    So, the parents would have been, and still are, and always have been, told to ‘keep an eye’ on the kiddies and bring them back if there is a problem. Untold thousands of parents would dismiss mild fevers as trivial, some would try taking temperatures, but many would not have a blind clue. Who knows? Based on the known levels of health literacy, it’s predictable that a program of surveillance is crippled from the start. Since surveillance is nobbled by known facts and ignorance, and the Stokes report does not seem to address the complicating factors, interested outsiders like me are entitled to ask what the hell is going on? Who benefits from instituting a “program” of surveillance that’s guaranteed, by its lack of design, to not bring to notice the majority of side effects?
    This subject has been aired in a letter to the national newspaper on Mar 11 2009, and worth repeating here.
    The National Health and Medical Research Council is the arbiter of concerns about our medical research.
    Its administration was the subject of a bill before the Australian parliament in 2006. During the second reading debate, Julia Gillard noted: “Our third concern is in the area of disclosure of interests. We note that the minister is not required to be advised if a member of the council has disclosed an interest.
    “We consider it the responsibility of the minister to know if a member or members disclose an interest.
    “We regard this as a basic accountability issue.”
    The NHMRC does not have provision for public disclosure of the financial interests of its members and officers.
    In view of promises of break-through therapies, the rising costs of health care and the contentious nature of stem-cell research, it is high time the Government compelled the NHMRC to operate with the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

    Perhaps someone can comment on whether the NHMRC is “looking at” procedures to improve accountability.

  2. 2

    Doctor Whom

    aah – so we can expect an enlightened policy debate arising from either pressure from Big Pharma or “activism” from the no vacs homeopathy hippies from Northern NSW and Queensland. I’m tired.

  3. 3
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Hope you got some sleep DW…And I hope that Croakey wasn’t keeping you up too late


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