Anti-vaxxer appointed to FDA vaccine advisory committee

Why would the FDA appoint a known anti-vaxxer to their committee?

FDA appoints anti-vaxxer to Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee | SkewedDistribution.

[T]he Food and Drug Administration has seen fit to appoint an anti-vaccine advocate, Dr. Stephanie Christner, as the Consumer Representative for the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC).

Dr. Christner may appear to have the qualifications (described further below) for membership on VRBPAC, as she is a D.O. However, there are other issues that may outweigh her ability to objectively review and evaluate the safety, effectiveness, and appropriate use of vaccinations. As covered by Orac in the past, Dr. Christner tragically lost her infant daughter in 2008. As also covered by Orac, Dr. Christner blames the death of her daughter on vaccines. I have a great deal of empathy for Dr. Christner, as losing a child is simply matchless in terms of devastation. However, I do have some concerns in that she appears to be unmovable in her view that her daughter died as a result of vaccinations, despite a dearth any supporting data for this belief.

Here is the announcement from the National Vaccine Information Center (a misinformation organization)

Stephanie Christner, DO, has been appointed to a four year term as the voting consumer representative on the Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). On Nov. 13, 2013, she will participate in her first meeting as a member of VRBPAC, a 12-member FDA committee that reviews and evaluates vaccine safety, effectiveness and appropriate use of vaccines and biological products intended for public use, including clinical trial and other data submitted by drug companies seeking licensure of new vaccines.

Is this a way to insure openness by the FDA? Will she have a say against the science? Does the FDA believe that allowing a representative of its major critic will be a positive step towards resolving issues with them? It COULD be but I’m not hopeful. The NVIC is too ideologically warped to come to a compromise over vaccinations. There foundation is wrong. Is this a good idea?

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  8 comments for “Anti-vaxxer appointed to FDA vaccine advisory committee

  1. November 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Something like this has been tried before in different circumstances:

    – The American Academy of Pediatrics recruited Barbara Loe Fischer in the 1980s to help create legislation regarding the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (including vaccine court). This turned out to be a good legislation, yet anti-vaccine cranks still attack it.

    – CDC invited Sallie Bernard (leader of SafeMinds) to help plan a study looking at the effects of thimerosal on neuropsychological outcomes. She withdrew from the study when it became clear that thimerosal did not cause any deficit in neuropsychological functioning. Instead, she started attacking that study.

    An attempt to resolve issues with anti-vaccine activists?

    Tried twice before, failed twice before.

  2. Chris Howard
    November 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    People bristle at the fact that science is NOT a democratic process. We’ve been indoctrinated, since birth, to view any other belief, philosophy, or cognitive process that isn’t democratic as inherently wrong.

    The FDA is a regulatory body, that has to play politics. It has to pander to the idea of “fairness” because it receives its funding from the government, that is run by politicians. Piss people off, and say goodbey to funding.

    If enough of said politicians, scientifically illiterate and ideologically driven, constituents make a fuss, and demand change all the good science in the world won’t matter.

    The problem with the electorate, after apathy, is not wether or not they’re informed. It is that they prefer to be ill informed. When you believe what you want, at the exclusion of what is actually true, disaster is only a matter of time.

    • November 17, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      Yes. Every decision will probably go the same way: 11-1.

  3. L.Long
    November 17, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    As a member of the anti-vaxxers is troubling on a number of fronts.
    Even if her child was killed by vaccines, she should know that if you are hurt by the vaccine then the disease will also kill you, that is one of the effects that is possible. But the odds are that more kids are killed by cars, yet there are no anti-car groups. (ya I know there may be at least one). Anyone with any science or history knowledge knows that vaccines are now the number 1 best defense, even with the possible occasional side effects. If anti-vaxxers are against vaccines then they should be funding better genetic research to find susceptible people.

  4. Barry
    November 18, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    Maybe they’re hoping she’ll learn something.

  5. Nick D Waters
    November 18, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    We are all screwed.

  6. November 18, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Send her on a field trip to India to round up stray dogs for a year. Have her medical kit include a homeopathic vaccine and a science-based rabies vaccine. Let’s see which one she utilizes.

    Mike

  7. November 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    A quiet FYI: “their” foundation (not “there”)

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