Weldon, Maloney Introduce Vaccine Safety Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – At a press conference Wednesday morning, U.S. Reps. Dave Weldon, M.D. (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced a bill that would give responsibility for the nation’s vaccine safety to an independent agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, removing most vaccine safety research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Currently, the CDC has responsibility for both vaccine safety and promotion, which is an inherent conflict of interest increasingly garnering public criticism.
“There’s an enormous inherent conflict of interest within the CDC and if we fail to move vaccine safety to a separate independent office, safety issues will remain a low priority and public confidence in vaccines will continue to erode,” said Weldon, noting that across the federal government similar conflicts of interests have been remedied, but with regard to mandatory childhood vaccines the conflict continues to persist unchecked. “This bill will provide the independence necessary to ensure that vaccine safety research is robust, unbiased, and broadly accepted by the public at large.”
"Vaccines do wonders for public health, but when the government requires them, it must also ensure that they're safe,” said Maloney. “We need adequate, unbiased research on vaccines, and this legislation would deliver that. I applaud Dr. Weldon for his tremendous commitment to and leadership on this issue. He is truly dedicated to protecting our children and the public at large."
Specifically, the Vaccine Safety and Public Confidence Assurance Act of 2006 would create and equip an independent office to address, investigate, and head off potential vaccine safety problems – like the use of mercury in vaccines – in an objective and non-conflicted office whose sole purpose is vaccine safety and evaluation. Additionally, it provides $80 million in funding to conduct vaccine safety research and analysis.
Weldon and Maloney were joined by several groups advocating vaccine safety reform, including the National Autism Association, A-Champs, and safeMINDS. According to the National Autism Association, “This landmark legislation will provide critical government agency oversight and implementation of vaccine safety research, which has not kept pace with the rise in the number of vaccines routinely prescribed to consumers including pregnant women and young children.”
Weldon’s proposed legislation comes as the Senate considers legislation that reforms the way the federal government conducts drug safety at the FDA but explicitly omits vaccines from further safety reviews.