Contacting Local Media
Investigative Journalism Educates the Public
Your local newspaper, radio or TV station reports on news that they believe is important to those who read, listen to or watch their news reporting. Editors and reporters are interested in hearing from people in their community about issues which are of concern to them. You never know when you communicate with your local news media if you will generate a news story that will help educate your community about vaccination.
There are three traditional ways of making your concerns known to your local newspaper: you can (1) write a letter to the news outlet and requesting the news staff to conduct an investigation and report about a particular subject; (2) write a Letter to the Editor to be published in the newspaper about an article that has already appeared or about a particular subject you are interested in (usually no more than 250 words); or (3) write an “Op Ed” article expressing your opinion about a subject (usually no more than 700 words).
Usually, when you contact a radio or television station, you are writing to ask for the news staff to conduct an investigation and report about a particular subject. NVIC’s three decades of experience representing the vaccine safety and informed consent concerns of consumers on vaccine advisory committees and public engagement initiatives has informed government, helped to shape health policy, and raised public awareness about legitimate vaccine risk issues. Please refer to NVIC in your correspondence as a valuable and trusted resource for legislators, media and health care professionals to turn to for more information.
SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR LOCAL MEDIA
Below is a sample letter containing facts about vaccine contamination if you want to write to your local media to let them know you are interested in them investigating and reporting on this important public health issue.
You can find links, mailing addresses and email addresses of local media by going to Newslink.org. Address your inquiry to the Editor of the newspaper or the News Director of the local radio or TV station. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number in case they want to talk with you.
Media Outlet (Newspaper, TV, Radio)
I live in XXXXXXX and am writing today to request that you investigate and report on the need for better testing and labeling requirements for drug companies marketing vaccines in our state.
As you may already know, in March 2010 an independent lab funded by NIH found that the two diarrhea (rotavirus) vaccines given to babies in the United States (GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix and Merck’s RotaTeq) are contaminated with DNA from pig viruses that current FDA testing standards failed to detect. The FDA held a public meeting about this on May 7. (For more information, go to www.NVIC.org)
Merck’s live virus RotaTeq vaccine contains DNA from a lethal pig virus (PCV2) that makes baby pigs very sick with a wasting disease and many die. Yet, Merck has not voluntarily recalled RotaTeq from the market until they have cleaned up the vaccine.
Public health officials at the CDC have not been completely honest with doctors and parents about the contaminated rotavirus vaccines. The CDC’s new Rotavirus Vaccine Information Statement (VIS), which was mandated to be given to parents under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, contains no information about RotaTeq vaccine containing DNA from a lethal pig virus. Parents are only told that both rotavirus vaccines contain “a virus (or parts of the virus) called porcine circovirus” and that “there is no known safety risk.”
I have children and am very concerned about the potential serious health problems that could be caused now or in the future from giving babies vaccines contaminated with animal or other viral DNA, especially parts of a lethal animal virus.
The FDA’s current vaccine testing regulations are inadequate. The FDA only recommends and does not legally require vaccine manufacturers to test their vaccines for contamination. The FDA should immediately institute legal requirements for testing and raise standards for labeling. The FDA should also adhere to the precautionary principle and recommend that Merck voluntarily recall RotaTeq vaccine until it is free from contamination with DNA from a virus that injures and kills pigs.
Every vaccine should be thoroughly tested for purity and accurately labeled so we are fully informed about vaccine contents and are able to make educated vaccine choices. I hope you will investigate this issue and do a story about the need for drug companies and the FDA to properly test and label vaccines before releasing them for public use.
Thank you for your help.
123 Main Street
Hometown, XX 12345
Your email address
Your phone number