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NVIC Public Engagement Alert

Posted: 5/27/2010 12:07:20 AM | with 5 comments

NVIC is alerting its Vaccine E-news subscribers and organizations of an important meeting of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) on June 2-3, 2010 and the need for public comment. The NVAC's Vaccine Safety Working Group (VSWG) is currently charged with reviewing the current federal vaccine safety system and developing a White Paper describing different options for what can be done to improve the system.

The White Paper will describe criteria for an ideal system, such as characterization of the safety profile of vaccines in a timely manner, reducing adverse events whenever possible, and maintaining and improving public confidence in vaccine safety. Different options for improving effectiveness, accountability and transparency will be discussed, including whether changes in the infrastructure and governance are needed.

The White Paper will be sent to the Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for action.

NVIC is on record supporting an independent vaccine safety oversight agency housed within the federal government that reports directly to the President with responsibility for vaccine safety research, vaccine risk evaluation and vaccine safety monitoring systems, such as VAERS. The independent agency should be free from conflicts of interest, including responsibility for making recommendations for or promoting vaccine use or evaluating legal claims related to vaccine-associated injuries. The new agency would value science-based policymaking, personalized medicine, informed consent, transparency in government and responsive public engagement.

Two members of NVIC's team serve on the VSWG. Tawny Buck, NVIC's Director of Government Relations, is a voting member of NVAC and co-chair of the VSWG. Dr. Vicky Debold, NVIC's Director of Research & Patient Safety, is a VSWG member. Ms. Buck is the only consumer representative on the NVAC.  Though written comment deadlines specific to this meeting passed yesterday, this work continues beyond the June meeting and the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) has advised NVIC that public comments submitted after the deadline will be forwarded to the committee. 

Public comment is urgently needed to reinforce the consumer voices on the Committee. It is important that NVAC receive many public comments during this critical June 2-3 to evaluate whether or not there should be independent oversight of vaccine safety activities. 

The June 2-3 meeting will be held in Washington, DC. at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building - Room 800, 200 Independence Ave S.W. from 9-5 PM EST and 9-3 PM EST. Meetings of the NVAC are open to the public and pre-registration is required to physically attend and/or comment and the agenda has been posted. 

If you want to provide written comments, please send them to nvpo@hhs.gov. The meeting will also be broadcast via webinar if you cannot attend the meeting in DC. You must register for each day's webinar separately. Click on each day to register for the webinar - Register for June 2 Webinar, Register for June 3 Webinar. The NVPO has also notified NVIC that teleconference lines provided for this meeting will be opened for public comment during public comment sessions identified in the agenda.  No prior written comment need be submitted for oral comments made by teleconference.

NVIC has been representing consumers on vaccine advisory committees since 1988 and in public engagement initiatives since 2002. It is vitally important that government hear from the public on important issues like improving the vaccine safety infrastructure. We encourage you to participate by making your voice heard and will update our readers on other public engagement opportunities regarding this process as more information becomes available from NVPO.  

Posted: 5/27/2010 12:07:20 AM | with 5 comments


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