Emory Cancer Institute Chairs urges more support for vaccines

Speaking at the annual JED conference in Washington, Dr. Stelios Iliopoulos, MD, Chair of Immunotherapeutics at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute and the Chair of the National Cancer Institute of Georgia’s Department of Biochemistry and…

Emory Cancer Institute Chairs urges more support for vaccines

Speaking at the annual JED conference in Washington, Dr. Stelios Iliopoulos, MD, Chair of Immunotherapeutics at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute and the Chair of the National Cancer Institute of Georgia’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, told CNN in a wide-ranging interview that the medical community needs to be “more supportive” of vaccines.

“We would like to see some language in medical articles that would not generalize about how the vaccine is done,” said Iliopoulos. “And we might modify it. We might change it a little bit.”

His comments appear to back up a major shift in FDA policy on vaccine safety after The New York Times reported last month that the FDA would not investigate serious complications in patients who’d received a vaccinated vaccine against smallpox. The FDA later clarified that “the investigation of vaccine-related complications will continue.”

In the meantime, Dr. Bart A. Green, MD, Director of the Vaccine Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement that the science-based approach should inform the requirements for licensure and not the other way around.

“Personal beliefs about vaccination are not only valid concerns, they also interfere with science-based recommendations on the safety of the vaccine,” Green said. “While we can afford to take a more cautious approach to regulating vaccines based on personal beliefs, it is important to remember that science-based recommendations do not depend on that approach.”

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