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Immune Response Better With Skin Scratch Vaccination

Rating

1 Star

Immune Response Better With Skin Scratch Vaccination

Our Review Summary

This is no way to cover science.  The story buried the fact that the research was in animals not in humans (not mentioned until 300 words deep in a 350 word article).  The story described "much greater effectiveness" with scarification vs. injection but gave no data.  Not a word about possible pitfalls in leap from mice to humans. 

 

Why This Matters

Another news source – WBUR radio – reported that this method of vaccination might have advantages in remote areas where medical resources are scarce. 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

There was no discussion of costs, but that seems like a minor issue in this context, so we’ll grade this Not Applicable.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

The story gave no data on scarification vaccination effectiveness in the animals studied.  The story described "much greater effectiveness" but didn’t explain nor quantify. 

It did say that "scarification requires 100 times less vaccine to prompt an immune response" but did not project whether that result in mice might translate to humans. 

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of potential harms of this approach to vaccination.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

It wasn’t until 300 words deep into a 350 word story that any disclosure was made that this research was in animals – not in people.  And then, no caveats were provided about possible limitations in translating this to humans.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

There really wasn’t any meaningful discussion of the diseases for which the vaccines might be given, so we rule this criterion Not Applicable.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

There were no independent sources – only quotes from a lead investigator in a news release.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

There was no meaningful, data-driven comparison of scarification delivery of vaccine versus injection.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

It was not at all clear from the story whether anyone still uses the skin scratch – or scarification – method of vaccine delivery.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story did say that "Scarification was first used nearly two centuries ago to give the first smallpox vaccinations."

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Satisfactory

The story admits it was based on a news release.  There was no sign of any independent reporting.  So it gets an "A" for honesty but an "Unsatisfactory" for this criterion.

Total Score: 1 of 8 Satisfactory

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