Immunol. Contraception: Societal Issues

Wed Nov 24 21:14:00 EST 1993

     I think that there are two issues: (1)  Should a contraceptive
vaccine be made at all? and (2) Are the vaccines currently in clinical
trials safe?  You might begin by asking the people who are protesting the
clinical trials whether they would be in favor of a vaccine if they could
be satisfied that it is safe.  Some feminists have said that birth control
is a technique for "blaming" women for population problems.
     If safety is the only issue here, you might point out that vaccines
do not go into clinical trials until they have shown safety and efficacy 
in animal tests.  And of course safety testing is the first phase of 
clinical trials.
      You might also point out that decisions to develop vaccines are usually not made by scientists alone but by public agencies spending tax money and
which are accountable to the taxpayer.  If vaccines are developed by private
firms, the licensing process is still by a public agency.  
                                         Jack Komisar
                                         dexper at

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