New Canaan, CT -- The publication of A Crack in the Shield: Our Unvaccinated Children, marks the first major initiative of the year-old Albert B. Sabin Foundation. The colloquium on which the book is based brought together scientists, venture capital investors, biotechnology executives, federal agency decision makers, and executives of vaccine development firms, who voiced their concerns and offered possible solutions to what all agree is a "broken" U.S. vaccine delivery system.
The new book puts into a coherent context the necessarily complex interactions between the numerous sectors required to design and bring to market today's vaccines, and the many hundreds of others presently in various stages of development. In addition, the book takes a hard look at the on-going public policy debate between the federal government and the health care industry.
Even though they work towards a common goal, most Colloquium participants had only a vague idea of the formidable realities -- financial, scientific and political - faced by others at the meeting. Molding these disparate sectors into an understandable picture of the world of vaccinology has served as the book's fulcrum. The Introduction puts this succinctly:
"A screaming two-year-old and his anxious parents aren't thinking about the scientific miracle that has just been conferred, albeit with a needle stick. Meanwhile, the scientist teasing apart strands of genetic material is equally disengaged from the child's howls. But the two are inextricably linked by contemporary medicine's fast-moving knowledge and the coming innovations whose rapid development is making it necessary to improve the way we conduct the business of vaccination. "
Exploring the roles of the numerous players required to make the trip from scientist to child, A Crack in the Shield highlights areas where improvement is necessary and identifies possible roles for the Foundation. Named for the pioneer developer of the polio vaccine, the Albert B. Sabin Foundation is a non-profit entity created by H. R. Shepherd of New Canaan, CT. Philip K. Russell, M.D., of Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health serves as the president. Ann Guidici Fettner, nationally known medical writer, authored A Crack in the Shield: Our Unvaccinated Children.
The 80 page paperback book and the Foundation's quarterly newsletter are available with membership in the Sabin Society, a tax-deductible educational organization. To receive both, please send your check for $25 to: Membership, The Sabin Society, PO Box 848, New Canaan, CT 06840.