|Merck MMR Campaign|
Merck reneges on commitment to parents to resume manufacture of monovalent measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. Read about it HERE. Organized response to this announcement is under development. Get in touch with me if you are interested in helping.
Take Action Now!
On Christmas Eve 2008, Merck quietly released a bombshell. They would be discontinuing production and sales of its monovalent vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella and would focus instead on its combination vaccine, MMRII. Parents responded with concern and anger, including Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director, Children of God for Life, who shared her letter to Merck and the CDC and parent Allison Chapman who lamented "It's ALL or NOTHING! Say goodbye to choice!" in the web newspaper Age of Autism.
Merck Letter-Writing Campaign #1 (COMPLETED)
After personally receiving hundreds of anxious notes from parents frantically searching for the last remaining individual doses of measles, mumps and rubella, I announced our own massive letter-writing campaign. In an e-mail to my list entitled "Desperately Seeking M, M and R," I shared my first letter to Merck and made a personal appeal to each of you. I asked you to write to Merck and tell them how you felt about their decision. We posted details of the campaign with NJCVC, NVIC, Age of Autism, and A-CHAMP.
Write in you did! All told, thousands of people wrote to Merck. I know this because my in-box is stuffed to the gills with copies of your letters.
And the campaign was a success. Merck announced in May 2009 that it will be resuming production of the individual measles, mumps and rubella vaccines starting in 2011. Several sources, including Dr. Bob Sears, reported hearing directly from Merck, and then Merck finally documented their commitment on their website. You can follow their latest Vaccine Supply Status Updates by clicking HERE and then again on the PDF icon.
Two Years To Resume Monovalent MMR?
Two years to resume making monovalent measles, mumps and rubella vaccines? The implication of course is that there are complex manufacturing exigencies that need to be unwound. I wrote about it in a recent newsletter, how making MMR is like a bag of M&Ms. To make multi-colored packages of M&Ms, you need to start with the individual red, green, brown, and yellow candies and then you mix them together. To make combination MMR, you start with the individual measles, mumps and rubella vaccines and then... well, you mix them together. It is that straightforward. Making the combination shot requires an additional step. If Merck wants to simplify things, they can stop making combination MMR. (Read more about combination shots HERE.)
With Merck's announcement to reverse their decision and resume making the individual vaccines, we can only assume it's because they feared potential brand fallout, undue press attention on the matter and perhaps they also acknowledged that parents had a valid point or two. They received our letters and they responded. That's a good thing. We want to help them see that they are taking a good thing and turning it into another disappointment. There's no legitimate reason why it should take them two years. It seems they need more letters.
So here's round two of our letter-writing campaign and my second letter to Merck in PDF and Microsoft Word formats. Feel free to modify it or you can cut and paste it and send it directly to Merck. By now, you know the drill. Add your full name, address and the date. Don’t forget to sign it, too! If you prefer to e-mail it, consider scanning the letter so they can see your signature. If you have time, please complete steps #1 through #4:
Let's hold Merck accountable to respond to the people who really matter. Us!