Jenner & Block

August 22, 2014 Firm Successfully Defends American Academy of Pediatrics in Case Focusing on Polio Vaccine

Don Harris successfully defended the American Academy of Pediatrics in a case that focused on the Academy’s recommended polio vaccine.  At issue were two types of vaccines:  the popular Salk vaccine, which was a “killed” vaccine, and  the Sabin vaccine, which was a “live” vaccine and therefore had a “herd” immunity effect.  Because of the Sabin vaccine’s “herd” effect, the Academy recommended its use over the Salk vaccine. But when a Michigan child contracted polio after using the Sabin vaccine, the family sued the Academy, charging that its recommendation resulted in the child getting polio. On this day in 1983, Don prevailed, despite the celebrity adverse expert testimony of Dr. Jonas Salk, the famed inventor of the vaccine that bears his name.  The case showed that the Academy – and not supporters or detractors of any particular vaccine – should guide public health policy.

CATEGORIES: 1975-1984, American Academy of Pediatrics, Polio, Vaccine, Video

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