Three times a year a specialized group of medical and public health experts meet in Atlanta to review scientific data related to vaccine safety and effectiveness. Although most people are probably unaware that these meetings occur, this is not some clandestine group. Far from it actually. Meeting dates and proposed agendas are available in advance, all meetings are open to the public and available via webcast, public comments are accepted, and past meeting notes and slide presentations are accessible online.
What amazes me is that the 15 voting members, 8 ex officio members and 30 non-voting representatives of this group participate voluntarily. In addition to the three meetings per year, members serve in various work groups that are active all year long. Work groups review the latest studies on specific vaccines, as well as the safety and efficacy of those vaccines, in order to provide recommendations to the larger committee.
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