Katie Couric defends “antivaccine” program, but acknowledges errors

Katie Couric recently did a program that was widely viewed as being unfairly critical of the HPV (human pappiloma virus) vaccine. Now she’s apologizing.She writes in the Huffington Post “The Blog” that “some of that criticism was valid” in response to a backlash following a segment on her show detailing “serious adverse events that have been reported in very rare cases following the vaccine,” and concedes to critics that “More emphasis should have been given to the safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccines.”

She acknowledges HPV as an increasing problem and states “There’s no question that vaccination is highly effective,” citing clinical trials demonstrating Gardasil’s ability to reduce the chance for women to develop the cervical, vaginal, and vulvar abnormalities that precede cancer.

However, she also defends her position with the argument that there is also “no question reactions can occur,” acknowledging a small number of fatality reports linked to the vaccine.

The Los Angeles Times responds by praising Couric’s confession and acknowledging the validity of the critiques she faces, but also claims she failed to “go far enough.” The paper asserts that the story’s failings “were much more serious than she acknowledges,” in that she provided “a huge boost” to the anti-vaccine movement and “giving an aura of truth” by putting grieving mothers on the air who claim their children died after receiving the vaccine.

USA TodayCBS News, and Time also report on this story.