US government website for collecting adverse events after vaccination is inaccessible to most users

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2449 (Published 19 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2449

Re: US government website for collecting adverse events after vaccination is inaccessible to most users

I have always had great respect for Viera Scheibner's views and knowledge [1], but I would like to stress that I am coming at this matter from a different angle. I do not have any absolute views on vaccination, but I am a critic of the vaccine programme and the behaviour of the vaccine lobby, which has become absolutist and dictatorial. And one question I would ask  - as European countries move to mandate hosts of vaccine products for infants - is what we know about this class of product which absolves virtually all them from ordinary public scrutiny or doubt?

The events which are engulfing this continent, not to mention Australia, are simultaneous with a complaint made to the European ombudsman about the conduct of the European Medicines Agency over HPV vaccines [2,3], and while the HPV vaccines may not presently be on the infant list or mandated the complaint does raise questions about safety and knowledge of the role of aluminium adjuvants which are also commonly used in such infant vaccines as Infanrix Hexa [4], Prevenar [5] and Bexsero [6] and by implication it poses questions about how all vaccines are monitored, and the objectivity of the regulators. And yet we have a position of apparent doctrinal infallibility and over-reaching powers enforced by governments with apparent zero understanding of the issues.

When it comes to MMR the position is no more satisfactory. Successive Cochrane Reviews of MMR safety have stated [7,8,9]:

 "The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate."

A pertinent question here is what these studies  might have found if they had been "adequate" instead of "inadequate"? Why are their no better studies?

Beyond this there is the extreme intolerance by the lobby of anyone who  raises any issues at all which might affect the reputation of their products, and pre-empts all reasonable discussion and scrutiny. They adopt a precisely opposite strategy to one which in normal human relations would raise confidence and trust. Meanwhile, the pressure for the eradication of dissent comes from the lobby and not spontaneously from the public [10]. Frankly, disaster beckons if we go on like this.

[1] Viera Scheibner, 'Re: US government website for collecting adverse events after vaccination is inaccessible to most users' 13 July 2017, http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j2449/rr-14
[2] Stephane Foucart  http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2016/12/09/papillomavirus-les-auto...
[3] Gøtzsche P, Jørgensen K, Jefferson J, Auken M , Brinth L,  'Complaint to the European ombudsman over maladministration at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in relation to the safety of the HPV vaccines', http://nordic.cochrane.org/sites/nordic.cochrane.org/files/public/upload...
[4] http://ca.gsk.com/media/537989/infanrix-hexa.pdf
[5] https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/22689#COMPOSITION
[7] Jefferson T, Price D, Demicheli V, Bianco E, 'Unintended events following immunization with MMR: a systematic review' 2003 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12922131
[8] Demicheli V, Jefferson T, Rivetti A, Price D., 'Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children', 2005 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16235361
[9] Demicheli V, Rivetti A, Debalini MG, Di Pietrantonj C, ''Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children', 2012.
[10] John Stone, 'The Shadow War on Disease: Arbitrary, Oppressive and Unaccountable medicine' , 9 July 2017, http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j2449/rr-13

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 July 2017
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22 7AF