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Research

Effectiveness of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine for the prevention of cervical abnormalities: case-control study nested within a population based screening programme in Australia

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1458 (Published 04 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1458

Re: Effectiveness of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine for the prevention of cervical abnormalities: case-control study nested within a population based screening programme in Australia

The BMJ has published a rapid response from “Dr Veira Scheibner PhD”, in which she quotes the opinion of an infectologist in 1909, an article in a Fiji newspaper and an article in the anti-medicine website Natural News as support for her anti-vaccine views.

There is no need for us here to go into detailed rebuttal of her response. Readers should be aware that although Scheibner titles herself “PhD”, she does not have such a qualification. Her own website sets out her qualifications: http://www.vierascheibner.com/.

Scheibner's website states that in 1964 she was awarded a doctorate in Natural Sciences (RNDr) at JA Comenius University in Bratislava. Such a qualification may have entitled her in that country to use the title “Dr” but it is not a PhD, or an equivalent qualification. It is misleading for her to use that title in Australia, where she now lives. In the Slovac Republic RNDr is the second-level university qualification. The PhD is a level above that:
http://www.foreignconsultants.com/slovakrepublic-educ.php

Scheibner, a retired micopaleontologist, does not declare any competing interest. Her website reveals that she has travelled extensively giving lectures on the supposed dangers of vaccination. It states that she has also “provided a great number of expert witness reports for court cases relating to deaths and injuries caused by vaccines, such as so-called “shaken baby syndrome” She does not state whether her evidence has been accepted by a court and if so in which cases.

We believe that the BMJ does a disservice to its readers in publishing the views of Scheibner, who has no qualifications in medicine or immunology, purports to have an academic qualification she does not hold, and fails to declare her competing interests.

Competing interests: Both authors are members of the Australian organisation: Friends of Science in Medicine, and are active in opposing the anti-vaccination movement in Australia.

22 August 2014
John W Bundock
Retired Solicitor
John Cunningham BSc(Hons) MBBS MClinEpi FRACS FAOrthA, Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon, VMO Royal Melbourne Hospital.
None
10 Shackell Place, Wanniassa, ACT Australia 2903