Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head

Is the timing of recommended childhood vaccines evidence based?

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i867 (Published 23 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i867

Rapid Response:

Re: Is the timing of recommended childhood vaccines evidence based?

Dr. Anand refers to an article by Douglas Opel and 5 pediatric colleagues in Seattle. They go against official policies of the CDC, AAP and AMA by suggesting that non-medical exemptions in the U.S. should be permitted for all vaccines except measles. They assert that, except for measles, policies eliminating NMEs are scientifically and ethically problematic. They are strong vaccine advocates, but believe in balancing the competing values of individual liberty and the common good. Furthermore, they believe that a less restrictive policy on NMEs is more justifiable, sustainable, and enforceable and will be better for public health in the long run. (Pediatrics. 2016;137(4)e20154230. Seattle Times 3/17/16).

I suspect this view will strict a chord in many conscientious professionals who believe that vaccine officialdom has gone too far with vaccine mandates. (Cunningham, BMJ 2015;351:h4576). I believe we would have less difficulty balancing individual liberty and the common good and would have healthier populations if the authorities admitted that the safety and cost-effectiveness of many vaccines are not that certain.

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 March 2016
Allan S. Cunningham
Retired pediatrician
Cooperstown NY 13326 USA