Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head

Is the timing of recommended childhood vaccines evidence based?

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 23 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i867

Rapid Response:

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

Can I ask the authors of this article what is the core science for supporting the indefinite expansion of the vaccine schedule as safe, and with an industry with hundreds of new products which it wants added to the schedule? I only know of a speculative article by Offit et al (1) which was cited again only last year by a senior British health official, Prof Elizabeth Miller of Public Health England, but she only mentioned "strong scientific arguments about the immune overload hypothesis" (2) but no evidence that I can see. It seems to me an extraordinary supposition and not good enough if we are going to base global health policy on it.

I am also not clear that "immune overload" is the only thing at stake when an infant has to survive dozens and potentially hundreds of inflammatory products as if this was the human norm.

(1) Offit P et al "Addressing parents' concerns: do multiple vaccines overwhelm or weaken the infant's immune system?", Pediatrics. 2002 Jan;109(1):124-9.
(2) Miller E Pediatrics. "Controversies and challenges of vaccination: an interview with Elizabeth Miller", BMC Med. 2015; 13: 267.

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 April 2016
John Stone
UK Editor
Age of Autism
London N22