Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature Medicine and the Media

Medical response to Trump requires truth seeking and respect for patients

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 07 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j661

Rapid Response:

Re: Medical response to Trump requires truth seeking and respect for patients

Discussing medical journalists, Peter Doshi argues “journalists must also ensure that patients come first, which means a fresh approach to covering vaccines. It’s time to listen – seriously and respectfully – to patients’ concerns, not demonize them”.

Certainly we must move beyond the crude ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ vaccine dichotomy that currently dominates in the science community and the mainstream media.

The antagonistic attitudes of many in the medical/scientific establishment are astonishing, with their dogmatic stance that seems to forbid questioning of any vaccine product, and denial of adverse experiences after vaccination.

Citizens in our liberal democracies are entitled to question medical interventions being instigated by governments, particularly when these interventions, i.e. vaccinations, are mandated, as is occurring in the United States and Australia.

Vaccination schedules are growing at an alarming rate, with novel vaccine products and revaccinations being added for diseases which do not pose a threat for the majority of the population, e.g. meningococcal and HPV. The processes that result in such vaccine products being added to the schedule must be open to scrutiny and challenge by the community.

Vaccination policy is a matter which impacts on all citizens and we are entitled to be consulted about the imposition of vaccine products. Instead, government vaccination bureaucracies conflicted by associations with the pharmaceutical industry are adding more and more vaccine products to the schedule, without objective and independent oversight.

So yes, it’s time for a fresh approach to covering vaccines, one that is open and transparent and which respects the right of informed citizens to question and challenge vaccination policy.

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 February 2017
Elizabeth M Hart
PO Box 1701, Burnside SA 5066, Australia