Who is nurturing anti-vaccine conspiracists?
Doshi must be commended for his report, a beacon for investigative medical journalism, showing vaccine advocacy groups have serious financial and professional conflicts of interest.(1) He must not be shamed for nurturing anti-vaccine conspiracists because vaccine advocacy groups are those responsible for the state of affair.
First, vaccine advocacy groups should not have conflicts of interest and, even disclosing them cannot dissolve them.
Second, claims from vaccine advocates are out of control and some medical journals look like tabloids: one published an unbalanced pledge for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination on the behalf of the NCI of Milan claiming “good information is warranted in order to improve adherence to vaccination” but stated “vaccines against HPV represent the first vaccine against cancer” and presented the vaccine as a panacea despite it must be combined with screening, the cornerstone for prevention.(2) The editor was personally happy with this despite I stressed: a) Maupas published the results of the first vaccination against hepatitis B in humans in 1976 and two decades were necessary for cohort studies to show a halved risk of hepatocellular carcinoma after vaccination;(3,4) b) the NCI of Milan is not used to issue position statements and nothing about this one on its website; d) main author’s conflicts of interest (consulting/advisory role for several companies) were not mentioned.
In France, in 1994 hype for systematic vaccination of children against hepatitis B had devastating consequences: in 2006, the percentage of 1-year-old children immunized was 29 vs 86% in Germany and even in 2009 publications cried wolf.(5)
1 Doshi P. The unofficial vaccine educators: are CDC funded non-profits sufficiently independent? BMJ 2017;359:j5104.
2 Bogani G, Lorusso D, Raspagliesi F.Vaccine. Safety and effectiveness of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination: NCI of Milan position statement. Vaccine 2017;18;35:5227.
3 Maupas P, Goudeau A, Coursaget P, Drucker J, Bagros P. Immunisation against hepatitis B in man. Lancet 1976;1:1367-1370.
4 Chang MH, Chen CJ, Lai MS et al. Universal hepatitis B vaccination in Taiwan and the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma in children. Taiwan Childhood Hepatoma Study Group. N Engl J Med 1997;336:1855-9.
5 Braillon A, Dubois G. Hepatitis B vaccine and the risk of CNS inflammatory demyelination in childhood. Neurolog 2009;72:2053.
Competing interests: No competing interests