Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


NHS chief attacks anti-vax “fake news” for falling uptake

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 04 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1000

Rapid Response:

Re: NHS chief attacks anti-vax “fake news” for falling uptake

Another ‘anti -vax “fake news” ‘ headline for a news item on the BMJ, heralding outspoken comments from the chief executive of NHS England, in turn helping post-Freudians to smile at another example of persons protesting about the faults of others, while doing no better themselves.

Stevens’ initial suggestion that “telling parents not to vaccinate their children was as bad as telling them not to watch when they crossed the road“ is unusual enough to prepare us for some other reported remarks from Stevens.

Do his medical advisors not keep abreast of the vaccine literature, or at least of the links and references provided recently in the one sided exchanges on this website, where no one has come forward to defend the increasing vaccine load on very young children, the misunderstood nature of herd immunity, nor the dysfunctional state of our vaccination consent system - epitomised by the Public Health England Green Book on Immunisation, which cites advice about consent and professional liability that is four years out of date? (1,2)

Working abroad, I was sometimes gently reminded that if a point of view is to be respected and acted upon, it must enjoy at least three supports, as a stool has three legs, or as a cooking pot rests on three stones.

Hence Stevens, and everyone below him on the NHS ladder, needs to be reminded that a stable, respected, vaccination policy must, at the vey least, rest on:

1 Attention to, and respect for, the law of the UK, regarding valid informed consent. Made plain in the Montgomery judgement in 2015, and in subsequent guidance from the defence bodies.
2 Awareness of the inadequacy of safety testing of vaccine constituents, of the serious if rare side effects identified in the Patient Information leaflets, and of the very different immune responses to natural and vaccine induced immunity.(3,4,5)
3 Respect for patients’ and parents’ opinions and uncertainties, which follow on from the above. Hesitancy is not a weakness, it is as likely a sign of discernment, needing more informed discussion.
Certainly not the type of irritated reaction, embodying a ‘Doctor Knows Best‘ approach, all too common in the past.

3 Mary Holland J.D et al., The HPV Vaccine on Trial. Skyhorse Publishing, 2018. Chapter 22. HPV Vaccines, Autoimmunity and Molecular Mimicry.
4 Shoenfeld, Y., et al., eds., Vaccines and Autoimmunity, WILEY Blackwell, 2015
5 Richard Moskowitz, MD., Vaccines, a reappraisal. Skyhorse Publishing, 2017.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 March 2019
Noel Thomas
retired/ part time GP
Bronygarn, Maesteg, Wales, CF34 9AL