Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News

Measles: low uptake blamed on “incredulity and hostility” towards doctors

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1932 (Published 26 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1932

Linked opinion

Rebuilding trust in immunisation is key to tackling vaccine hesitancy

Rapid Response:

What is the definition of a ‘vaccine expert’? Who qualifies for this title, on what basis?

Dr Jonathan Kennedy agrees with John Stone “that we should have a ‘tolerant discussion of evidence’ about the effectiveness, safety and importance of vaccines”. But then undermines this offer with his sweeping statement “the jury is in and the evidence overwhelmingly supports the position that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks”.[1]

Dr Kennedy speaks generally of ‘vaccines’. Can we have some clarification here? Is Dr Kennedy a ‘vaccine expert’? What expertise does he have in the broad range of vaccine products and revaccinations on international vaccination schedules, see for example:

NHS vaccination schedule:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/

Australian National Immunisation Program Schedule:
https://beta.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throu...

As Dr Kennedy said recently in the MailOnline “People are increasingly hostile and suspicious towards experts. When we get to vaccines, we’re suspicious around experts in this field - doctors advocating vaccines, big pharma companies and public health bodies”.[2]

Indeed. So what exactly is the definition of a ‘vaccine expert’? Who qualifies for this title, on what basis?

And is it unreasonable to expect such ‘experts’ to be accountable to citizens such as myself and John Stone and others who are raising concerns about conflicts of interest in vaccination policy, and the startling amount of vaccine products and revaccinations now being pressed upon the international community, with who knows how many more in the vaccine industry’s pipeline?

References:
1. Jonathan Kennedy. Re: Measles: low uptake blamed on “incredulity and hostility” towards doctors:
https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1932/rr-8
2. ‘Anti-vaxxers have an utter contempt for science’: Expert puts those who oppose life-saving jabs in the same bracket as flat-Earthers and climate change deniers. MailOnline, 3 May 2019:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6960189/Anti-vaxxers-utter-co...

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 May 2019
Elizabeth M Hart
Independent citizen investigating conflicts of interest in vaccination policy and the over-use of vaccine products
Adelaide, Australia