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David Oliver: Vaccination sceptics are immune to debate

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 22 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2244

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Re: David Oliver: Vaccination sceptics are immune to debate


I thank Elizabeth Hart for her questions but my answer is that I don't "think anything" about them because despite being a medical qualified and research trained doctor I have no relevant content expertise and am not prone to wading into areas of data science I don't have the experience, content expertise, training or un-earned overconfidence to do.

I prefer to listen to those who have spent their lives in this field, who have a deep understanding of the research evidence and especially of systematic reviews of the research evidence. People on the anti-vaccine side tend selectively to curate sources which confirm their suspicions and it takes seasoned trained content experts to rebut them or point out the flaws.

If we are talking "accountability" I would like to know what accountability vehement opponents of vaccination have for scaremongering which contributes to declining uptake and hence to rising incidence of preventable diseases - not least in poor countries with poor access to medical care. Vaccination has saved millions over many years from preventable infectious disease and its complications including death.

My question to anti-vaccine campaigners is "What would you like to see as global public policy in this field instead?" "Are you pleased to see vaccination rates falling and relaxed about rates of infection rising?"

Criticism is one thing, bearing responsibility for solutions is another.

David Oliver

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 May 2019
David Oliver
Consultant Physician
Sunny Side