Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: Vaccination sceptics are immune to debate

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

Rapid Response:

Re: David Oliver: Vaccination sceptics are immune to debate


Elizabeth Hart is quite right to assert in the title of her response that I am not qualified to answer detailed questions about vaccination. As i was quite clear about this in my original response my admitting it again should be no surprise

I didn't use the term "mere layperson". I think anyone with relevant scientific training and some expertise in systematic literature review, epidemiology, phases of drug development, medical statistics and critical appraisal of research is capable of appraising studies.

However, i think it takes someone who is steeped in a particular field very conversant with the literature and the full range of literature is best able and qualified to comment. And bodies which have within them a whole range of such expertise are better qualified still.

My starting point in looking into any medical investigation or treatment not in my own field of expertise and practise would be to go for systematic reviews, expert guidelines, professional bodies and acknowledged content expertise .

That's a plan I'll stick with

As for other people who do consider themselves experts, and are recognised as such,, whether or not to reply to BMJ rapid responses is their perogative. But there may be more direct ways to ask them

David Oliver

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 May 2019
David Oliver
Consultant Physician
Sunny Side