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Mandatory childhood vaccination could cause “irreparable damage,” says expert panel

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5995 (Published 11 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5995

Rapid Response:

Measles, the Trojan horse to compliance with an unending list of products

Allan Cunningham, as usual, raises some formidable points [1]. What is apparently at stake is defence against measles but what is really at stake when we talk about mandates or compulsion is total public compliance with as many products as a government bureaucracy cares to nominate. As I mentioned in an earlier response to him the cost of vaccinating a single child according to the schedule has risen by probably more than 100 times since the beginning of the millennium [2]. Already, when there are only multivac products available for many diseases, there is a major diminution of public choice, but if the public have to have everything potentially an industry produces (as is increasingly the case already in the United States and is perhaps proposed by the European Commission [3]) then we have entered the realms of extreme tyranny and thoughtlessness. The very fact that public debate about it is being widely stamped on is itself a matter for deep concern and mistrust. In the United Kingdom we have a pitiful record of recognising vaccine harm (nowhere in the world is it excellent) and opprobrium is perpetually heaped on anyone who mentions it.

While the prevention of disease may in itself be a good thing, it cannot be a pretext for removing the most basic human rights, or ignoring human dignity. We seem to have forgotten everything we ever learned in the 74 years since the Second World War [4]. I see no evidence as I look around that the governments of the world have really become so benign and wise that we can just defer to them in this way. Matt Hancock and Simon Stevens, if they are going to talk about compulsion, need to be much clearer about their intentions.

[1] Allan S Cunningham, 'Too much safety: vaccine mandates, hesitancy, and AFM' 14 October 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l5995/rr-1

[2] John Stone, 'Re: The Boiling Frog Principle: patient safety and vaccines', 20 September 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5576/rr-4

[3] European Commission, 'ROADMAP FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ACTIONS BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION BASED ON THE COMMISSION COMMUNICATION AND THE COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION ON STRENGTHENING COOPERATION AGAINST VACCINE PREVENTABLE DISEASES', https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/vaccination/docs/2019-202...

[4] Wendy E Stephen, 'Re: Mandatory childhood vaccination could cause “irreparable damage,” says expert panel', 14 October 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l5995/rr-0

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 October 2019
John Stone
UK Editor
AgeofAutism.com
London N22