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Feature Essay

New power versus old: to beat antivaccination campaigners we need to learn from them—an essay by Kathryn Perera, Henry Timms, and Jeremy Heimans

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 21 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6447

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Kawasaki disease and vaccinations

Thank you to John Stone for reminding us of legitimate vaccine safety concerns, so often overlooked in campaigns to neutralize the "anti-vaxxers."......Stone referred to a report of an infant with Kawasaki disease. ( 21 Nov 2019) Rowan Buckley's illness apparently followed his first set of Immunizations, a potent combination of DTap, HepB, Hib, IPV, PCV13, Rotavirus, and Meningococcal B vaccines.

Kawasaki disease first appeared in the 1960s, and its frequency in developed nations marched upward right along with the expansion of the immunization schedule. It is a serious immune disorder that has been associated with several vaccines in clinical trials and case reports, including Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Yellow fever, Pneumococcal conjugate, Influenza, and Group B meningococcal vaccines. Kawasaki disease is uncommon; it is severe; its cause is unknown; finally, it occurs predominantly in young children who are being intensively vaccinated. In spite of these distinctive features, vaccinations are almost never mentioned in general discussions of Kawasaki disease, and fewer than one in 100 cases are reported to VAERS, the adverse event reporting system managed in the US by the CDC and the FDA.

There are at least two other "mystery diseases" whose associations with vaccinations have never been resolved, one way or the other, by unbiased and properly controlled trials: SIDS and acute flaccid myelitis/AFM.

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 November 2019
Allan S. Cunningham
Retired pediatrician
Cooperstown NY 13326, USA <>