The vaccine debate: an update

Almost 4 weeks after my local newspaper published a version of this article on where I stand in the great vaccine debate, the letters are still pouring in to the Editor. While I’m glad my article has sparked this debate at a local level, I’m saddened to see so many people denying the value of vaccines.

The ability that the internet has given us to research diverse topics from the comfort of our own sofa is remarkable in so many ways, but it also means that an awful lot of parents are being led to believe that they are making informed choices about vaccines.

I agree that knowledge is power, of course I do. Arming yourself with the facts is absolutely essential when making any decision. But how can parents be sure that the ‘facts’ they’re busy googling are indeed based on solid scientific evidence? They can’t until they learn about the validity of clinical trial design and have a good understanding of statistics. Sadly, people will always be swayed by anecdotal accounts.

It would seem that there are some people that will never be convinced of the need to vaccinate. All I can say to them is, please read this article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/24/wish-my-daughter-vaccinated

Then read this one:

http://www.parentdish.co.uk/baby/how-other-parents-decision-not-to-vaccinate-mmr-gave-my-baby-measles/

And finally, this one:

http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/6/14/parents-fear-of-vaccinations-nearly-killed-their-son