The Vaccine Wars

Given the flurry of media activity, I’m sure you’re all well aware that vaccination a hot topic at the moment.

It started with a booklet (pdf) released by the Australian Academy of Science addressing some of the myths surrounding vaccination.

It’s not my intention to engage in a debate about the effectiveness of vaccination;  I’m an infectious diseases physician and work in public health.  Clearly I believe in vaccination, and my standard procedure is not to engage the vaccine denialists – it provides them with a forum and no amount of what I consider to be credible scientific evidence will ever change their mind;  I am in the pocket of pharma or have a hidden agenda or some such unhinged looney nonsense.  Attempting to engage them is pointless and just provides their deranged beliefs with oxygen.

“Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience”

– Mark Twain

A major issue in the vaccination “debate” is one of false balance.  Much as in the case of climate change, journalists seem to feel obliged to report “both sides” of the debate.  Mediawatch did a great story on this in October, which I recommend.

What I will do is try to compile a list of articles in this salvo in the vaccine wars, for reference.  Standard advice would be to Don’t Read the Comments

Australian Academy of Science:  Immunisation page   Brochure – High-res (pdf: 18mMb)  Low-res (pdf: 1Mb)

The Conversation

I like The Conv – it aims to get academics to explain their research for a general audience using simple language.  It also shares its articles using Creative Commons. They have recently copped a bit of stick about their comments policy – which is probably justified, but it’s still a good read, which I recommend.

(Update:  They’re obviously doing a vaccine theme week, so I’ll add some more articles as they come up.

Media Clips:

Articles promoting choice / abstention / false balance:

Feel free to email me or leave some more links in the comments.  But I’ll be borrowing John Birmingham’s banhammer if I get anti-vaccine spam or abuse.

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~ by Trent on November 27, 2012.

One Response to “The Vaccine Wars”

  1. Updated today with another couple of links, and will probably do so again – because The Conversation seems to be doing a vaccine theme week.

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