The H1N1 crisis has dramatically changed discussions around vaccines. A range of experts from different fields come together at the Merieux Foundation earlier this week. The conversation ranged from what questions were influencing public perception of vaccines to how to better understand the issues that the health community is facing today. It was fascinating to hear studies showing the impact certain rumours had on individual uptake of different kind of vaccines.
The most moving presentation came from a parent who had lost his child to the whooping cough (pertussis), reminding us why vaccines matter so profoundly to the health of our society and our children. The challenge we face however is an increasing level of scepticism from the public and intensification of rumours and scare stories spread through the web. Brian Deer, a journalist writing for the Sunday Times and the BMJ, shared his experience in investigating the case of Andrew Wakefield. Brian spoke about how he had done a long and deep investigation into the science and methodology that had gone into Andrew Wakefield’s claims and was able to dismantle his case by carefully reading a large collection of documents. He showed us that rigorous work and challenge can help to expose fraudulent claims. Read More