Coronavirus (846) The Times: Anti-vaxxers threaten the Covid fightback

21 July, 2020

'Public education, rather than compulsory inoculation, is the way to defeat epidemic irrationality', by Melanie Phillips

'Might the end of this pandemic nightmare now be in sight? Preliminary results published yesterday from early trials of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University suggest that it safely triggers an immune response.

'Other research teams around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against the virus. The government has signed deals for 30 million doses of one being developed in Germany and a further 60 million doses of another being created in France...'

Two observations:

1. Melanie Phillips, a very well known journalist and public commentator, formerly supported Andrew Wakefield, whose fraudulent work triggered controversy about the MMR vaccine and led to his being struck off the medical register. The above article indicates a volte-face. May other anti-vaxxers recognise the error of their ways.

2. The article is behind a pay-wall, which means that most of us cannot read it. I would like to make the case that ALL articles that are considered important for public health should be made freely available to the public. And who might consider their importance? We can leave the publisher to do this. Either the article is deemed important and is therefore made publicly available. Or it is deemed unimportant and remains behind a paywall.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org