Community Pediatrician at Whittington Health in London and Immunization Expert for the Royal College of Pediatrics and Children's Health
Con to the question "Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?"
"Even where immunization is generally mandatory, in a free democracy, there has almost always been the provision for parents with conscientious objections to withhold their children from the immunization program. When smallpox vaccination was made compulsory in the 19th century in the United Kingdom, it was the poor who suffered. If they persisted in refusing immunization, they were fined or even sent to jail, for inability to pay. On the other hand, the affluent simply paid their fines and the children remained unimmunized. It was not long before conscience clauses were introduced and any element of compulsion abolished in 1948 with the introduction of the National Health Service.
In an era when people are less accepting of authority and do not expect to do something because the government says so, trying to enforce immunization may actually make matters worse and create martyrs. Those who have genuine religious objections are unlikely to allow their children to be immunized, whatever the penalty. Parents who are hesitating about their vaccine decision because of concerns over vaccine safety may change their minds if given time and an opportunity to discuss their concerns with a well-informed health professional."
Co-written with Helen Bedford, "In Britain, Vaccinate with Persuasion, not Coercion," www.nytimes.com, Mar. 23, 2014
Cowritten with I. Abubakar, L. Pimpin, C. Ariti, et al., "Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Current Evidence on the Duration of Protection by Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Vaccination against Tuberculosis," Health Technology Assessment, Sep. 2013
Cowritten with H. Bedford, "Should the UK Introduce Compulsory Vaccination?," Lancet, Apr. 2013
Cowritten with D. Pilger, P. Nguipdop-Djomo, I. Abubakar, et al., "BCG Vaccination in England since 2005: A Survey of Policy and Practice," BMJ Open, Sep 10, 2012
Cowritten with L. Craig, R. Heathcock, D. Turbitt, B. Walsh, and N. Crowcroft, "Pragmatic Management of Programmatic Vaccination Errors--Lessons Learnt from Incidents in London," Vaccine, Dec. 10, 2010
Cowritten with P. Fine, "Non-Specific Effects of Vaccines," Archives of the Diseased Child, Sep. 2010
Cowritten with H.E. Bedford, "MMR Vaccine and Autism," BMJ, Feb. 2, 2010
Cowritten with Helen Bedford, "MMR: Where Are We Now?," Archives of the Diseased Child, Dec. 2007
Cowritten with David M.B. Hall and Jonathan Williams, The Child Surveillance Handbook, 1994
Cowritten with David Hall, Health for All Children, 1989