Senior Lecturer in Children's Health at University College London Institute of Child 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 David Elliman, "In Britain, Vaccinate with Persuasion, Not Coercion," www. nytimes.com, Mar. 23, 2014
Cowritten with David Elliman, "In Britain, Vaccinate with Persuasion, not Coercion," www.nytimes.com, Mar. 23, 2014
Cowritten with J. Leask, P. Kinnersley, C. Jackson, F. Cheater, and G. Rowles, "Communicating with Parents about Vaccination: A Framework for Health Professionals, BMC Pediatrics, Sep. 2012
Cowritten with S. Hilton, K. Hunt, and M. Petticrew, "School Nurses' Experiences of Delivering the UK HPV Vaccination Programme in Its First Year," BMC Infectious Diseases, Aug. 24, 2011
Cowritten with S.A. Redsell, A.N. Siriwardena, J. Collier, and P. Atkinson, "Health Visitors' Perception of Their Role in the Universal Childhood Immunisation Programme and Their Communication Strategies with Parents," Primary Health Care Research & Development, 2010
Cowritten with D.A.C. Elliman, "MMR Vaccine and Autism," British Medical Journal, Feb. 2, 2010
Cowritten with S. Hilton, K. Hunt, M. Langan, and M. Petticrew, "Newsprint Media Representations of the Introduction of the HPV Vaccination Programme for Cervical Cancer Prevention in the UK (2005-2008)," Social Science and Medicine, 2010
Cowritten with G. Manikkavasagan, C. Dezateux, and A. Wade, "The Epidemiology of Chickenpox in UK 5-year Olds: An Analysis to Inform Vaccine Policy," Vaccine, Nov. 10, 2010
Cowritten with A. Pearce, C. Law, and D. Elliman, "Does Primary Immunisation Status Predict MMR Uptake?," Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2009