Debate on vaccines and autoimmunity: Do not attack the author, yet discuss it methodologically

Vaccine. 2017 Oct 9;35(42):5522-5526. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.08.018. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

Abstract

Since Jenner, vaccines and vaccinations have stirred a hot, highly polarized debate, leading to contrasting positions and feelings, ranging from acritical enthusiasm to blind denial. On the one hand, we find anti-vaccination movements which divulge and disseminate misleading information, myths, prejudices, and even frauds, with the main aim of denying that vaccination practices represent a major public health measure, being effective in controlling infectious diseases and safeguarding the wellbeing of entire communities. Recently, the authors of many vaccine safety investigations are being personally criticized rather than the actual science being methodologically assessed and critiqued. Unfortunately, this could result in making vaccine safety science a "hazardous occupation". Critiques should focus on the science and not on the authors and on the scientists that publish reasonably high-quality science suggesting a problem with a given vaccine. These scientists require adequate professional protection so there are not disincentives to publish and to carry out researches in the field. The issues for vaccine safety are not dissimilar to other areas such as medical errors and drug safety.

Keywords: ASIA syndrome; Adjuvants; Autoimmune diseases; Autoimmune/autoinflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants; Autoimmunity; Immunization; Vaccination; Vaccines.

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Humans
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Vaccines / immunology*

Substances

  • Vaccines