Antivaccination journalist to address UK parliament: why?

UK readers will know about the damage done to the temporary damage done to childhood vaccinations by Andrew Wakefield: he claimed a link between the MMR jab and autism. It’s since been shown that he never had any good evidence of such a link, and was charged with professional misconduct. My sense is that public perception is recovering to the fact that vaccines are safe and a good idea for your children.

There’s a vocal (but equally misguided) antivaccination group in the US, however. It’s become more high-profile than ever with a supporting book and media appearances from a journalist named David Kirby.

Kirby – emboldened, I think, by recent government settlements that don’t prove anything – is coming to the UK next week to do a bunch of media appearances. The Telegraph has amazingly granted him anough credibility to write an article that claims the debate about vaccine safety rages on. Fine, whatever. He has the right to be wrong in public.

What really bugs me is that Kirby has secured (via Lord Robin Hodgson, aka Baron Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, who obviously puts some credence in this crap) a briefing to Parliament! I don’t want a crank who doesn’t have the support of the science community and whose book was lambasted by the British Medical Journal to be addressing Parliament as some kind of expert.

I’ve written to my MP to say that I’m not happy about this. I hope no one shows up to his briefing.