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Please donít do your own research on immunisation; youíll get it wrong

Michael Vagg writes in The Conversation (6.3.17) about the reaction to Senator Pauline Hanson's comments casting doubt on the efficacy of vaccinations in preventing childhood diseases.

'Pauline Hanson has become the latest politician to flirt with the fringe view of immunisation denial. Of course, like all thoroughly modern anti-vaxxers, she claims to be about choice and empowerment rather than denial of the overwhelming scientific consensus.

'Of all the weasel words immunisation deniers use, I get most infuriated by the “do your own research” trope.

'You don’t need to. Unless you’re a senior research scientist with your own lab, a posse of postdocs and serious wad of cash, we don’t need your help.

'What Senator Hanson appears to mean is that she wants average people who find misinformation on the internet to be allowed to disagree with decades of rigorous, serious scientific effort. Unlike so many of my medical colleagues, I make an effort to keep up with goings-on in the anti-vax movement so I am grimly aware of the depths of hubris and folly that inform the “research” you so easily find when you innocently Google for vaccine information. The average person with high-school science knowledge and healthy faith in human decency has no chance.'

 

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