I haven't been invited (or allowed) to discuss vaccination on the radio or television for many years. This is largely because the medical establishment (having lost a long series of debates) will no longer agree to debate any medical topic with me or, indeed, to appear on any programme which has invited me to be a participant. For decades now I have been regularly lied about by people who have been frustrated by their inability to find errors in the claims I’ve made on a variety of health topics – including vaccination.
An awful lot of outrageous untruths have been told about me by various representatives of the medical establishment and the media and by individuals who are either drug company shills or who are determined to believe that vaccines are safe and effective, whatever the evidence might show.
Twelve years ago I was, to my immense surprise, invited to discuss vaccination on a late evening programme on Radio City, an independent station in Liverpool. A local doctor was invited to debate with me. The result was extraordinary.
For quite a while the doctor refused to admit that doctors make any money out of giving vaccines. Until I pressed him directly he indignantly denied that doctors have a financial interest in promoting vaccination. Only when I pointed out that GPs receive fees and bonuses for vaccinating their patients did he, rather reluctantly, agree that I was right. The doctor's main defence seemed to me to be that because the Government and other doctors agreed with his views on vaccination (which were, naturally, diametrically opposed to mine) then he must be right and I must be wrong. I have never found this a very convincing argument and nor, I felt, did the listeners. The presenter wanted to know why the facts I was giving had never been aired before.
At the end of the programme I was told that the programme had never before had such a response from listeners. It was, I was assured, their biggest ever audience response. Listeners were desperate for more information. Many were astounded at the evidence I produced. Some accused me of scaremongering for questioning pro-vaccination propaganda and for pointing out that doctors get paid for giving vaccinations. At the end of the programme I was asked if I would make another, longer programme on the subject of vaccination. I said I would. I offered to debate the subject of vaccination with any number of pro-vaccination doctors and experts the radio station could find.
I was not, however, surprised when I never heard from them again. I contacted them to ask if they were still interested in another more intensive debate. They weren't. And since then no other radio station has been prepared to allow me to discuss vaccination on air. I doubt if this will change. Patients, like doctors, will be protected from the inconvenient truths.
The media in general is constantly full of articles and programmes sneering at those who worry about vaccination and promoting vaccination as safe and effective.
Here's an extract from a pro-vaccination article by a columnist in Time magazine: ‘I'm pretty confident in the way I get my knowledge. Even in the age of Google and Wikipedia we still receive almost all our information from our peers. When presented with doubts, I don't search for detailed information from my side. I go with the consensus of mainstream media, academia and the Government. Not because they are always right but because they're right far more often than not, and I have a TiVo to watch. Also, unlike anti-vaccination people, they usually shut up after a little while.'
I could hardly believe that when I first read it and I can hardly believe it now that I've re-read it. But the truth is that most people now think like this and so the bad guys get away with their lies and their deceits and their manipulations and their spin. The drug companies are extremely powerful and effective at persuading journalists. They have bought most of the doctors and most of the medical journals and so they can be very convincing. Sometimes the pro-vaccine journalists become quite absurdly overblown in their support for vaccination. In December 2009, a magazine called Wired even claimed it was a ‘fact' that: ‘By any measure of scientific consensus, there is total agreement: vaccines are safe, effective and necessary.' And it's a fact that the moon is made of green cheese. Facts? Who needs the real thing when you can just make them up when you need them.
Most doctors are unquestioning - too frightened to upset the establishment. Asking uncomfortable questions can ruin a doctor's career. And medical journalists are just as useless. Most have very little formal medical training, they don't know what to look for, they not infrequently receive payments from drug companies (the payments are offered for articles written for drug company publications and are frequently far in excess of the sort of payments that the journalists would normally expect to receive) and they hardly ever have the courage to take on the establishment.
Far too many so-called medical and health journalists are wimpy incompetents who won't print or broadcast anything which might damage their cosy relationships with the medical establishment and the international pharmaceutical industry.
The power of the pro-vaccination lobby is powerful and far spread. When I wrote a short-lived column for the Oriental Morning Post in China the editors were at first reluctant to publish a column I had written criticising vaccination. Eventually, the editors printed the piece (simply because I refused to provide an alternative). After the column appeared, my book publishers in China wrote to tell me that the Chinese Government had informed them that they could no longer publish my books. My publishers in China had produced four of my books, all of which had sold very well, but they had been told by the Government that only `medical publishing houses' could in future publish books concerned with health care. Other Chinese publishers who had shown great enthusiasm for publishing my books suddenly changed their minds.
I am sometimes told that, as a critic of vaccination, it is my job to prove that vaccines are dangerous and that I should stop criticising vaccination until I have evidence proving that vaccines can be dangerous and are often ineffective. That is a nonsense. It is the responsibility of those who are making, endorsing and giving vaccines to be sure that they are safe. The drug companies have a responsibility to prove that their products are safe and effective. Unfortunately, it is common these days for Governments to allow industries to do things without proving that they are safe, and to then expect opponents to prove that something is unsafe. The fact is, of course, that it is impossible to produce evidence proving that a procedure doesn't do something. The onus should, of course, be on those who promote these procedures to produce evidence proving that they are safe. It is not possible to prove a negative.
In a logical, sensible, scientific world it is the job of those who promote vaccination to prove that the procedure is safe and effective in general, and that individual vaccines are safe and effective in use.
Sadly, that isn't going to happen.
And today no mainstream media organisation anywhere in the world will allow criticism of vaccination. They must know that vaccines are often dangerous and frequently don’t work. They must know that vaccines frequently do more harm than good. But they are paid to lie and too cowardly to debate the evidence.
Adapted from Vernon Coleman’s book Anyone who tells you vaccines are safe and effective is lying: Here’s the proof. The book is available as a paperback and an eBook on Amazon.