I would like to recommend the highly stimulating book of Mateja Cernic that describes vaccination as an ideological construct, i.e. as an “interest-driven construct of reality that is realized by means of social power at the expense of other and different constructs”. Her starting point was the often largely overstated benefit and systematically understated adverse effects of vaccines by policy makers and scientific institutions.
Mateja Cernic’s methodology consisted in collecting the statements made by the official health institutions and analyzing them in light of scientific studies and official state statistics. This huge effort has been made on a systematic basis, for all aspects of vaccination, debunking an impressive number of classical arguments supporting “the excellent benefit/risk balance of vaccines”. I must say that these critical analyses are sound, even for a doctor like me that strongly believes that, until now, vaccines have been globally useful and safe and, thus, merit to be defended. Like any other drug, however, vaccines may be detrimental in a minority of individuals, and, as a scientist, I have been working on aluminum adjuvant safety for more than 20 years. This allows me to testify that analyses of the different aspects of vaccine adjuvants have been conducted in depth and are perfectly exposed. I have no reason to believe it was not the case in the other sections.
After the systematic review of the different vaccines and adjuvants and their side effects, Mateja Cernic investigated the means by which an ideological discourse on vaccines has been set up to pave the way for vaccination policies and legislations. Most interesting chapters explore the work of pediatricians, the inadequacy of adverse effects monitoring systems, the questionable integrity of state institutions, and the nearly complete merging of oligopolistic vaccine industry with both science and medicine establishments.
Mateja Cernic states that after long history and as a result of an ideological construction, vaccination has gained the status of a “sacred cow”. It is sad, but true, that the vaccination temple guardians and the industrial lobby supporting them do not accept criticism, refuse to carry out necessary investigations (e.g. on long term vaccine safety), persecute researchers in vaccine safety science, and push media to make black and white dichotomy between “normal’ pro-vaccination and “dangerous/irresponsible” anti-vaccination positions.
Times are changing. In the setting of massive expansion of vaccine-based strategies announced worldwide, with 295 new vaccines currently being in the pipelines of the industry, vaccine legislations tend to set up compulsory vaccine programs as the unique answer to an increasing reluctance to vaccines in the population and among scientists and doctors. If, like me, you feel that both pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine activism do a disservice to science, you may aspire to more subtle positioning and mainly require safer vaccine products and practices. In that case, as a citizen, you should use this clearly and elegantly written book and its highly relevant bibliography to balance official discourses on vaccination, and seek the truth.
Professor Romain K. Gherardi
Former Head of the Expert Neuromuscular Pathology Centre, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Henri Mondor Paris-Est University hospitals, Créteil, France
Former Head of INSERM/ Paris Est University research Unit (U955E10, Créteil, France)
Professor Romain K. Gherardi was the Director of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) U955 E10 Unit of the University of Paris
and was the head of the Histology-Embryology department of the Henri Mondor Hospital (Creteil) of neuromuscular diseases.
He is a graduate in neurology and pathology, and Professor of Universities - Hospital Practitioner since 1990. From 1983 to 2010, he wrote 300 research articles, more than 250 of which were published in journals such as the Lancet, New England Journal, Annals of Neurology, Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, and Arthritis and Rheumatology. He has also been invited as a speaker at the CDC of Atlanta, the WHO of Geneva, and in various national or international learned societies of Neurology and Myology. His research concerns the field of cellular interactions in the normal neuromuscular system and inflammatory or toxic diseases