26th August 2015: Michael Head – To Vax or Not to Vax

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Smallpox is eradicated, polio has nearly gone the same way and in most countries diphtheria is rare. That’s due to vaccination. Yet headlines are often fixated on measles outbreaks on both sides of the Pond, or the ‘dangers’ of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. There are too many who are just not fussed about vaccines or worse, actively preach and campaign against them, with more than the occasional dollop of an absence of morality.

Plus there’s the desperate search for an ebola vaccine that, at best, will come two years too late, the imperfections of the tuberculosis vaccine, the waning immunity over time of the pertussis (whooping cough) immunisation, that HIV vaccine that just won’t come, and the annual guesswork that is the composition of the influenza vaccine. It’s a complicated business, alright.

This presentation will walk you through some facts and figures, highlight the new vaccines in the pipeline and provide an insight into the public health danger posed by those who try and tell you MMR gives your child autism (it doesn’t, by the way).

DOORS: 19:00
START: 19:30
Admission is FREE and there will be a collection during the interval (suggested donation £3-5).Venue: Smoke and Mirrors


Michael Head is a research associate in infectious diseases at University College London and a visiting academic in the Faculty of Medicine at University of Southampton. He has been working in infectious disease research since 2004, has published widely in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet and Nature journals, and for some reason spends far too much of his spare time reading about ‘bad science’ on the web.

@michaelghead
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