A whistle-stop tour through MMR and HPV antivax nonsense

Dr Michael Head

Tuesday, May 9 2017 at 8:00PM

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White Hill
East Sussex

Dr Michael Head

What's the talk about?

We all love our children dearly and chose to vaccinate them or not vaccinate them because of that deep love. Yet the discussion of whether or not to vaccinate can bring friendships to an end and the decision itself can have life-threatening consequences, not just for babies and unvaccinated children, but for anyone with a compromised immune system such as elderly people in our community.

Michael Head looks at vaccination in the larger context. 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.

Too many people are just not fussed about vaccines, or worse, they actively preach and campaign against them, with more than the occasional dollop of an absence of morality.

This presentation will walk us through some facts and figures, highlight the curious background to the latest unfounded scare story involving the HPV vaccine, and provide an insight into the public health danger posed by those who, even today, still try and tell you the MMR vaccine gives your child autism (it doesn’t, by the way).


Dr Michael Head is a Senior Research Fellow in infectious diseases at the University of Southampton. He has worked in infectious disease research since 2004 and has almost 50 peer-reviewed publications, including several in Lancet and Nature journals. Michael is an experienced public speaker and has spoken at several SITP meetings around the UK. Aside from talking about vaccines, his main academic interests are analysing funding trends in health research, data showing the global burden of disease, and a sideline in scabies research with colleagues from Brighton & Sussex Medical School.


Tickets online here or behind the bar at the Elly.