Science scepticism may grow on UK’s rush to approve Covid-19 vaccine: Expert

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 15, 2021

In this age of scientific rationality, superstition and anti-science still run deep, he lamented

Professor John Ashton, former director of public health, United Kingdom, has said that scientific scepticism may be reinforced by the country’s rush to approve the Covid-19 vaccine for public use.

The UK’s rush to be the first off the block in contrast to its European neighbours may incite scepticism about science.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Prof Ashton said that to risk the trust of the public for the sake of a couple of weeks’ propaganda advantage could prove to be unforgivable.

Also read: 1 in 5 people infected with Covid-19 in England: Study

He wrote in the paper: “In this age of scientific rationality, superstition and anti-science still run deep. When an overwhelming majority of the public welcomes the arrival of Covid-19 vaccination, it is salutary to remind ourselves of the main arguments deployed against its value and use.”

Prof Ashton pointed out certain objections raised by the public. He said some people believe that vaccination is ‘unchristian’, and it is an infringement of personal liberty to make people take the vaccine.

In his paper, Prof Ashton drew on the experience of the Victorian anti-vaccination leagues which were set up in the 19th century to campaign against smallpox vaccination and which offer a history lesson on the breakdown of trust between the government and the public.

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Published on January 15, 2021
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