TV DOCTOR NEEDLED BY TRAGIC ATTITUDES
A British doctor who stars in a television series aiming to put truth back into medicine has taken aim at the antivaccination movement.
While on a recent tour of Australia to promote the new season of the SBS show Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, Michael Mosley described the rise of “anti-reason” surrounding vaccinations as “tragic”.
“I find it absolutely fascinating … the gap between what people believe and what science actually says,” Mosley says. “Vaccination is (hundreds of) years old. When there’s an outbreak of whooping cough or measles, it’s absolutely tragic.”
The respected medical presenter says anti-vaccination movements began cropping up after the development of a smallpox vaccine in 1796.
“Almost immediately, there were cartoons with an enormous great cow bursting out of someone’s arm. Even doctors were deeply sceptical, and smallpox was arguably the most horrific disease in the world.
“Florence Nightingale, who we think of as the queen of cleanliness, was absolutely against vaccinations and led a campaign against them.”
Mosley says he can understand the scepticism about vaccination, particularly as society puts such importance on “natural” living.
“The idea that maybe you’re overloading your system and that it’s better to be natural … it vaguely makes sense on some level. But natural is getting smallpox. I know what I’d prefer.”
Trust Me, I’m A Doctor sees Mosley and his medical team tackle a variety of health questions, from diets to ageing.
“On some things, the debate is ongoing. Take saturated fat — you get quite different views. Some say it’s bad because it raises bad cholesterol … others point to recent big-scale studies that have consistently failed to prove that.
“I like that sort of stuff — it’s challenging and it keeps you on your toes.”
TRUST ME, I’M A DOCTOR, SBS, MONDAY, 7.30PM