It was admittedly not surprising Sciblogs, New Zealand chose not to post my irreverent comment on the post 'The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit - from someone who was actually there' of Helen Petousis Harris, chair of the WHO's Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety:
Unfortunately you cannot do medical safety while putting your fingers in your ears and going “La-la-la”. You have to listen to people, whether they are ordinary citizens or other doctors and scientists who are critical. Vaccines can fail and vaccines can harm: it is not all clean and tidy, while both pre-market safety trialing and post market monitoring are largely inadequate. I have been very critical of Heidi Larson but to do her justice I believe she ventured rather more at the conference than you are acknowledging here. It is not good enough to say in effect “I’m an expert so go away and shut-up”. I am sorry, but if you are not listening you are not an expert, and you certainly should not be in medicine.
John Stone, UK and European Editor, Age of Autism
Petousis Harris's blog is essentially circular and self-referential: science is only science if she says it is and evidence is only evidence if she say says it is, or if it has been agreed by a relevant committee: this is represented in her remarkable flow diagram which is not so much about science as people who disagree with her. One of her criteria for being an "expert" is belonging to certain societies or sitting on certain committees (which let us face it may be compromised by having responsibility for the policy). According to her to be an expert you have to "adhere to the scientific method" but we do not exactly know what that is. I perhaps adhere to the statement that "vaccines are unavoidably unsafe": a statement that "vaccines are safe" seems eminently falsifiable and whatever she says many people at the summit, which is entirely viewable on-line (whether you were there or not), had serious doubts: "relatively safe" is not the same as "safe" and is too vague a hypothesis to be testable. If you are actually hostile to reports of harm or discussion of mechanisms of harm there is a problem. Committees are no guarantee of science, and often an institutional method of blocking discussion of sensitive issues.
I doubt whether the tone of her intervention is helpful. It sounds like the nursery game of "I'm the king of the castle/And you're the dirty rascal!"