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Anti-vaccination culture threatens Covid fightback

Preliminary results published yesterday from early trials of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University suggest that it safely triggers an immune response.

Other research teams around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against the virus This may be the only way to return to normal life. Yet there are suggestions that an alarming number of people would refuse to be inoculated.

Vaccination has enabled one of the greatest global advances in public health. I have always been strongly in favour of safe and properly tested vaccination and, like many others, I am hoping against hope that a vaccine can be developed against Covid-19.

So how did the world get into this situation? At a deeper level is the attitude that has been growing for the past half-century: a belief in the innate goodness of the natural world and a deep suspicion of how mankind interferes with it through science or technology.

It would be beyond appalling if so many people refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19 that the population at large remained at risk. What’s going on below the surface, though, is nothing less than the repudiation of reason and evidence based on a decades-long revulsion against progress and modernity.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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