BBC branded 'irresponsible' for inviting anti-vaxxers to appear on Question Time

BBC's Question Time put out the controversial call for unvaccinated people to apply to be members of the audience, so it's no surprise that one of them attempted to challenge the scientist on the panel - and it backfired spectacularly.

Presenter, Fiona Bruce explained in an episode in January: "There are many different reasons why people have chosen not to get the vaccine – we would be interested to explore some of those issues."

Fast forward to last night's programme (February 3rd), where unvaccinated people were part of the audience and of course, there was one man who made the argument that the vaccine has some "fairly horrific side effects" and that "we're working with incomplete data."

He added: "But I think for young, healthy people there's a fairly reasonable argument that the side effects or potential side effects are worse than the possibility for harm from the disease."

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On the panel was Professor Robin Shattock, head of the Mucosal Infection and Immunity at Imperial College London’s Medicine department who said: "I think the actual evidence for the safety of the vaccine and its efficacy in a healthcare setting is so overwhelming."

"We have far more safety data on the current vaccines as they have been in the arms of billions of people,’ he said, and added that the data is out there for people to look at to see stats on the risks and ‘serious adverse events,’ noting they are ‘extremely rare’.

"The evidence and facts are there and they're indisputable," he later added.

Though, immediately the unvaccinated man chimed in again to - you guessed it - dispute what Prof Shattock had just said.

"I appreciate that, I mean I've looked at the data myself," he said after checking his notes before going on about the yellow card system for reporting adverse drug reactions which when Bruce questioned him.

"What's interesting here, listening to you is that you've got Robin here who is a world-renowned expert, developing vaccines, researching vaccines for HIV and Ebola, he's given you the information he's given you and you're going through your notes finding all sorts of other things - is nothing he says credible to you given what an eminent scientist he is?"

To which the unvaccinated man responded by noting that he studied philosophy at university and that he learned "an appeal to authority is not an automatic win of an argument." He then brought up Professor Robert Malone, a former vaccine scientist turned sceptic, who made an appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast to make unfounded claims and slam the Covid vaccine.

The camera pans to an amused Prof Shattock as the audience member falsely claimed Prof Malone is "the man who invented the vaccine."

Prof Shattock calmly responded to the man's claims and called them "nonsense." He informed him that Prof Malone didn't invent mRNA vaccines but that it was actually the research from the companies BioNTech and Moderna.

Of course, Twitter had a field day over this exchange and loved the fact that Prof Shattock put the audience member in his place.

While many also couldn't believe the confidence of the unvaccinated man to question Prof Shattock's qualifications, knowledge and experience.

The BBC faced criticism and were previously described as "irresponsible" for calling on unvaccinated people to apply to be an audience member.

A BBC spokesperson told indy100 at the time: “There are still substantial numbers of the British public who are not vaccinated, especially in particular areas and communities. We think this is an interesting part of the debate which is worthy of discussion. Question Time always strives to discuss each side of every argument. This is about listening to, and understanding, our audience members. The BBC has always made the scientific consensus on vaccination very clear.”

On the matter of safety, they added:

“The safety of our audience and panellists is paramount and nothing has changed in terms of our audience requirements. We ask all audience members to provide either proof of full vaccination, evidence of a negative LFT, or proof of recent recovery from Covid. The audience seating arrangements are socially distanced, we ensure there is good ventilation in our venues and we ask audience members to wear a mask when not speaking.”

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