Saturday 16 January 2021



Tuesday's Woman's Hour made a concerted attempt to dispel misinformation - and fears - about Covid vaccines harming women's fertility. 

Along the way, Emma Barnett interviewed vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi and singled out lockdown sceptic Dr Mike Yeadon for criticism: 

Dr Yeadon wasn't happy

Emma Barnett, Slander on Women’s Hour Podcast released Jan 12 2021

Dear Emma Barnett. 

I'm the person you traduced in your Women's Hour podcast, released today. Please provide the source of the "form of female sterilisation" remark which you accused me of making. 

I've spent my entire career in pharmaceutical R&D, was Chief Scientist for Respiratory at Pfizer until 2011 & have since been a successful biotech CEO & consultant to 30 start up companies, some now on NASDAQ. 

I do not appreciate the way you cast me & more importantly the statement you allege I've said is a lie. I've never said it. 

So I'm courteously giving your the opportunity to produce the authentic source of that alleged remark in the next 48h from this message, together with any relevant context.

I understand that not having contacted me beforehand means you have violated your code as a journalist. 

I have also texted this to your program website & emailed your BBC address.

Dr Mike Yeadon

Last night Dr Yeadon posted an update:


I’m pleased to report that the program editor acknowledges that they were wrong. The presenter did slander me. I’ve never said that which she alleged I’d said. They couldn’t provide an authentic source. I’ve received an apology & that segment has been deleted.

Furthermore, the editor accepts they breached the journalists’ code, which places an obligation on them to make reasonable efforts to contact me, for a right of reply. In fact, they made no effort to contact me. 

Life’s too short to waste any more time on this. Luckily for them. 

I've checked TV Eyes and compared it to the programme itself on the BBC iPlayer and, yes, some 24 words have been removed, including the bit where Emma Barnett says "and I'm naming him specifically".

I suppose the lesson for us all here is, if you're going to dispel misinformation it's probably best to get your own facts right first!


Update: This interview was one that the BBC's specialist disinformation report Marianna Spring tweeted about on Tuesday, ironically praising it uncritically for tackling "":

Important segment on BBC Woman's Hour addressing concerns about vaccines.

From the reporting that I’m doing - lots of legitimate questions and concerns from young women, but also unsubstantiated, scary claims in antivaxx videos about sterilisation and fertility playing on these.

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