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How Roald Dahl became a passionate vaccine advocate

By Tom Solomon, Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, and Professor of Neurology, University of Liverpool, University of Liverpool
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To Olivia, a new film on Sky Cinema, captures the year (1962) that author Roald Dahl’s daughter died of measles encephalitis. The death of seven-year-old Olivia nearly tore the family apart. This terrible story will be new to many people, but it’s not new to me. I first heard it 30 years ago from Dahl himself.

I was a junior doctor in Oxford and 74-year-old Dahl was my patient. He was hospitalised with a rare form of leukaemia, and every third night when I was on call, we…


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