Hundreds of scientists have stood up for Jaap van Dissel, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Control at RIVM. The reason is an accusation from FvD MP Gideon van Meijeren, who repeatedly stated in the House last week that Van Dissel is ‘corrupt’ and insisted on his resignation.
Van Meijeren made his statements in a debate about the political influence that has been exerted on the advice of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), of which Van Dissel is chairman. Van Dissel has allowed that, said Van Meijeren, which makes him impressionable and therefore corrupt.
Incidentally, Van Meijeren immediately faced opposition from other MPs, including Martin Bosma (PVV), who chaired the debate. “Ho, ho, ho, ho. I think this language is a bit too hard: words like ‘corrupt’, ‘lies’, ‘liar’ etcetera”, said Bosma.
Microbiologist Marc Bonten and virologist Marion Koopmans now write in a letter sent to the Volkskrant on behalf of hundreds of scientists that such allegations occur more often in parliament and are the order of the day on social media. That undermines trust in science, Bonten and Koopmans write.
‘Do not abuse immunity’
They point out that in the corona pandemic, thanks to science, a reliable corona test was developed within a few weeks, an effective treatment within six months that led to a reduced death rate and later also the vaccines against the corona virus.
“The polarizing tone of the debate and the spread of misinformation have contributed to some turning away from vaccination,” the scientists said. That cost lives, they say.
They call on parliamentarians not to abuse their immunity to simply accuse and make people suspicious. The plea is endorsed by hundreds of professors, all fourteen rectors of the Dutch universities and all deans of the medical field.