Friday, 4 April 2014

CAND - Childhood Vaccines


So what does this "national voice of the Canadian naturopathic profession", the CAND, have to say about childhood vaccines?

Have a read of "Childhood Vaccinations and Immunity: A Naturopathic Perspective " published in the CAND Vital Link Newsletter, Volume 12, Issue 2, Spring 2005
http://www.drzepp.com/uploads/3/2/4/8/3248684/childhood_vaccination_info-_dave_leisheid.pdf

The author, David Leisheid, taught at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine for 5 years, and currently appears to be well thought of in the naturopathic community. According to this 2012 write-up, he sits on a board that advises Health Canada: http://www.theconference.ca/index.php/whois/l/954-lescheid-dr-david

Reviewing his paper on childhood vaccinations, I would like to draw your attention to the last paragraph of page 10, starting at the end of the third line: "Relying solely on childhood vaccinations to provide protection against significant harm from infectious disease is like putting the seat belt on in your car and still driving recklessly. The seat belt, aka the vaccine, really provides a minimal amount of protection."

This is blatantly false. Vaccines provide an enormous amount of protection. An enormous amount of protection, with little to no illness. No matter how much hand-washing you do, no matter how many servings of vegetables you eat in a day, if someone with the measles sneezes in your face, you are going to be sick if you are not vaccinated. 

The last line of the paragraph reads: "Similarly, we can gain more significant protection from infectious disease in our life’s journeys if we obey the laws of nature and have balance amongst the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our lives."

If we "obey the laws of nature", "we gain more significant protection"? Nature is cruel sometimes. Nature is what provides these lovely contagious diseases in the first place. Illnesses that can cause permanent injury and death. Thank goodness we have more than nature now to keep us well. Lots of things in nature are gentle but they don't do a darn thing to keep us well. And lots of things in nature are fully natural and make us sick. The CAND allowed this to appear in their newsletter, and that is appalling.

The letter says that "[r]egardless of the belief system that health care professionals subscribe to, a number of issues must be considered before an objective, rational, informed decision can be made". Two of these issues, according to David Lescheid, are the following:

"The putative risks of vaccination 
• There are many additives to vaccines that may or may not be associated with significant diseases or reactions. The risks of certain vaccines must be carefully weighed against their reported benefits (Busse, 2004)."
 "The reported efficacy of the vaccine
• There are a number of vaccines like influenza (Simonsen et al., 2005) and
varicella (Galil et al., 2002a&b, Lee et al., 2004, Vazquez et al. 2004) with
limited reported effectiveness. The validity of continued support for these
vaccines has to be called into question."
We have masses of researchers that do the work for us when evaluating if a vaccine's benefits outweigh the risks. There is no need for people to do guesswork at home about childhood vaccinations. It is reasonable, and beneficial at times, for patients to be skeptical of individual doctors, but it isn't reasonable, or rational, to be skeptical of medical consensus. There are many qualified people sifting through the research for us. If a vaccine did more harm than good, it would not be supported by medical consensus. 

Recommendations that a vaccine is pointless because it is not 100% effective are not rational. If you could either do a coin toss to avoid the flu, or volunteer to be 100% susceptible, the coin toss makes more sense. That shouldn't spark debate.

As for the chicken pox vaccine, though not a perfect source, the wikipedia page for varicella vaccine provides some points of interest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varicella_vaccine), including this line:
"Ten years after the vaccine was recommended in the US, the CDC reported as much as a 90% drop in chicken pox cases, a varicella-related hospital admission decline of 71%[1] and a 97% drop in chicken pox deaths among those under 20.[8]"
In a nutshell, the chickenpox vaccine is very effective, but requires boosters over the lifespan. Deaths attributable to chicken pox have gone down with the introduction of the vaccine, while no death attributable to the vaccine has been reported. I'm failing to see where it's efficacy is being called into question. Multiple boosters may be required over the life course is not the same as it not being effective.

This paper on childhood vaccinations, combined with the points I showcased from the CAND official position paper on the flu vaccine, demonstrates that physicians, governments, and the media, should be concerned about the public seeking out vaccine advice from alternative health advocates. If this isn't enough to convince you, stay tuned for more posts.

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