When the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) began, way back in 1994, amongst the core group of 6 founders were 2 chiropractors. One was a local practitioner and another was from further away. They, like most chiropractors, fully supported the rights for all individuals to make free and informed health decisions without fear of coercion, financial penalty or government threats. One of those chiropractors went on to run a State branch of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA), one of the 2 peak bodies governing the profession in this country.
Since its inception, the AVN has had a close, cooperative and friendly relationship with Australian chiropractors and the CAA. They had in excess of 10% of all Australian Chiropractors as Professional Members of the organisation when that level of membership was still available and I have personally spoken at many conferences and meetings hosted by both state and national branches of the CAA. Chiropractors who came to hear me have even been granted CE (continuing education) points.
Pressure brought to bear on chiropractors
Several years ago, things started to change. Chiropractors started to come under attack for supporting freedom of choice because many of them are sceptical about the benefits and safety of vaccination and were very supportive of their patients’ right to make informed choices about this issue. They were also being abused for daring to treat infants and children as well as adults, and for having the nerve to claim that chiropractic adjustments could treat more than back and neck pain.
The Chiropractic Board at that time deemed that chiropractors must not discuss any vaccination issues with patients. Chiropractors were not to have any information or books about vaccination in their offices and if a patient asked for their opinion on this topic, that patient was to be referred to the government health authorities or their local GP. In other words, chiropractors – health professionals who go through nearly the same training as medical doctors (without the emphasis on drugs and surgery) for the same number of years, were being told that they were not allowed to use their expertise to help their patients! Many of the chiropractors I spoke with at that time, including sitting Board members of the CAA, were furious about these moves!
Asking the hard questions
A few weeks ago, I was copied in on an email sent to a large list of Australian chiropractors by one of the top practitioners in this country. his question is below as well as my answer sent to him directly.
Q. should we get involved in this [vaccination] debate, as chiropractors, at this time ?
A. I’m not a chiropractor (as you well know, XXXXX :-), but Palmer went to jail (several times, from memory) for what he believed to be true regarding health. If he hadn’t done so, we most likely would not have chiropractic anywhere in the world!
If chiropractors allow themselves to be silenced, they are not doing right by themselves or by their patients. The only ones who will benefit from your silence are corporate government, corporate media and big pharma – all of whom want to see the end of chiropractic care, patient rights, the right to choose any and all forms of natural health. Do you really think that staying silent at this time will be a good thing?
The question is a good one: should chiropractors get involved in the vaccination debate or should they simply hide their own opinions, beliefs and the data their education has prepared them to analyse and just let their patients get information from one side only – the side that has been approved by the government?
On November 14, 2016, the CAA, a body that charges chiropractors for membership and purports to represent their interests with both the government and the general public, issued a statement you can read in its entirety at this link.
On the one hand, the CAA states, regarding best practice when caring for infants and children, that:
Best practice requires:
• placing the interests and wellbeing of the paediatric patient first;
• ensuring there is informed consent from the paediatric patient’s parent or guardian;
• carefully explaining the risks of care and alternatives to care to the parent or guardian; and
• identifying any ‘red flags’ particular to the paediatric patient and investigating, managing, co-managing or referring to an appropriate health practitioner.
All laudable goals when it comes to any form of treatment!
But then, they proceed to state that:
The CAA supports the Australian government’s view that immunisation is an important health care initiative. It is outside the scope of practice for chiropractors. When considering immunisation, patients should consult with either their GP or Maternal and Child Health Nurse for further information.
Now, this is a view that, I can comfortably state after personally speaking with many hundreds of chiropractors, represents a tiny minority of those in the profession.
CAA attacks the AVN-an organisation supported by many chiropractors
As if that were not bad enough, or disrespectful enough of the majority of their members’ informed and educated opinions, the CAA made a statement on their Facebook page:
I have spoken with the AVN Committee and to date, nobody from the CAA has contacted them about removing any link. In addition, since I was the one who set up the AVN’s web page and their links (medical, natural health and general), I can tell you that for many years, the CAA link has been reciprocal – in other words, they linked to the AVN and the AVN linked to the CAA.
Are the leaders of the chiropractic profession in Australia now guilty of cowardice? When their founder, Daniel David Palmer, felt so committed to the health of his patients that he spent time in prison in their defence, have his descendants strayed so far from their roots that their income has now become more important than their morals and knowledge?
Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I revere the chiropractic profession. My family’s healthcare provider has been a chiropractor for the last 25 years. But when I see that profession so afraid to hold to the courage of their convictions that they are willing to allow their patients to make decisions based only on information they themselves disagree with, I have to ask whether their usefulness as a healing modality is in its last days?
I support chiropractic and want to know what you think
By writing this blog, I know that I am exposing chiropractors to attack. In fact, all natural health modalities are and have been under attack. There are no rocks big enough for them to hide under any longer. It is time to fight back. It is time to stand up for what you believe in. It is time to tell the government, organisations like Friends of Science in Medicine and others whose stated goal is to see your profession exterminated that you will not bow to government-approved health tyranny.
Please comment on this blog if you are a chiropractor or if you use chiropractors for your healthcare. Feel free to use an alias since you will be threatened with deregistration if you dare to become public about your beliefs. It is time to support each other!