Chiropractor, Childhood Chiropractic, Healthy Baby

Does the CAA represent Australian Chiropractors? The Courage of Their Convictions

Chiropractor, Childhood Chiropractic, Healthy BabyWhen 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:

Chiropractors Association Australia, Freedom of Choice, Chiropractic Care

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!

Vaccination backlash or the rise of vaccination education?

If anyone thinks after reading this that Paul Offit isn’t pushing an evil policy, re-read the last paragraph in this piece – “Offit suggests one way to raise vaccination rates is to make it harder for people not to get themselves or their children vaccinated. This could mean, for example, attending educational classes that teach the public what the safety profiles of different vaccines are, before they are allowed to opt out of vaccination. “You have to convince people that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice; it’s just a choice to take a different risk.” ”

What he is talking about is re-education – the same re-education that was described in the excellent novella – the Children’s Story (by the same person who wrote Shogun – James Clavell). He is describing a process whereby the government takes what they consider to be wrong-thinking people and forces them to change their thinking by re-educating them along government lines. This was done in China, in the Soviet Union’s Gulag and in many other places in just about every Communist or fascist regime.  Brainwashing is another name for this tactic and it is insidious. Considering its use in a democratic, informed nation is no more than a pathetic attempt to take back the power over our health and lives that Western medicine sees slipping away.

And once again, calling people anti-vaccine for being pro-choice is nothing more than an attempt to disempower the message and denigrate the messenger without ever dealing with the facts. Because when you do actually expose the facts about vaccination, you learn that the scientific literature shows very clearly that:

1- Vaccines cannot immunise – anyone who is vaccinated can still be susceptible to the disease they are supposedly protected against.
2- Vaccines cannot prevent the spread of disease – even if you yourself are not susceptible to an illness, you can still be an asymptomatic carrier who can spread the illness to others.
3- Vaccines cause harm to a significant subset of people and there is absolutely no way of knowing who will be harmed in advance. Way back in 1982 on the video DPT: Vaccination Roulette, a scientist with the US Bureau of Biologics stated that it was his opinion that everyone who was vaccinated was harmed in some way. Vaccine injuries and deaths are very real – they are simply not acknowledged. For many, vaccination is nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette where anywhere from only one to all six of the revolver’s chambers contain live bullets.
4- Vaccine science is non-existent. Without the use of a true control group (eg one that is given a totally inert placebo or one that is completely unvaccinated) to compare the vaccinated cohort to, any statements about vaccine safety or effectiveness is conjecture – not fact.

There are so many other points, but one thing is patently obvious – the ANTI-CHOICE, ANTI-SCIENCE lobby is running scared. They are seeing that more and more people are questioning the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and the only way they know how to fight back is by doing the same thing they have done for years – trying to shoot the messenger to stop the message.

This backlash against the PRO-CHOICE, PRO-SCIENCE movement is a sign that we are being really, really effective – we have touched a nerve. Every attack against one of our organisations is a badge of honour, a purple heart to be worn with pride. We are wounding those who are trying to keep us from researching this subject and helping the parents of the world to make the best possible choices for their families – whatever those choices may be.

So take heart! When the Lancet uses language like this, when Offit’s strident whining becomes so high-pitched it can shatter a glass over the internet, we are winning. These are the death-throes of the behemoth that we call Western Medicine. It is my hope that, when we come out at the other end of this fight for health choice, we will find ourselves with an integrative form of healing that takes in many different modalities with none of them holding a monopoly, and respect for everyone who makes a personal informed choice for their family and themselves.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer
German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

The Lancet, Volume 375, Issue 9719, Pages 970 – 971, 20 March 2010

Experts concerned about vaccination backlash

Priya Shetty
Public health professionals are worried about the increasingly vocal anti-vaccination lobby in the USA and other western countries and their effect on immunisations globally. Priya Shetty reports.

Vaccination was one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Its success might now be its undoing, however. Around the world, vaccination rates are dropping, and the unthinkable is happening: children are dying from childhood diseases like measles and pertussis.

This fall in immunisation has coincided with an increasingly vocal anti-vaccination movement. Public health now seems more at threat than ever by anti-vaccination messages, and the reluctance to vaccinate has been affecting rates of uptake for other vaccines such as that for influenza A H1N1. Health experts are now faced with the daunting challenge of fighting these groups.

Anti-vaccination groups have been around for as long as the practice of vaccination has. Arguably, health watchdogs and critics are a vital part of checks and balances on the medical industry. But scientists are starting to become increasingly concerned about the medical misinformation that some groups are spreading.

Organisations such as the US National Vaccine Information Centre (NVIC), the Coalition for SafeMinds, and Know Vaccines, either oppose universal vaccination (on the basis that “all children are different”) or emphasise the parents’ right to choose whether their children are vaccinated. In a statement on the website of the NVIC, one of the biggest groups in the USA, its co-founder Barbara Loe Fisher says: “If the State can tag, track down and force citizens against their will to be injected with biologicals of unknown toxicity today, there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.”

Many groups use as ammunition alleged links between vaccines and diseases such as autism, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis. “At the heart of the anti-vaccine movement is the notion that we are merely substituting infectious diseases with chronic diseases”, says Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA, USA, and co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine.

Offit is one of several scientists who told The Lancet that anti-vaccination groups are unequivocally threatening public health, the evidence of which is the re-emergence of diseases that medical science had once beaten. “In 2008, we had a measles epidemic in the USA that was bigger than anything we had had in a decade, and that epidemic owed directly to the fact that some children had not been vaccinated. The parents were more afraid of the vaccine than they were of the disease, as a direct result of misinformation by anti-vaccine websites”, says Offit. Recent outbreaks of pertussis and haemophilus influenza B in undervaccinated communities in parts of the USA have resembled outbreaks from the prevaccine era, he says.

The geographical spread of people who refuse to vaccinate is important, says Saad Omer, assistant professor of global health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. If these people are uniformly spread out across an area, then the herd immunity stays intact. “However, our group and others have shown that vaccine refusal clusters geographically (and perhaps in social networks). Anti-vaccination groups often ‘think globally but act locally.’ Therefore, even if only ten of 100 people refuse vaccines but most of them live in the same neighbourhood, the likelihood of outbreaks increases due to local breakdown of herd immunity”, says Omer.

The movement has tended to be most active against childhood vaccines, with the most forceful rhetoric coming from parents who say that they do not want to expose their children to “unnecessary toxins”. One in eight American parents has refused at least one vaccine recommended for their children by their family doctor, according to a study published in Pediatrics this month, which surveyed more than 1500 parents of children aged 17 years or younger. But the reluctance to vaccinate is now permeating other areas of health.

According to the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID), anti-vaccination messages have partly been responsible for the poor uptake of the H1N1 vaccine. As each influenza season progresses, “we don’t know whether the virus will stay the same”, says Giuseppe Cornaglia, former president of ESCMID, now at the Department of Pathology, University of Verona, Italy. “Because many people who could have been immunised haven’t had the vaccine, we are going to be starting from scratch”, he says.

Anti-vaccination groups have also affected the way governments responded to the pandemic, says Tevi Troy, the previous Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services. “The US decision not to use adjuvants, which effectively expands the supply of the vaccines, stemmed in part from concerns about how the anti-vaccine groups would have reacted to adjuvants. This could have been a problem had the H1N1 outbreak been more severe”, he says.

However ludicrous some of the anti-vaccination messages might seem to scientists, it is hard to deny that they do hold some traction with the public. Complacency about infectious diseases in the developed world, born out of the enormous success of vaccination, might be one explanation. “As the rate of illness goes down, and people mostly encounter real or perceived vaccine associated adverse events (instead of disease), there is a change in mental calculus in terms of benefit versus risk of vaccines”, says Omer.

The internet, and the forums and social networking sites it has spawned, has allowed anti-vaccination advocacy and influence to permeate deeper than ever. For example, says Omer, “a few years ago, vaccine-related rumours would be restricted to certain (mostly developed) countries. However, now a viral video made by a vaccine opponent in California can end up being discussed in an Indian web forum.”

The increase in anti-vaccination advocacy dovetails with a growing public mistrust of science that in recent years has manifested against genetically modified food, stem cells, and, most recently, climate change.

At last month’s yearly meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ralph Cicerone, president of the US National Academy of Sciences, told delegates that recent controversies over climate change had damaged public faith in science. “There has been a widespread deterioration in the public’s attitude to science not only in the US but in many other countries in the past 3 months”, said Cicerone.

Against this background, global health experts are trying to ensure that people in developing countries can access life-saving vaccines.

Does anti-vaccination advocacy exist in these countries? “Unfortunately yes”, says Omer. “However, they are relatively less organised. Often there are entities that are organised for a different reason but end up providing a platform for opposing vaccines eg, religious and political groups in Nigeria.”

ESCMID’s Cornaglia says he is “seriously scared” about the prospect that anti-vaccination groups will take hold in the developing world. “Vaccines are the best weapon we have for the future.”

Not everyone shares this view. Offit still believes that there is much more public appreciation of vaccines in the developing world. Offit remembers taking the rotavirus vaccine to Nicaragua, and says “it was remarkable how happy people were to get a vaccine to prevent a common cause of diarrhoea and dehydration, and, at least in the developing world, death.”
Cornaglia was ESCMID’s communication officer at one time, and he believes that health agencies such as ESCMID and WHO “have to change their communication style”. “They have to address public health professionals like physicians and nurses, because if we don’t convince them, then we cannot convince the lay public at all”, he says.

“Public-health messages should be simple, honest and straightforward.” Sending a clear message, however scientifically erroneous it might be, is how the anti-vaccination movement scored big with H1N1, he says. Their message was simply: “vaccines are the devil”.

The anti-vaccination lobby has become so highly organised, says Adam Finn, professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, UK, that “they do pose a threat and need to be taken seriously. NVIC in the USA now has a yearly conference and is becoming a kind of institution…They are not amateurs—they are making careers out of this.”

Like Cornaglia, Finn says that the anti-vaccination lobby’s communication skills have a lot to do with their influence. “They, unlike most doctors and scientists, are always willing to talk to the media and are good at doing it.”

Offit suggests one way to raise vaccination rates is to make it harder for people not to get themselves or their children vaccinated. This could mean, for example, attending educational classes that teach the public what the safety profiles of different vaccines are, before they are allowed to opt out of vaccination. “You have to convince people that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice; it’s just a choice to take a different risk.”