“Vaccines save lives.”

On the surface, this may appear to be an indisputable statement of fact. To the casual observer, the subject of vaccines may not seem at all controversial. After all, surely everyone is aware of the striking successes of vaccines -- smallpox was eradicated several decades ago and polio is well on its way to the same fate.

Other such miracles have occurred more recently. Before immunization for Hemophilus influenzae type B(Hib) became available, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in infants and children in the U.S. Before the vaccine was developed, there were about 20,000 invasive Rib cases annually. About twothirds of these cases were meningitis, with the other one third consisting of pneumonia, bacteremia and epiglottitis. Hib meningitis killed 600 children annually and left many survivors with deafness, seizures, or mental retardation. From a high of 20,000 cases of (Hib) disease before the vaccine in 1984, Hib cases dropped to 139 by 1997 (1).

In spite of these successes, however; a significant amount of controversy has arisen around these obvious miracles of modern medicine controversy that includes frightened parents, media sensationalism, congressional hearings, and a great deal of confusion.

Opposition Religious and Alternative

Opposition to vaccines is not really “new”. Vaccines have been opposed by some or other individuals and groups virtually from their inception. However, in recent years the “anti vaccine” movement has gained momentum. The history of opposition to vaccines includes resistance from some religious groups, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early part of this century (Jehovah’s Witnesses have since dropped their ban on vaccination). More recent religious
opposition has come from groups that tend to eschew medical treatment, such as Christian Scientists and the Amish, whose members also tend to reject vaccines. It is worth noting that faiths which discourage the use of vaccines tend to lie outside the pale of Christian orthodoxy, either due to aberrant theology, extreme legalism, or both.

Opposition to vaccines has also come from some “alternative” health care interests, most notably chiropractic and homeopathy. An ample dose of alternative health care, sonic religious opinions, along a with curious mix of political interests and advocacy groups have come together into what can be called the presentlay antivaccine movement.

Chiropractic Opposition to Vaccines

Chiropractic has had an historic animosity toward vaccination. Craig Nelson, DC describes in great detail general hostility of chiropractors to vaccination in his article entitled “Why Chiropractors Should Embrace Immunization” (2). The founder of chiropractic, D.D. Palmer made no attempt to hide his contempt when




What’s in the News



Books and
Other Stuff

Shot ... or not?
Part 1
What to make of the anti-vaccination information
by Cindy Province, RN, MSN