It’s Thanksgiving in the US, and for the rest of the world it is never a bad time to give thanks for all of our blessings.
There are many who count vaccines as one of the major blessings of the modern age, as they allegedly save thousands from the threat of harmful diseases.
Yet our confidence in the effectiveness of vaccines is apparently waning; in a survey conducted by the University of Michigan, 74 per cent of American parents said they would remove their vaccinated children from a day-care centre if there was a possibility that they would encounter non-vaccinated children.
This suggests that parents go through the vaccination procedure only because it is expected – and mandatory in U.S. day-care centres – for all children to be vaccinated with the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) and other childhood vaccines, but not necessarily because they believe in the effectiveness of vaccines.
It seems that parents aren’t alone in their doubts: many doctors are now also questioning the value of vaccines particularly as many, most notably the MMR, have been associated with negative side effects.
But the medical profession is not accepting of doctors who express concerns or even ambivalence on the subject of vaccines, and evidence suggests that those who do are gradually ousted out of medicine during a "revalidation" process that requires them to periodically renew their licence to practice.
The process requires doctors to prove that they themselves have also been fully vaccinated; if they fail to demonstrate that they have a full vaccination record this is considered a contravention of the revalidation procedure which states that doctors must “protect your patients, your colleagues and yourself by being vaccinated against common serious communicable diseases where vaccines are available.”
Medical practitioners who subscribe to so-called "alternative" viewpoints also find themselves in a precarious position if they disclose this during revalidation. These conditions have apparently forced the departure of around 8,500 doctors with "radical" views from the profession in the UK.
One doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, made the following comment: “I fear this will drive many doctors who are not sure about the benefits of vaccines undercover or out of the profession. This will also not serve patients’ rights to a balanced opinion of vaccines, as the doctor, whatever their opinion, will be now forced to be only positive about vaccines if they want to keep their licence to practice as a doctor and keep working.”
Dr. Andrew Wakefield is possibly one of the most notorious victims of the rigid "pro-vaccine" stance in the medical profession. Four years ago, he lost his reputation and career due to a paper he published in which it was suggested that theree was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. In fact, Dr. Wakefield was not opposed in principle to vaccination; he was merely interested in vaccine safety, and his studies led him discover that there were potential problems with the MMR combination vaccine. He did not even advise his patients to stop vaccinating, just to vaccinate for each three diseases using single vaccines as this reduced the risk of developing autism.
Wakefield’s paper was widely discredited and eventually retracted when a subsequent article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) accused Dr. Wakefield of fraud; however it is worth noting that the BMJ has strong financial links to MMR manufacturers.
Despite his very public fall from grace, Wakefield’s theories appear to have gathered some momentum and embedded themselves in the minds of the public. Another survey, this time in the US, indicated that one in five Americans believe that doctors know that vaccines can cause autism. Despite their doubts, however, parents continue to vaccinate their children in response to government pressure.
This debate is set to run on for decades and will always remain highly emotive and controversial; all parents can do is conduct their own research and do what they feel is best for their children. For doctors, however, it appears that freedom of opinion on this subject is not an option.