Even More B.S. for AntiVaxxers: Homeopathic Alternatives

Posted May 25, 2009

When the swine flu was big news, many CAM websites were updated to include treatments and preventatives for this new epidemic. Of course, none of these things actually do anything other than make money for those peddling them, but they are part of a practice which does much more: it kills and maims people.

By convincing parents that recommended immunization is a personal choice, and one with safe & effective alternatives, they put ALL of us at risk. Diseases cannot be eradicated unless a very large portion of the population (usually ~90%) is immunized.

Homeopathic Immunisation claims to be…

a safe and effective way to protect you and your family against childhood and other epidemic diseases. It will even
protect your companion and farm animals from their contagious diseases.

I wonder how they can get away with these claims, even on an internet site.

Homeopathic immunisation can be used against poliomyelitis, chickenpox, meningococcal disease, hepatitis (all types), Japanese encephalitis, Hib, influenza, measles, pneumococcal disease, cholera, smallpox, typhoid, typhus, whooping cough, rubella (German measles), mumps, diphtheria, malaria, yellow fever, dysentery, and many other diseases. Communities around the world have used its protective effect for 200 years.

This is a little closer to the truth. One may use homeopathy. One may use voodoo, prayer, or wishful thinking. Poor language aside (we cannot “use” an effect), the fact that homeopathy has been around for 200 years is irrelevant. What is relevant: “homeopathic immunization” has no prophylactic value. It cannot protect you against any disease, disorder, or condition.

comingThe website quoted above makes many, many claims and describes research they say supports those claims, but includes no references whatsoever. Instead, they claim the references can be found on another website. However, the website they refer the reader to only has a placemarker promising those references are “Coming Soon!” I wonder about the meaning of the word “soon”; the last update for that page is listed as September 16, 2007!

Homeopathy is nothing more than the practice of dispensing water to people who would like to think that something totally harmless and simple can solve their problems. Unfortunately, that is not reality.

These “alternatives” to vaccination are worse than weight loss products. At least most sham weight loss products do something; they are usually diuretics which give one the impression that they are making progress toward sustainable weight loss. What homeopathic immunizations do is give scared parents another reason not to vaccinate. They can listen to botox-loving, ignorance-pushers like Jenny McCarthy and feel they are protecting their children from everything.
With a harmless, safe alternative, parents can avoid autism and the other scary things vaccines are purported to cause while protecting their children from infectious diseases. How simple is that? Why isn’t everyone doing it?

The answer is that it is not. The old adage applies: If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably not true.

The antivax movement works using the same techniques as many other industries and many political movements. What they do:

Spread a specific fear. They tell you what you should fear and who you should blame. They prey on ignorance by using faulty logic, half-truths, and lies to create what seems on the surface to be a rational argument with a believable conclusion. The other side’s argument is more difficult to understand and often requires advanced education, so it cannot be true. Autism, ADHD, all manner of disorders and diseases, are the result of vaccine poisoning. Vaccine makers want your money and are willing to sacrifice your children to get it. At the same time, they can attack ADHD treatments by characterizing them as dangerous street drugs which big pharm promotes to make even more money from your suffering. Big pharm has the government in their back pocket and provides kick-backs to doctors (who are just as greedy as the corporations). Insurance companies do not cover alternative medicine because they’re in on the conspiracy, too!

Provide a solution. In the case of antivaxxers, blaming vaccines opens the door to providing a solution. They have safe vaccines. They can protect you against both the evil corporations and the diseases those corporations claimed to be able to prevent. They can cure your children of autism and ADHD without medications.

Once you are terrified and angry, you’ll swallow any solution that sounds reasonable and you’ll pay whatever the cost.

Let’s look at another site offering “homeopathic immunization”. Thinktwice.com, which bills itself as “the Global Vaccine Institute”, features a graphic with the tag line: “Uncensored information about vaccines and how they affect our children”. …Funny, I didn’t realize that any such information has ever been censored. This is simply an attempt to promote the conspiracy theory I described above.

The site contains a page of heartbreaking anecdotes, none of which are convincing evidence of vaccine involvement. It also contains a page of “studies” with a small set of links organized by vaccine and a statement:

A recent study conducted by the CDC found that children who were vaccinated (but not fully) tend to come from homes run by poor, unmarried, badly educated mothers who trust their doctors, whereas children who were never vaccinated tend to come from homes where they are well-provided for, with married parents who possess a college degree and do not permit doctors to influence their vaccination decisions.

This is indeed what the demographics look like, but this has nothing at all to do with the effectiveness or safety of vaccines. I also do not find it very encouraging that well-educated people “do not permit doctors to influence their vaccination decisions”. Being an informed consumer should never involve excluding the input of those you actually PAY to provide you with input! Providing medical advice is a doctor’s job! I will never endorse blind acceptance of what an individual doctor does or says, but to condemn the entire profession because they will not tell you what you want to hear is ludicrous.

Click on the links and you’ll find a list of references which they claim document the dangers of vaccinations. The lists, however, contain many articles which do not address this at all. For example, on the Miscellaneous page, an article under Vaccines Cause the “Prevented” Disease published in Pediatric in 1992 is titled Reappearance of Post-Vaccination Infection of Measles, Rubella, and Mumps. Should Adolescents be re-vaccinated? The makers of this website do not expect readers to consult the studies themselves, so the statement that this study somehow supports their claim is not likely to be challenged. However, when one examines the the source, the abstract alone is telling:

Measles-mumps-rubella immunization has had a dramatic impact on the incidence of these diseases and their complications. However, a partial coverage, as seen in Belgium and France, only slows the spread of the wild virus, thus increasing the age at infection and the risk of complications. This is to be added to the fact that there are 5% primary vaccine failure (no antibody production) and 5% secondary vaccine failure (loss of antibodies over time).

This study CLEARLY highlights the need for wide-spread vaccination to achieve herd immunity. It does not support the hypothesis that any vaccine caused the illness itself. That inference is just ridiculous.

Every page on the site contains advertisements for books and other publications promoting vaccine awareness, natural childcare (as opposed to unnatural?), herbal remedies, and other such garbage. They also sell “super immune-enhancing nutritional products”. So, just who is motivated by money?

Under “Articles” the very first link is titled Secret Government Database of Vaccine-Damaged Children…. Are they kidding? Secret? If it is so secret, how is it available right there on their website? At the bottom of the page they even suggest that vaccination is a satanic ritual!! The final straw is their FAQ. In it they make outrageous claims such as:

Actually, it’s the vaccinated children who spread disease. Many of the disease outbreaks that we are warned about today, are caused by, and occur in, recently vaccinated children.


Finally, Generation Rescue, the organization whose voice is none other than Jenny McCarthy, is a good example of ulterior motives. Their tagline is “autism is reversible”. Although there may be some truth to this, these people certainly do not have the treatment which will reverse it. McCarthy’s prime directive is to scaremonger. The organization takes over from there, selling advertising space to all sorts of sham treatments and hawking “biomedical treatments” like detoxification, homeopathy, and diet plans, all of which require practitioners to implement some revolutionary new program. They even list a combination of B12 and the antiviral medication Valtrex®. So much for big pharm.

Weigh the arguments. Which is more plausible? What evidence is present for each?

Be smart. Vaccinate your children.



herbalife Product on August 11th, 2009 at 23:34:

Its hard to get the facts but the immunization situation has us very concerned.

Barbara Drescher on August 11th, 2009 at 23:51:

Who is “us”?
It is not hard at all to get the facts in today’s world. The internet is a very fast and very simple way to do just that. Although there is a wealth of misinformation available, there is also a wealth of knowledge.

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