A lot of readers have asked me to write about vaccines. And it is with great pleasure that I introduce Dr Ana Temple on my blog – she is a pediatrician with a functional approach to medicine just like me, and hugely experienced and knowledgeable. This is a two part series, with part 1 exploring why and how the vaccine controversy became such a hot topic… Enjoy!
Trust, The Missing Ingredient in the Vaccine Controversy
While preparing my points and data for this article, I read tons of pro and anti vaccine sources, viewed the latest documentary and one thing became clear. Trust is the precious ingredient missing from The Vaccine Discussion and the weakening doctor-patient relationship is at the core of the vaccine controversy.
How it all began
- The first dagger thrown at the center of the patient-doctor relationship came in 1998,
- British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield published his “findings on the link between Measles Mumps Rubella Vaccine” in the British medical journal the Lancet.
- This has since been discredited and retracted by the journal.
- Wakefield subsequently lost his medical license after it was uncovered that the falsified his findings and took large sums of money for his “findings”.
- The damage was done and The Distrust Epidemic began.
- At the same time, September 4, 1998, Google began.
- It infiltrated the lives of everyone across the globe.
- Worldwide, people were given a voice on a common platform.
- The distinction between experts and loud voices became blurred.
- The underlying theme gaining momentum via the web – the veracity ofmedicine.
- In 1998, the rates of Measels, Mumps, and Rubella were at their lowest point sincethe vaccine was introduced. (CDC report1), ( CDC report2).
- most people of the 80 and 90’s had not seen measles ravage the body,mumps eat the brain, or rubella destroy unborn fetuses.
- many, however, came in contact with a scientific discovery that supposedlyuncovered a hidden lie about a life saving vaccine.
- This falsified document, spread faster then measles, polio, and the black plague combined.
- It infected the minds of millions, it ate away at peoples trust towards doctors, it killed the faith of many towards our medical system.
- In 2005, Jenny McCarthy started Celebrity Activism against vaccines. She became the voice of reason and modern medicine became engulfed in a darker shadow of doubt.
- Her background:
- famous actress
- Play-boy Model
- Her background:
The perception deception
In modern times, many alternative medicine doctors, health providers, celebrities, and moms, have started blogging about all matters of parenting, health, medicine and vaccines.
Very few main-stream doctors, however, have taken this path. There are many risks an MD faces once she puts herself out there on the Internet, such as barrage of medical questions, patient requests, lawsuits, etc.
However, when persons become ill, they will:
- Google their symptoms.
- Post their concerns on Facebook and receive many opinions.
- Read lengthy blogs and advice on the pros and cons of everything.
- Visit their doctor for a 10-15min visit, as allowed by insurance companies andhospital administration. In that visit, they receive advice that is abbreviated and to the point. They do not get to see the blog dissertation in the doctor’s head on all the possibilities, side effects, long term effects, life style concerns, and all the research he has done on the benefit of said treatment or medication. So it now appears that the doctor is either not knowledgeable, closed minded, or disinterested.
- Leave with a decaying patient-doctor relationship.The side effects of too many choices.Medicine in today’s world is enhanced and plagued by hundreds of choices and opinions. This can be a great thing, but it can also be the cause of paralysis. For example, parents research various concerns about vaccines, but without medical knowledge they have a difficult time knowing what sources to believe. Subsequently, they develop various fears about their children’s health and without trust, many choose to do nothing.
The death of the expert opinion
With medicine’s new image as a money hungry and closed minded industry, parents are likely to shy away from medical data and scientific research, and turn to parenting blogs or cleverly-named sources. Generally, most people will research a doctor’s medical training from top to bottom, as they should. However, the majority don’t research the cleverly- named-blog author’s background or the mom blogger’s educational and medical expertise.
But they trust the information on these sites, especially if it speaks to their multiplying fears and emerging doubts.
Show me the money
Vaccines cost a lot of money. They are expensive to make, to research, to monitor, to administer, and to change. Unfortunately, the Drug Making industry has come under scrutiny for the price inflations of life saving medications, such as Epi Pens and cancer treatment drugs. The image of greed and politics have infected all parts of the industry, including the vaccine department. The vaccine industry and medicine are intricately interconnected. Therefore, as the one side becomes polluted it contaminates the other.
What is a parent to do?
- Research your health insurance list for a Trusted Doctor or Provider. Review their background and schedule a meeting. Discuss your concerns. This initial meeting will give you and in-depth look at how the Doctor thinks, operates, and how she addresses questions and concerns.
- Once you have established whom you are going to see, schedule a vaccine conference. Do not attempt to address this complex issue during your newborn’s visit when you are sleep deprived and the toddler sibling is single handedly destroying the room. I promise you this is always a disaster (and I never say always).
- Before your vaccine conference, get your concerns and researched sources together. It is important to review both information and sources. It does not mean that alldata against vaccines is invalid, it means that as a team, sifting through theinformation is imperative.
- All caregivers need to be at this meeting!
I believe that vaccines are life saving medications, and there are side effects. In my extensive career, I have learned one thing for sure, “There are no 100% guarantees in life, except Death and Taxes” – Theodore Roosevelt, as quoted by my husband often. As physicians and parents, we must always balance the benefit and risk ratio. This is at the center of the vaccine discussion and it cannot occur within the vortex of suspicion and uncertainty that has become the patient-doctor relationship in the 21st century.
In Good Health, Ana-Maria Temple, MD
Dr Temple has an instagram account @familywellnesstips where she shares really useful 1 minutes health tips on child health (and general health) and her own blog https://mc2charlotte.com/ where you can read more of her excellent work.