“Ignorance” of Medical Officers of Health “Alarming”

Press Release – No Forced Vaccines

Public statements by a Medical Officer of Health from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service as well as another Medical Officer of Health from the Northland District Health Board show a “worrying” level of ignorance about some very important areas …20 October 2011

“Ignorance” of Medical Officers of Health “Alarming”

The following press release is a response to the press release “A Response to No Forced Vaccines”.

Public statements by a Medical Officer of Health from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service as well as another Medical Officer of Health from the Northland District Health Board show a “worrying” level of ignorance about some very important areas of medicine.

This is the assessment from Katherine Smith, editor of The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine and spokeswoman for No Forced Vaccines, a human rights group opposing coerced vaccinations.[1]

In July this year, Smith states, Dr Richard Hoskins, Medical Officer of Health for the Auckland Regional Public Health Service was quoted in the NZ Herald as saying that:

“There is no treatment for measles, the only thing that can stop you catching measles is to get immunised.”[2]

According to Smith, it is concerning that a doctor in charge of the public health response to outbreaks of measles is apparently ignorant of the fact that there are treatments for measles.

“Starship Hospital paediatrician Dr Cameron Grant has stated publicly that ‘if a child is admitted to hospital with measles, we give them a treatment of vitamin A'”,[3] Smith says.

“How is it that Dr Richard Hoskins is apparently ignorant of the fact that vitamin A is a standard treatment for children with measles in NZ’s largest children’s hospital?”

According to Smith, there are other potentially useful treatments for measles such as vitamin D (which has been used together with vitamin A since the 1930s) [4] and intravenous vitamin C – which has been used to successfully treat encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) a rare but life threatening complication of the disease.[5]

“Parents deserve to know that there are indeed helpful treatments for measles,” Smith says. “It helps to reduce fear of the disease and knowing that there are treatments for measles is also important for making an informed choice about vaccination.”

Moreover, Smith says, earlier this week Dr Clair Mills, a Medical Officer of Health for the Northland District Health Board put out a press release that stated that “There is no evidence for the effectiveness of ‘homeoprophylaxis’ protecting against meningococcal disease.”[6]

Dr Mills’s statement is untrue, according to Smith.

“Homoeoprophylaxis, which is the use of appropriate homoeopathic medicines to actually prevent disease, has in fact been shown to reduce the risk of developing meningococcal disease in two large clinical trials collectively involving tens of thousands of people,” Smith says.

She added that the press release [7] from No Forced Vaccines ( www.noforcedvaccines.org ) to which Dr Mills was responding included a footnote which referenced the studies.[8]

“All Dr Mills had to do was to read the footnote and she would have been aware of the fact that homoeoprophylaxis is a proven method of reducing the risk of developing meningococcal disease.” Smith says. “I personally find it disappointing that she apparently didn’t bother to read the references. If she is really as concerned about ‘protecting our young children and youth from a disease that is very serious, and a tragedy for whanau affected’ [9] as she claims, I would expect her to be keen to learn more about homoeoprophylaxis – because it provides another option for reducing the risks of developing meningococcal disease, which is especially important for people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical contraindications.”

Smith also says that she stands by the statements in the press release “No Real ‘Informed Consent’ with Meningococcal C Vaccine” [10] concerning the fact that the information forms produced by the Northland DHB for the meningococcal C vaccination campaign failed to inform readers of serious conditions such as collapse and seizures that even the vaccine’s manufacturer’s datasheet [11] acknowledges had occurred following vaccination with Meningitec, either on its own, or in combination with other vaccines.

“While some conditions that follow vaccination may be coincidental,” Smith says, “As a general rule, adverse effects following vaccination are under-reported. [12] In cases in which they are reported it is usually due to the fact that the parent or physician making the report believes that the vaccine is the most likely cause of the condition.”

According to Smith the Northland DHB has failed in its ethical obligation to include sufficient information for parents and teenagers aged 16 and over to make an informed choice about Meningitec[TM] by omitting potential adverse effects acknowledged by Meningitec’s manufacturer from the DHB information form.

“It is impossible for people to make an informed decision about any vaccine if they don’t have all the facts.” Smith says, adding that Northland DHB also has an “ethical obligation” to inform people about other means of reducing the risk of developing meningococcal disease such as healthy lifestyle practices and homoeoprophylaxis.

“In my opinion for Northland DHB to produce information forms that provide information about the potential benefits of meningococcal vaccination without disclosing all of the risks or any of the alternatives is deceptive,” Smith says. “I can understand that someone who genuinely believes that the vaccination campaign is necessary might worry that giving people this information might reduce uptake of the vaccine. However, when people in positions of authority such as Medical Officers of Health make public statements that can easily be proven false, it not only reflects badly on them as individuals but undermines public confidence in vaccination programmes and the public health system as a whole.”

This, Smith states, “is a shame given that most doctors are hard working, honest and eager to improve their knowledge and skills for the benefit of their patients and the community.”

[1] www.noforcedvaccines.org
[2] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10740848
[3] http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=9006061
[4] http://www.whale.to/a/ellison1.html
[5] Curing the Incurable by Thomas Levy, MD, JD. 2002 edition ISBN 1 – 4010 – 6963 – 0
[6] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1110/S00086/a-response-to-no-forced-vaccines.htm
[7] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1110/S00081/no-real-informed-consent-with-meningococcal-c-vaccine.htm
[8] http://homeopathyplus.com.au/homeopathic-immunisation-for-meningococcal-disease/
[9] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1110/S00086/a-response-to-no-forced-vaccines.htm
[10] http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE1110/S00081/no-real-informed-consent-with-meningococcal-c-vaccine.htm
[11] The datasheet may be accessed by typing the vaccine name into this link: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/dsform.asp
[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12825543


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