The question of immunisation has long been controversial in the homoeopathic community, but now many of the issues are becoming clearer. The London-based Faculty of Homoeopathy is in favour of immunisation in children, and most homoeopathic doctors would agree that immunisation is useful and should be undertaken. I have been concerned by some current trends away from conventional immunisation, especially when these opinions are falsely related to homoeopathic practice. I agree with Dr R.C. Hindle, in a letter to the New Zealand Medical Journal in 1991 that "there is…no homoeopathic equivalent to immunisation," and that "when there is no medical contradiction, immunisation should be carried out in the normal way using the conventional tested and approved vaccines."
I would like to support this view by mentioning three recent statements. Firstly the New Zealand Homoeopathic Society issued a statement from the President in 1988. This stated in part "homoeopaths sometimes use nosodes (homoeopathic preparations) of epidemic infections…at the end of an acute attack to complete the recovery. There is at present no scientific evidence that these confer immunity in the same way as vaccines, and the Society does not recommend to members, or anyone, that they should use them instead of the allopathic (conventional) vaccines. Anyone who does so is taking the responsibility upon themselves, and they must recognise the risk they are exposing themselves to."
Secondly the British Homoeopathic Journal published an editorial in 1990, entitled "Enough Nonsense on Immunisation." The Faculty of Homoeopathy had written to the Department of Health, repeating their position of support for Immunisation.
An American author Harris Coulter has criticised immunisation, claiming that a wide spectrum of pathology, including autism, sociopathy and sudden infant death syndrome might be attributed to previous immunisation. He might be right but he might equally be wrong. The point is that there is no sufficient evidence linking immunisation to any of these, or any other conditions. In fact autism was first described the year before mass immunisation was begun in the States. And there have been many other environmental changes over the same period. He falls into the logical trap: "Grass is Green; all that is Green must be Grass."
In an editorial by Dr John English in 1992, he says "Those who have accepted the arguments advanced against vaccination sometimes look to Homoeopathy to provide them with an alternative. There is anecdotal evidence that homoeopathic medicines are sometimes effective when used this way, although the system was never designed for such use. The problem is that the evidence remains anecdotal".
Dr English performed a study testing Pertussin, a homoeopathic medicine, in protection against whooping cough, but the results were "Not Proven," and now that the incidence of Whooping Cough is so low, is it not likely that it will be possible to mount a study that will give definite answers.
As with other branches of science, the sources of homoeopathy are quite clearly observation, deduction, theory and the practical testing of theory. It neither needs nor has a religious or metaphysical base, and practical decisions about management cannot be made on these premises. When it comes to immunisation, the question must be answered on the basis of scientific evidence.
To conclude I should like to quote Dr Peter Fisher, a consultant at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital: "We are in danger of breeding a generation of spoilt brats, who think that, just because they have never seen a case of polio or diphtheria, the disease never really existed. Of course, the real reason they have not seen a case is precisely that mass immunisation has been extremely successful."