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Homoeopathy and Immunisation

© Family Times
April 1998

Dr Wendy Isbell comments on the controversial issue of immunisation which has long been debated in the homoeopathic community.

I have been concerned by some current trends away from conventional immunisation, especially when these opinions are falsely related to homoeopathic practice; some people believe that immunisation is not necessary and that it can cause chronic poor health in children. There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case, and the illnesses that are prevented by immunisation are much more likely to cause ill health and long standing problems than are the immunisations.

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. Hahnemann, who developed homoeopathy, was a great friend of Jenner, who developed Smallpox vaccination, and actually approved of vaccination using Jenner's techniques.

I agree with Dr R.C. Hindle who wrote in the letter to the New Zealand Medical Journal in 1991: "there is…no homoeopathic equivalent to immunisation", and that "when there is no medical contraindication, immunisation should be carried out in the normal way using the conventional tested and approved vaccines."

An American author Harris Coulter has criticised that immunisation autism, sociopathy and sudden death syndrome, might be attributed to previous immunisation. He might be right, but he might equally be wrong.

The point is that there is not 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. There have been many other environmental changes over the same period. He falls into the logic trap: "grass is green; all that is green must be grass."

It has been noted that those who have accepted the arguments advanced against vaccination sometimes look to homoeopathy to provide them with an alternative. There is record of 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. As with other 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. I would 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 reason they have not seen a case is precisely that mass immunisation has been extremely successful."

Dr Wendy Isbell is a general practitioner, physician and homoeopath practising in Christchurch.

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