Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, November 26, 2004

Chiropractors and vaccination

Chiropractors and vaccination: a historical perspective. Pediatrics 2000
PEDIATRICS Vol. 105 No. 4 April 2000, p. e43


Although there is overwhelming evidence to show that vaccination is a highly effective method of controlling infectious diseases, a vocal element of the chiropractic profession maintains a strongly antivaccination bias. Reasons for this are examined. The basis seems to lie in early chiropractic philosophy, which, eschewing both the germ theory of infectious disease and vaccination, considered disease the result of spinal nerve dysfunction caused by misplaced (subluxated) vertebrae. Although rejected by medical science, this concept is still accepted by a minority of chiropractors. Although more progressive, evidence-based chiropractors have embraced the concept of vaccination, the rejection of it by conservative chiropractors continues to have a negative influence on both public acceptance of vaccination and acceptance of the chiropractic profession by orthodox medicine.

Of course the chiropractors have responded in their typically paranoid way:

Statement in response to attacks by pediatric publications

Recently, there has been a concerted effort in the medical pediatrics community to malign and misrepresent chiropractic. Almost simultaneously, Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, published by the American Medical Association (AMA), have printed articles which attack chiropractic for its century-old positions relating to vaccinations and pediatric care.


Attitudes toward vaccination: a survey of Canadian chiropractic students
CMAJ • June 11, 2002; 166 (12)


Although the Canadian Chiropractic Association and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) endorse vaccination, the prevalence of anti-vaccination attitudes among Canadian chiropractors is unknown. This study describes the prevalence of anti-vaccination attitudes among Canadian chiropractic students.

An 11-item questionnaire about attitudes toward vaccination was distributed to students enrolled at CMCC during the 1999/2000 academic year. The responses for the 11 items were then summed to arrive at a total score ranging from 0 (most negative attitude toward vaccination) to 22 (most positive attitude toward vaccination). Respondents' perceptions of sources of vaccine information were also investigated.

Over 75% of the students (467 of 621) completed the questionnaire. Most students (53.3%) reported that in general they agreed with vaccination. This was especially true among first-year students (60.7%). However, among fourth year students, only 39.5% agreed with vaccination. The proportion of respondents who stated that they were against vaccination in general was 5 (4.5%) of 112 first-year students, 10 (8.3%) of 121 second-year students, 16 (13.9%) of 115 third-year students and 35 (29.4%) of 119 fourth-year students. The mean scores on the questionnaire were progressively lower with each higher year of study at the College. The mean survey scores for each year of study were first year, 15.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] 15.2–16.6); second year, 16.1 (95% CI 15.3–17.0); third year, 14.5 (95% CI 13.5–15.4); and fourth year, 12.8 (95% CI 11.7–13.9). The mean scores varied among year of study and were statistically significant using one-way ANOVA (p <>

Most CMCC students reported pro-vaccination attitudes, but there appeared to be an increase in anti-vaccination attitudes as students progressed through the CMCC program. This pattern was seen almost exclusively among students who relied primarily on informal sources of vaccine information rather than on core CMCC lectures or prior lectures at university.


Vaccination Issues: Putting Them in Proper Perspective
Dynamic ChiropracticMay 18, 1998, Volume 16, Issue 11

While no vaccine is 100 percent safe or effective, immunization has dramatically reduced the incidence of numerous diseases with high childhood morbidity to less than one percent of former levels in many countries, eradicated smallpox, and has saved countless millions of lives worldwide. Some members of the chiropractic profession are still unwilling to accept this fact despite overwhelming scientific evidence supporting it.21 This attitude by a small and outspoken minority contributes to an unwarranted but widespread impression that chiropractors have limited education, training or perspective in basic science and public health.22,23 We anticipate no change in this pattern until certain chiropractic organizations and institutions set their prejudices aside and work for the benefit of the public on the grounds of professional, objective and valid examination of the evidence for and against immunization.