This book review is reprinted with the permission of the International Foundation for Homeopathy
PO Box 7
Edmonds, WA 98020
The Immunization Decision: A Guide for Parents
by Randall Neustaedter
The Family Health Series, North Atlantic Books, and Homeopathic Educational Services, Berkeley, California.
1990, paperback, 115 pages
Reviewed by Andrew Lockie
The debate about the cost/benefit ratio of immunizations in the orthodox medical establishment may have effectively been silenced in the UK with the introduction of government cash incentives for GPs to stick a needle in anyone who breathes, but it is far from over in the homeopathic and naturopathic world. This American book has been written with the guilt ridden parent in mind. The basic dilemma for every parent is whether she would be better able to cope with a loved one suffering permanent brain damage, or a similar catastrophe, as a result of a preventable childhood illness or as a result of an immunization which the parent has inflicted on him. Questions of herd immunity simply do not enter into it although this is the overriding concern for the health chiefs.
One of the first questions to be asked, therefore, is not just whether it is possible to eradicate these relatively minor diseases, but whether it is actually desirable. Certainly smallpox has been eradicated world wide, but now we have AIDS and Chaitow has raised the intriguing possibility that this may be linked to attempts to do the same for polio.
1 Nature cure philosophy, moreover, has taught us that these childhood illnesses, if properly managed, are an important part of our bodies' "toning up" of the immune system, and therefore, to deny the defenses a good fight may be to leave them weaker against a more sinister opponent at a later date. This view is reflected in Moskowitz's theory that live virus particles may enter into cells and lie dormant, only to emerge at a time in the future when the body's defenses are weaker, leading to an auto immune disease as the immune system rips into its own tissues.
2 When we add the warnings of Vithoulkas about multiple sclerosis and the concerns of Coulter about minimal brain damage we have a strong case in theory for urging caution. At the present time, unfortunately, it is only theory and there are no hard facts with which to confront the orthodox position.
This little book goes a long way to clarify the issues involved for the parent. The chapter on conventional vaccines is very clear and the author, who is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine practicing homeopathic pediatrics in California, takes the view that nosodes should not replace constitutional prescribing as the means of protecting children from the worst ravages of the childhood diseases. Each immunization is described in detail along with its associated disease, and recommendations are made as to whether to immunize or not. Invariably the parent is advised against.
This, I believe, is the weak point of the book because it makes it appear more of a propaganda tract than a well balanced work. I feel our strongest case can be made against the live vaccines, especially since, taking measles as an example, there is no long-term, follow up controlled trial, looking for side effects, in existence anywhere in the world. The longest such trial lasted seven years and the MRC (Measles Sub-committee), which has been going on for 27 years, is only looking at antibody levels. With the knowledge we have of slow viruses, this must surely rank as sloppy scientific work of the worst kind. Unfortunately, we will not know whether they have got away with it until the main degenerative conditions start to peak in 10-20 years time and we can see if their incidence is rising, unless Coulter et al. can prove their suspicions. Readers of this review may be interested in the French position as outlined in abstract form in the July British Homoeopathic Journal.
3 All in all it is a horrible dilemma but, until it is resolved, I will continue to advise parents only against the live injected vaccines and will give a homeopathic antidote after the others. This position is discussed in greater detail in my own book.
4 For parents who are interested only in the immunization decision and not homeopathy in general, this book makes a good starting point for discussion.
1. L. Chaitow, Vaccination and Immunization: Dangers, Delusions and Alternatives. C. W. Daniel 1987.
2. Richard Moskowitz, "The Case Against
Immunization" in The Homoeopath; 1984, 4:4, pp. 114-141.
3. J. E. Poncet, "Nosodes et immunization" in L'Homoeopathie Francaise; 1989; 77: pp. 56-60. Abstracted in: BrHomJ. 1990; 79: 3, pp. 183-184.
4. Andrew Lockie; The Family Guide to Homoeopathy. Hamish Hamilton 1989.
Harris Coulter, "The Pertussis Vaccine: a Strong Contra View"; in The Homoeopath; 1985, 5: 1, pp. 32-37.
Harris Coulter & Barbara Loe Fisher, DPT-A Shot in the Dark, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (Hbk) 1985, & Warner (Pbk) 1986, (reviewed in The Homoeopath; 1986, 6: 1, pp. 33-39).
Harris Coulter, Vaccination, Social Violence and criminality: the Medical Assault on the American Brain, North Atlantic Books & Wehawken Book Company, 1990.
Walene James, Immunization, The Reality behind the Myth, Bergin & Garvey 1988, (reviewed in The Hompeopath; 1989,9:1, pp. 307-309).
Randall Neustaedter, "Measles and Homoeopathic Immunizations" in The Homoeopath; 1990,10:2, pp. 31-32 & p. 42.
A Society of Homoeopaths leaflet: Vaccination Difficult Decision (available from their office in England.)
Andrew Lockie, MRCGP DObst MFHom, practices in Guildford, Surrey. He spoke of ids experiences as a "radio doctor" at the 1990 Society Day.
From The Homoeopath, 1990 10:4, forth-coming, editor Francis Treuherz; copies and subscriptions available from The Society of Homoeopaths, 2 Artizan Road Northampon
NNI 4HU England.
RESONANCE NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1990