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Comments on the AANP Position
on Childhood Vaccinations

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians position statement on childhood vaccinations advocates "informed consent," "more research," and "parental choice. These may sound legitimate, but the real message is an unbalanced attack on immunization based on delusional philosophy rather than science. The prevailing scientific view is that a few minor problems exist and are being addressed, but the benefits of immunization are so much greater than the risks that immunization should be universal. (In other words, the public health value of immunization is so well established that it would be senseless to debate whether or not it is worthwhile.) In contrast, the AANP paper exaggerates the risks and suggests that "some" of the current vaccinations are ineffective.

CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS

WHEREAS the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is a strong proponent of preventive medicine and of the protection of children and adults from
the serious consequences of infectious disease;

WHEREAS naturopathic physicians, as primary care providers, are morally obliged and legally mandated to uphold and carry out the public health laws and should be
authorized to administer vaccinations in all jurisdictions where naturopathic licensure is available;

WHEREAS all physicians are ethically obliged to give parents accurate and current information on both the benefits and risks of childhood vaccinations, i.e., parental
"informed consent," such as required by the public health clinics of the United States Public Health Service; and,

WHEREAS it is well documented that some of the current childhood vaccinations have been associated with significant morbidity and are of variable efficacy and necessity.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that it is the position of the AANP that:

I. Safer, more effective vaccinations should be developed, and more research should be conducted on possible short-term and long-term adverse effects of vaccines
currently in use.

II. All physicians should be attentive to the proper use of vaccines, avoid their administration to individuals with conditions that contraindicate their use, and accurately chart
the vaccination, including parental refusal for any vaccines and any adverse effects.

III. All physicians should obtain from parents signed informed consent by providing printed information describing the risks of the infectious diseases, the risks and
benefits of childhood vaccinations and other options. Consent forms describing such information should be provided in a form and manner which would allow responsible
parents to make informed decisions regarding the vaccination of their children.

IV. All physicians should respect that the parents or guardian have both the responsibility and freedom to decide within the range of options provided for by state law
whether or not their children should receive vaccinations.

-- Adopted by the House of Delegates of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at its Annual Meeting, September 1991.

 
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This article was posted on December 29, 2001.