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Updates: The most complete version of and any updates to this article are available at the website of

International Journal of Human Nutrition and

Functional Medicine

®

http://intjhumnutrfunctmed.org/

ISSN 2378-4881. Copyright © by author.

Citation: Cáceres M. Doctors Are No Experts on Vaccines.

Int J Hum Nutr Funct Med

2016: epub in press

International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

www.ICHNFM.org

Perspectives

• Public Health • Paradigms and Models of Medicine • Psychology • Sociology

Doctors Are Not Experts on Vaccines

Marco Cáceres, Managing Editor of

The Vaccine Reaction

Doctors are not experts in vaccines

There is a common belief that doctors are “experts” on

vaccines and vaccination. Almost nothing could be farther

from the truth. The average medical doctor, for example,

may not know the names of the ingredients in vaccines, or

what they are and how they interact with each other. The

average doctor giving people vaccines may not know how

vaccines affect the immune system or the central nervous

system or the gut microbiome of the intestinal system, or

how the effect of vaccines on one of these systems could,

in turn, impact one or both of the others.

Yet, we are conditioned to accept as fact that our family

doctors, our pediatricians and obstetricians, and the other

specialists we occasionally consult or seek medical care

from always know what they’re talking about when it

comes to the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. We are

taught not to contradict, or even question, doctors about

vaccines because it is

they

, not

us

, who know best.

We have assumed that doctors receive a great deal of

instruction and training in the science of vaccination in

medical school, and then even more schooling during their

subsequent internships and residencies. After all, if you’re

going to be acknowledged as an expert in something, you

need to have much more than just a passing introduction

to a subject, or one or two courses in it or something

related to it.

You would think that for doctors to be considered

vaccine experts, they would have taken vaccinology

courses during medical school and know a lot about how

affect immune and brain function, including what science

does and does not know about vaccine ingredients and the

biological factors that increase the side effects of vaccines.

But that does not appear to be the case.

More than likely, information on vaccinology in

medical and nursing schools is not concentrated within

specialized courses focusing on vaccine science. What

medical students learn appears to be dispersed within

other courses in specialized curriculums such as

immunology,

infectious

diseases, pediatrics,

pharmacology, pharmacovigilance and public health.

1

There is no question that the topic of vaccines comes

up occasionally in medical school. However, because the

science used to make vaccine policy is assumed to be

proven, and thus not up for question or debate, it does not

seem to merit an entire course devoted to it, much less an

exhaustive curriculum that provides new doctors with a

solid knowledge base they can rely upon when

recommending vaccines. So what exactly do doctors learn

in medical school with regard to vaccines and

vaccination?

Physicians’ experiences

Larry Palevksy, MD is a board-certified pediatrician.

He received his medical degree from the New York

University School of Medicine in New York City.

2

Here’s

what Dr. Palevsky has to say about his training in

vaccines…

When I went through medical school, I was taught that

vaccines were completely safe and completely

effective, and I had no reason to believe otherwise. All

the information that I was taught was pretty standard

in all the medical schools and the teachings and

scientific literature throughout the country. I had no

reason to disbelieve it. Over the years, I kept practicing

medicine and using vaccines and thinking that my

approach to vaccines was completely onboard with

everything else I was taught. But more and more, I kept

seeing that my experience of the world, my experience

in using and reading about vaccines, and hearing what

parents were saying about vaccines were very different

from what I was taught in medical school and my

residency training. … and it became clearer to me as I

read the research, listened to more and more parents,

and found other practitioners who also shared the

same concern that vaccines had not been completely

proven safe or even completely effective, based on the

literature that we have today. … It didn’t appear that

the scientific studies that we were given were actually

appropriately designed to prove and test the safety and

efficacy. It also came to my attention that there were

ingredients in there that were not properly tested, that

the comparison groups were not appropriately set up,

and that conclusions made about vaccine safety and

efficacy just did not fit the scientific standards that I

was trained to uphold in my medical school training.

2

Note Dr. Palevsky’s comment, “All the information that I

was taught was pretty standard in all the medical schools

and the teachings and scientific literature throughout the

country.” So it’s not like Dr. Palevsky’s experience was