Saturday, July 07, 2018

Are Doctors "Experts" When it Comes to Vaccines?

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?
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 unique. And it’s not like Dr. Palevsky attended a little known medical school without a good reputation. In 2015, NYU Medical School was ranked 14th among the top medical schools (research) in the United States.3 
Suzanne Humphries, MD, board-certified in nephrology and family medicine,4 echoes Dr. Palevsky’s experience medical school:
Do you know how much doctors learn about vaccines in medical school? When we participate in pediatrics training, we learn that vaccines need to be given on schedule. We learn that smallpox and polio were eliminated by vaccines. We learn that there’s no need to know how to treat diphtheria, because we won’t see it again anyway. We are indoctrinated with the mantra that ‘vaccines are safe and effective’—neither of which is true.
Doctors today are given extensive training on how to talk to ‘hesitant’ parents—how to frighten them by vastly inflating the risks during natural infection. They are trained on the necessity of twisting parents’ arms to conform, or fire them from their practices.  Doctors are trained that nothing bad should be said about any vaccine, period.5 
Dr. Humphries received her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine4 in Philadelphia, PA. But almost everything she has learned about vaccines has come from her own independent study and research. She co-authored the book Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History, published in 2013.6 
Then there’s Bob Sears, MD, another board-certified pediatrician who also had to largely educate himself about vaccine science. He received his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC and authored the book The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, published in 2011.7 According to Dr. Sears:
Doctors, myself included, learn a lot about diseases in medical school, but we learn very little about vaccines, other than the fact that the FDA and pharmaceutical companies do extensive research on vaccines to make sure they are safe and effective. We don’t review the research ourselves. We never learn what goes into making vaccines or how their safety is studied. We trust and take it for granted that the proper researchers are doing their job. So, when patients want a little more information about shots, all we can really say as doctors is that the diseases are bad and the shots are good. But we don’t know enough to answer all of your detailed questions about vaccines, nor do we have the time during a regular health check up to thoroughly discuss and debate the pros and cons of vaccines.8 
Biochemist Boyd Haley, PhD, a former professor in the College of Pharmacy and Chair of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, has expressed dismay at the lack of instruction in toxicology doctors are given in medical school. He says…
I can tell you, having been in a medical center, having taught biochemistry to medical students, and talking to hundreds of medical doctors, they get very little training in toxicology… I mean, no courses that are specifically designed, such as a PhD student in toxicology would have, or a PhD student in biochemistry. They don’t understand it at all. They are not trained to evaluate the toxic effects of chemicals, especially at the research level. One, they don’t do research programs, they don’t have the insight that’s developed and required for someone writing a PhD thesis in toxicology or biochemistry of materials that inhibit enzymes. They just don’t understand the science and the chemistry at that level. And certainly pediatricians don’t.14 
So we know that medical students get little or no exposure to vaccine science in school. 

Marcia Angell sums it up well:

“If drug companies and medical educators were really providing education, doctors and academic institutions would pay them for their services. When you take piano lessons, you pay the teacher, not the other way around. But in this case, industry pays the academic institutions and faculty, and even the doctors who take the courses. The companies are simply buying access to medical school faculty and to doctors in training and practice.” [4]

A survey of pediatricians showed that 72.9 percent of parents refuse vaccines because they are afraid they cause autism, 61.5 percent because they aren’t sure the vaccines are safe (they’re too new or haven’t been tested enough), and 59.7 percent because they feel children get too many during the first 2 years. (That’s what I call progress!) With this in mind, is it any wonder that the emphasis on vaccine education for doctors is how to handle “vaccine-hesitant” parents?

​"...When we're studying medicine, we are clueless of what's in those vaccines. We are not taught what's in those vaccines. We are just taught what the schedule is like and that's what we go by.  Unless we go at it on our own and we decide to start looking at those inserts;  and to really start looking at what they document as side effects; to really start listening to our parents and let them be the one guiding us letting us know what happened with the last set of vaccines; that's what we should be paying attention to."

Ramon Ramos, MD

Six doctors who have administered vaccines in their practice answer one question. When you were in medical school, how much education regarding vaccines was provided before you were permitted to administer them? The only thing we learned in school was that there was a program today and that we should follow that vaccine program. As for the vaccine itself and the contents in the vaccines, no we didn’t study that. We assumed that what the pharmaceutical [companies], what they did and the CDC accepted, that that’s the way it is. We got a lot of microbiology, we learned about diseases, and we learned that vaccines were the solution to those diseases, what they say are “vaccine-preventable”… that’s certainly the term used in my world. But actually what was in the vaccines I don’t remember really learning anything.
Maybe the problem isn’t mothers who don’t believe in science; maybe the problem is that medical schools have stopped teaching the science to doctors.

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