Canadian Immunization Conference

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Canadian Immunization Conference
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 12:43pm

Is presently being held. I thought I would post some of the media coverage of it in this thread.


Of all things to avoid, Vaccination is not on the list


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Avoid! is one of the most common bits of advice heard these days. Avoid tap water. Avoid bottled water. Avoid butter. Avoid margarine. Avoid the sun. Avoid sweeteners. Avoid genetically modified foods. Avoid plastic bags. Avoid paper bags. Avoid preservatives. Avoid dairy.

Avoid meat. Avoid soy. Avoid ... ah, never mind. I could go on and on with a litany of such "avoids." There are some valid points to be made with some of these, but there is one "avoid" that I cannot stomach.

Advising parents to avoid childhood vaccination is scientifically unjustified and dangerous. Vaccination just may be the most significant medical advance in history.

It is difficult to estimate the number of lives saved, but it is in the many millions, to say nothing of the countless number of people who have been spared the misery of mumps, measles, whooping cough and polio. I can vouch for the agony of whooping cough myself. Feeling as if you are going to cough your lungs out is a memory that doesn't leave you easily.

I survived, but one of my Grade 2 classmates did not.

And how often can one say that a disease has been completely wiped off the face of the Earth by a medical intervention? The last case of smallpox was recorded in 1978. The World Health Organization estimates that in the 20th century, smallpox killed as many as 500 million people and that as recently as 1967 it was responsible for 2 million annual deaths.

Other vaccines may not have eradicated diseases, but they have curbed their incidence very significantly. Whooping cough cases in North America have declined from a pre-vaccination peak rate of about 300,000 per year to 10,000; measles from a million cases annually to a hundred. Diphtheria and polio are almost non-existent today in developed countries. The incidence of hepatitis B and tetanus have been reduced by a factor of 40, rubella by 200 and mumps by 400. The effectiveness of immunization is simply beyond argument. How can there be an issue here? How can some parents choose not to vaccinate their children?

The answer probably lies in a growing distrust of the "medical establishment," a discredited but widely publicized scientific study, inaccurate information being spread on the Internet, and a lack of understanding of the difference between an association and a cause-and-effect relationship.

Whether it is flying in airplanes, eating smoked meat, taking cholesterol-lowering medication or vaccination, there are always pluses and minuses to consider. There is no denying that immunization comes with some risk. Rashes, joint pain and fever are well documented, as are occasional lapses in the speed with which safety issues concerning vaccines have been addressed. Oral polio vaccines, which were more convenient to administer than the injected form, were responsible for actually causing the disease in rare cases. Yet 20 years passed before switching to the safer, injectable form. An infant vaccine against an intestinal infection striking roughly 4 million babies a year in North America was found to cause an increase in life-threatening cases of bowel collapse, and had to be abandoned. Although there is no scientific evidence linking the mercury-containing preservative thiomerosal to any disease, it probably should have been removed from vaccines more speedily when ill effects attributed to mercury in other contexts became apparent.

Vaccines in a sense are becoming victims of their success. As memories of the horrors of the original diseases that they prevent fade, more attention is being focused on possible harmful side effects. One can judge the progress of society by looking at its worries.

Instead of having to be concerned about millions dying from smallpox or coming down with measles or whooping cough, we worry about the possibility of vaccination being linked with some cases of autism. That suggestion was raised in 1998 by a paper published in the British medical journal The Lancet. Andrew Wakefield and 12 colleagues claimed that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine caused a bowel disease that caused autism.

The report received extensive publicity and triggered public demonstrations against mandatory vaccination. Most scientists were skeptical of the Wakefield study, and their skepticism was borne out by the results of an investigation published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Danish researchers had examined immunization records and autism diagnoses for all children born between 1991 and 1998 and found that unvaccinated children were just as likely to be diagnosed with autism as those who had received immunizations.

The Lancet study was further discredited when it was revealed that Wakefield had failed to disclose receiving a large grant from a group of lawyers who were looking for ammunition in a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers. In the end, 10 of Wakefield's co-authors retracted their support of the original research, saying that in retrospect the results as reported were not valid.

Other studies around the world refuted the link between vaccines and autism but a vocal group of anti-vaccine advocates maintains that a witch hunt has been organized against Wakefield to protect vaccination interests. Humbug. The fact is that autism commonly shows up roughly at the same age that vaccines are given, and an association can readily be mistaken for a cause-and-effect relationship. But even if there really were a link between autism and vaccination, the benefits overwhelm the risks.

In Britain, the consequences of the vaccine scare are already being seen with rising rates of mumps, rubella and measles.

Many homeopaths advise their patients to avoid vaccines in lieu of a cacophony of implausible homeopathic medications.

If you are looking for something to avoid, how about this silly and dangerous advice?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Tue, 12-02-2008 - 10:31am

Amen :)

We adore our classical hahnemannian homeopath!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-18-2007
Tue, 12-02-2008 - 10:14am


Homeopathy is not ridiculed in the UK and other parts in the East as it it in the West.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2008
Tue, 12-02-2008 - 8:26am
From my personal experience, and my personal experience alone, I'd have to disagree - speaking from experience with the flu vaccine - that left me with the symptoms for approximately 2-3 weeks (although I really am unclear of what the difference is between the flu and flu-like symptoms) but anyway, during the peak of the flu season and foregoing the vaccination, I took my doctor's advice and doubled up on Vitamin D - no flu or flu like symptoms.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2006
Tue, 12-02-2008 - 6:19am

If you are looking for something to avoid, how about this silly and dangerous advice?>


Thanks for this well-written article.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2008
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 1:33pm

All hypothetically speaking....

Let us pretend for the sake of argument that sanitation, water purification and simple hygeine did in fact (which we can prove) brought down mortality in diseases, but, vaccines did eradicate them (this is what cannot be proven), but let us pretend that this is how it happened....

Is there any studies on the cause and effect of disabilities (and everything else associated)


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 12:45pm

Butler-Jones says docs and nurses should walk the walk and get a flu shot

18 hours ago

TORONTO — Canada's chief public health officer took aim at health-care professionals who refuse to get flu shots on Sunday, suggesting those who press the public to get vaccinated against diseases ought to do so themselves.

Dr. David Butler-Jones made the comments at the Canadian Immunization Conference, a gathering of public health practitioners and researchers staged annually by the Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with public health groups.

"We even have difficulty getting more than 50 per cent of doctors and nurses to be immunized against the flu. Yet it's usually us who take it (influenza) into the nursing home or the hospital and then spread it from person to person, effectively killing some of those that we're caring for," Butler-Jones said.

"I think it should be obvious that those who we rely on to deliver immunization should actually believe in it," he said.

Health-care professionals are among the most likely people in a population to encounter influenza in the run of a winter, coming face-to-face with sick people on a daily basis. And because they work in a culture which in the past frowned upon calling in sick, those who catch the flu may work while ill, effectively passing it on to patients.

But despite those facts, health-care professionals have shown a remarkable reluctance to embrace flu shots. Public health and infection control officials have tried a variety of tacks, including offering the chance to win prizes for staff who take flu shots.

Some in the field have even raised the notion of making flu shots mandatory for health-care workers - a suggestion that meets with instant push-back from unions representing health-care professionals.

A bid by the Ontario government to require paramedics to get an annual flu shot led to labour disruptions in 2002, with the government of the day eventually backing down.

Butler-Jones also reminded the conference that immunizations are one of the most cost effective of public health measures, saving countless lives and preventing untold amounts of disease.

But their success makes them vulnerable, he warned, noting that some parents who have never seen a case of smallpox or worried about the threat of polio now fear vaccines more than they fear allowing their children to go unvaccinated.

Infectious diseases that are now rarely seen in Canada could be seen again, Butler-Jones said, noting the long outbreak of mumps that swept the country as an example.

"If the diseases that vaccines protect against, like polio, rubella and pertussis are distant memories - at least here - then recent outbreaks of mumps and imported measles should serve as reminders that we really are only a few years away from major measles epidemics or other disease epidemics if we don't maintain vigilance."

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-14-2005
Mon, 12-01-2008 - 12:44pm

Canadian Immunization Conference Highlights Innovation, Education and Partnership

Last update: 2:00 p.m. EST Nov. 30, 2008

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Nov 30, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Recent outbreaks of mumps and measles around the country demonstrate that unless we protect against them, vaccine preventable diseases can threaten public health in Canada. In order to address this and other emerging issues in immunization, more than 1,000 of Canada's leaders in the field, including researchers, policy makers, medical experts and front-line workers, gather in Toronto this week for the 8th Canadian Immunization Conference.

"Immunization saves more lives than any other public health intervention," said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, "Recent reports of declining immunization rates show us that it's more important than ever for us to come together to discuss strategies for protecting Canadians through immunization, and that's why the Government of Canada is proud to support this Conference."

Hosted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Public Health Association, and the Canadian Association for Immunization Research and Evaluation, the bi-annual conference is focusing on Innovation, Education and Partnership, three key elements needed to continue the successful history of immunization in Canada.

"Immunization is highly effective in preventing disease," said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, "In order to provide maximum protection, we need to ensure Canadians recognize the importance of keeping their immunizations up-to-date."
Many recommended immunizations are administered in childhood to protect against diseases that were once common in childhood, like mumps, measles, whooping cough and chicken pox.

"All children should have the opportunity grow up to lead happy, healthy and productive lives," said Dr. Joanne Embree, President of the Canadian Paediatric Society. "As such, all children should have access to the safe and effective vaccines that can protect them against disease."

All levels of Canadian government, non-government organizations, and public health organizations work together to implement immunization programs and to address issues around immunization.

"This conference is a great opportunity for us to share our successes and identify our challenges as we develop new initiatives to help safeguard the personal and community health of Canadians and people around the world," said Ron de Buger, Chair of the Canadian Public Health Association.

One of the ways the Conference allows participants to share their knowledge is through the presentation of emerging research in the immunization field.

"Research from the bench to program implementation ensures that Canadians have access to the best possible immunization programs," said Dr. David Scheifele, Chair of the Canadian Association for Immunization Research, and Evaluation and Professor of Paediatrics specializing in Infectious Diseases.

The Canadian Immunization Conference is being held from November 30- December 3 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. For more information, including a conference program, please visit:{9A24996F-A4BD-4BCE-A9D6-B498C9BFC56F}