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CBC MARKETPLACE: YOUR HEALTH » VACCINATIONS
The vaccination debate: Chiropractors take aim
Broadcast: January 20, 2004
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Ted Koren
Ted Koren

Ted Koren is an American on a mission to warn people of what he calls the dangers from childhood vaccinations. He's not a disease specialist or a doctor.

He's a chiropractor.

Koren believes chiropractors should be telling their patients to stop vaccinating their children.

He took that message to a conference in Quebec City recently. Koren is so busy on the lecture circuit, he barely has time to treat people anymore.

"We have a whole generation of neurologically damaged kids as a result of vaccination; autism, ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, all these kids on Ritalin, asthma, allergies barely known before vaccination," Koren told Marketplace.

"It’s an explosion of these diseases since vaccination. And the more you vaccinate, the more you get these kids with these problems."

Koren is not alone in proselytizing against vaccinations. In Kingston, Ontario, we met another chiropractor who has been active in the anti-vaccination movement. Martha Collins makes no bones about her stance being controversial.

"I know this sounds wacko. It sounds wacko from the perspective that for fifty years we’ve vaccinated our children. For fifty years we’ve relied on this as our main line of defence. And that’s why we want to ensure that people make an informed decision about it."

Martha Collins
Martha Collins

Among Collins' patients are hundreds of children and some babies - like 18-month-old Ethan McKeown, in for an adjustment while his mother, Dyan, got a refresher on the vaccination debate.

"He was four days old when he had his first adjustment. Dr Martha actually came to our home and adjusted him here. And I can see the immune boost in him," Dyan McKeown said.

Dyan decided to listen to her chiropractor and not her family doctor on the topic of vaccination.

The Canadian Medical Establishment says the risk of serious side effects from vaccinations is tiny compared to the threat diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella can pose.

Major medical associations are big supporters of vaccinations. Health Canada calls the anti-vaccination movement misleading. The Canadian Chiropractic Association also supports childhood vaccination. It says the issue is outside the scope of a chiropractor's training.

Jason Busse agrees with the association. He's a medical researcher who has published studies on chiropractors and the anti-vaccination movement. He's annoyed by claims such as increasing rates of autism are linked to childhood vaccination.

"The reality is there have been very large comprehensive studies looking at hundreds of thousands of children that have had vaccines, looking to see if there’s any higher rates of autism in those groups than in children that have never had the vaccine and there simply isn’t. So there’s no evidence to support the view. I don’t know why certain chiropractors feel compelled to provide information on this treatment."

Jason Busse
Jason Busse

Busse is concerned about much of material the anti-vaccination movement relies on for information, including videos where parents - but rarely doctors - talk about serious conditions they believe were caused by vaccines.

"It gives a very, very small part of the overall picture," Busse said. "It’s like describing the entire airline industry based on one airplane crash."

Martha Collins told Marketplace there are more reasons than health care behind movements to vaccinate:

"I think there’s a huge economic issue here, I really do. And I am not speaking as a chiropractor, but I am speaking as Martha Collins, that the relationship between the health care system and the pharmaceutical companies is so great."

Ted Koren agrees.

"It’s in their interest, to tell people to vaccinate. The medical edifice is built on vaccination and medical procedures."

Medical researcher Jason Busse doesn't buy that argument.

"To suggest there is a conspiracy involving every physician, all medical associations, all nursing associations, every company that’s involved in every stage of vaccine development or manufacturing is I believe a gigantic leap of faith. And one that simply is not supported by any information that has been objectively acquired out there."

NEXT: Anti-vaccination movement: A growing concern »


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SHOT IN THE ARM: MAIN PAGE THE VACCINATION DEBATE: CHIRPRACTORS TAKE AIM ANTI-VACCINATION MOVEMENT: A GROWING CONCERN VACCINE MISCONCEPTIONS DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO BE IMMUNIZED? VACCINE POSITION STATEMENTS OF CHIROPRACTIC ORGANIZATIONS TIPS FOR EVALUATING VACCINATION WEBSITES RELATED LINKS
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CBC News Indepth: Vaccination: A grant of immunity

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Vaccinations (Health Matters - Newsworld, March 5, 2003)

Liability fears put smallpox vaccinations on hold (May 6, 2003)

Parents reluctant to vaccinate children (December 4, 2002)

Health Canada plans 500 smallpox vaccinations
(October 24, 2002)

Medical authorities worry over disinformation on web (June 27, 2002)

Lawyers sue over mercury in vaccines (October 3, 2001)

Province-wide child vaccinations proposed
(October 27, 2000)

Manitoba takes shots over hep-B vaccinations
(November 14, 1998)

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Reported Increase in Mumps Activity in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland - press release from the Public Health Agency of Canada (December 13, 2004)

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