Province directs removal of anti-vaccine posts that broke B.C. rules for chiropractors
Vice-chair of chiropractors' college among practitioners who have taken down Facebook posts
Several anti-vaccination posts made by B.C. chiropractors — including a video created by the vice-chair of the chiropractic college — have been removed from Facebook at the request of the provincial government.
The social media posts by chiropractors in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna were taken down after CBC pointed them out to the ministry of health last week. Another seven posts by the Victoria practitioner were removed after CBC contacted the College of Chiropractors of B.C.
College policy forbids chiropractors from making recommendations about vaccination.
In an email, ministry spokesperson Laura Heinze wrote: "The specific posts that you were referring to have been raised with the college, and the college has quickly acted to reach out to the registrant[s] in question to reiterate this position and remove the posts."
The college policy on immunization, which was approved in May 2015, states that the scope of practice for chiropractors does not include prevention or treatment of infectious disease.
"British Columbia chiropractors must not provide any professional advice or counselling to patients in relation to vaccination issues," the policy reads. That includes information on public websites.
Ministry notified about post last fall
Nonetheless, the longtime vice-chair of the college's board, Avtar Jassal, posted a video in November suggesting fruit smoothies are more effective at preventing influenza than vaccination.
"I'm going to say that, you know what? As you're talking about the best way to protect yourself from the flu, it's not the flu shot, in our opinion, but boosting your immune system. One of the ways to do that is fresh smoothies and fresh juices," Jassal said in the live video, filmed inside a Whole Foods grocery store in Vancouver.
Watch the video of Avtar Jassal suggesting fruit smoothies are more effective at preventing influenza than vaccinations by clicking here:
Jassal has not responded to phone calls or emails requesting comment, and his entire Facebook page appears to have been taken down.
CBC isn't the first to point out Jassal's video about vaccines.
A member of the public complained to the ministry about Jassal's video shortly after it was posted, as well as a handful of posts by other members of the college's board. The other posts were taken down in response to that complaint, but Jassal's video remained up.
Heinze said Jassal's video was "missed last year when the page was reviewed."
Post links vaccines to cancer
Meanwhile, at least eight anti-vaccine posts on the Facebook page for Victoria chiropractor Corey Renaud's Back in Line Chiropractic & Massage have been removed in the last week.
Those include a video that asked "Can vaccine ingredients cause cancer?" and links to articles suggesting "Vaccine-related shoulder injuries are increasing" and "vaccinated children have more health problems than unvaccinated children."
A third clinic, Kettle Valley Family Chiropractic in Kelowna, shared a video in August from something called the Immunity Education Group, purporting to expose "the real dangers of injected aluminum."
The clinic, owned by chiropractor Todd Webb, posted the video with the comment "Quality Study!"
Neither Webb nor Renaud has responded to requests for comment.
CBC has reached out to the college multiple times by phone and email for comment on how it is enforcing its policy on vaccination, and whether any disciplinary action has been taken against chiropractors who violate that policy. The college has not responded.
Still, the province says the regulator has been responsive to its concerns about anti-vaccination rhetoric within the practice.
"The ministry has worked closely with the College of Chiropractors of B.C. in the past on the issue of ensuring that registered chiropractors were aware that immunizations were outside of their scope of practice, and that as such, they were not to be counselling patients on these issues, and we continue to do so," Heinze wrote.
She said the government "is confident that the college is acting in the interests of the public, and continues to work to ensure that all registrants are aware of their responsibilities under the Health Professions Act."
- A previous version of this story referred to a Vancouver Sun article that suggested Health Minister Adrian Dix was questioning self-regulation in the health-care professions. That suggestion was incorrect.May 04, 2018 11:27 AM PT