By Suzanne Humphries, MD
“…health is not sacrosanct or free from vested interests. The traditional grandeur of the learned profession of medicine cannot be taken for granted. It has to be earned by every new generation of physicians.”
Nephrologists are in the position of overseeing the health of patients with inflammatory kidney diseases of unknown origin, autoimmune disorders, and acute and chronic kidney diseases of many etiologies. A nephrologist is a specialist consultant and the patients we see are often referred by family doctors and internal medicine physicians. Several doctors who routinely refer patients to me have unquestioningly accepted the idea that “vaccines are safe for everyone” and the “benefit outweighs the small risk.” They inquired about my reasoning to withhold vaccinations in sick kidney patients.
Until I did my own research, I was also uninformed and accepted vaccines as safe and effective. Doctors do not receive any education on vaccine composition and the potential adverse effects. In medical training, we were told that patients should receive the vaccine schedule, and were assured that vaccines are safe and effective, except perhaps in a very small minority of people – maybe one in a million.
Information given to doctors about the 200-year history of vaccination is limited to carefully selected sound-bites that pre-empt any concerns. We were led to believe that vaccines are solely responsible for the eradication of infectious diseases such as smallpox. Most accepted, without question or personal study, that vaccines greatly reduced illnesses and are a benefit to overall human health. Few know that the mortality for “vaccine preventable diseases” had massively declined before the vaccine campaigns began. In Figure 1 (at end), it is painfully obvious that the mortality of diseases for infectious disease regressed to nearly undetectable levels in the population – long before vaccines were introduced.
Patients with acute and chronic illnesses are focus groups to be heavily vaccinated even though vaccines have barely been tested for safety or long-term consequences in these populations. Most doctors and patients assume that vaccines are simply a solution of sterile saline and “dead” microorganisms. They are not aware of the manufacturing process to make a vaccine, the contents in the vial, or the potential risks of each component. Doctors wrongly assume that vaccines “protect” their patients from disease, without any adverse consequences on their health, and that vaccinated people won’t get that disease.
Other than vaccines, is there any other drug or biological, that is given across-the-board to all comers, without regard for health status, age, or risk of aggravating an existing illness? Given the conflict of interest among members of the major vaccine-promoting committees, vaccines fall into a category that deserves independent study by health care providers.
Every patient should be informed about the potential risks of vaccination and the lack of evidence that vaccines will not harm them over the long-term. Patients have a personal right to choose – and refuse. Their informed choices should be respected. But in order for them to be informed, the person informing them would have to be informed – and doctors are not informed.