Published DateTo the editor,
In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of debate in the editorial pages of The Sun about chiropractic and the immune system. There are some, including a chiropractor, who maintain that vaccination is not needed for immunity to disease but only chiropractic manipulation. This is irresponsible. There is no real evidence that chiropractic confers immunity and any chiropractor who claims it does is acting irresponsibly, especially when he or she condemns childhood immunizations.
This is certainly not to say that there are no good chiropractors. I have gone to excellent chiropractors to whom I was referred by an M.D. As long as they stick to treating muscular and skeletal issues, they are practicing responsible medicine It is when they claim that chiropractic is good for almost anything that they are practicing quackery and thus endangering the health of individuals and the public. Such chiropractors are practicing pseudoscience, not science. They should be disciplined for malpractice and if their advice or treatment results in someone's death or injury, they should be sued.
In the past century or more, humankind has succeeded in eliminating many diseases which previously often ended in the death of the patient. How has modern, scientific medicine accomplished this? With antibiotics and VACCINES! One can always point to some rare side effect or to a bad batch of vaccine but the reality is that we are far healthier with vaccines than without them.
Another recent writer to The Sun was encouraging parents to "opt out" of having their children vaccinated before starting school. I realize that schools allow this but I am not so sure they should. I am not so sure that parents have a "right" to not vaccinate their kids against childhood diseases that used to commonly kill children. I think that like any right, "parental rights" have limitations. In this case, perhaps the rights of the child have a better claim than the rights of the parents.
I realize that some do not vaccinate for religious reasons. People who have reached the age of majority have that right. Parents also have the right to raise their kids in their faith but there are also reasonable limitations on this right. Parents cannot deny a minor life-saving medical treatment even if that is what their religion teaches. Why should they be allowed to not vaccinate their kids?
Public schools should be allowed to demand childhood vaccination. If any exceptions are made, then the parents should homeschool their kids or send them to a private school.
Could there be a link between American students having some of the world's lowest science scores and adults who promote pseudo-science as "science?"
E. Scott Cracraft