Vaccine. 2001 Oct; 20 Suppl 1(): S90-3; discussion S89.
Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination.
Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, 25 Victoria Park Road, EX2 4NT, Exeter, UK. [email protected]
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become a popular form of healthcare and the predictions are that, it will increase further. The reasons for this level of popularity are highly diverse, and much of the motivation to turn to CAM pertains to a deeply felt criticism of mainstream medicine - many people (are led to) believe that conventional interventions, including immunisation, are associated with the potential to do more harm than good. Thus, it is hardly surprising that CAM also lends support to the "anti-vaccination movement". In particular, sections of the chiropractors, the (non-medically trained) homoeopaths and naturopaths tend to advise their clients against immunisation. The reasons for this attitude are complex and lie, at least in part in the early philosophies which form the basis of these professions. The negative attitude of some providers of CAM towards immunisation constitutes an important example of indirect risks associated with this form of healthcare. The best way forward, it seems, would be a campaign to clarify the risk-benefit profile of immunisations for both users and providers of CAM.