Homeopathic Vaccines, what are they?

Many individuals who take a pro-vaccine stance blame homeopaths for the decreasing rates of vaccination in modern community. People believe that homeopaths are influencing their patients to stop the use of conventional vaccines and rather use ‘nosodes’, or homeopathic vaccines. However, a study conducted in May 2016 aimed to evaluate the stance that many homeopaths take on the administration of conventional vaccines. Their survey found that there was one important factor in determining whether an individual was pro- or anti-vaccine, and that was whether they were medically qualified or not. In this survey they found that medically qualified homeopaths suggest following the conventional vaccination schedule as outlined by the government, while non-medically qualified homeopaths advocate for the use of nosodes or homeopathic vaccines. So, what are nosodes?

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Figure 1: Vaccination vs Nosodes

Nosodes are a homeopathic preparation that involves the serial dilution of a tissue that is infected by the bacteria or virus of choice. The infected material can come from a range of infected human tissues or bodily fluids. One procedure known to be used is taking the infected materials, sterilizing them using alcohol and diluted multiple times by a factor of 100 until they are at a non-infectious concentration. It is important to know that there are no guidelines or specific rules for how nosodes should be prepared. More than 45 nosodes have been in use since the 1830s, but do they work and can they be used as an alternative to conventional vaccines? In recent years, the use of nosodes has increased in popularity with the rise of the anti-vaccination movement, with many parents opting for the use of nosodes instead of conventional vaccines, with many families deciding not to vaccinate at all.

The important thing to know about nosodes, is that there isn’t much scientific evidence behind the preparation, efficacy, or safety of using them. Some studies have aimed at evaluate the efficacy of the Tularaemia nosode in comparison to the conventional Tularaemia vaccine, with findings showing the nosodes for Tularaemia only provided protection in 22% of the tested population, while the conventional vaccine was found to provide 100% protection. The reason why some individuals choose to use nosodes rather than conventional vaccines, is that they have fears surrounding the ingredients contained within vaccines and whether they are necessary and safe. Hovever conventional vaccines have to go through an extensive period of testing before they are allowed to be produced and given to the public, this testing ensures that there is a minimal risk of harm and maximal benefit. It is important to know that nosodes do not go through such rigorous testing the ensure their safety and effectiveness before release. There are still various reason why people can’t or choose not to use conventional vaccines, some of which will be discussed in later post, so stay tuned for more information!

Image result for vaccine ingredientsFigure 2: Common Ingredients present in Conventional Vaccines

If you are interested in finding out how vaccines work, please watch the video below and please feel free to comment if you have any questions!

How do Vaccines Work?

References

  1.       Eizayaga JE, Waisse S. What do homeopathic doctors think of vaccines? An international online survey. Homeopathy [internet], 2016 May [Cited 2017 Feb 14]; 105(2): 180 – 185. Available from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/science/article/pii/S1475491615000843
  2.       Nieman P. The dangers of homeopathic vaccines. Calgary Herald [internet], 2014 April 10 [Cited 2017 Feb 14]. Available from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/docview/1515174111?accountid=14681&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo
  3.       Joshi S, Mukerjee S, Vaidya S, Talele G, Chowdhary A, Shah R. Preparation, standardization and in vitro safety testing of Mycobacterium nosodes (Emtact-polyvalent nosode). Homeopathy [internet], 2016 Aug [Cited 2017 Feb 14]; 105(3): 225-232. Available from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/science/article/pii/S1475491616000175
  4.       Rieder MJ, Robinson JL. ‘Nosodes’ are no substitute for vaccines. Paediatric Child Health [internet], 2015 May [Cited 2017 Feb 14]; 20(4): 219–220. Available from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/docview/1685380342?accountid=14681&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo
  5.       Jonas WB. Do homeopathic nosodes protect against infection? An experimental test. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine [internet], 1999 Sep [Cites 2017 Feb 14]; 5.5: 36-40. Available from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.uwa.edu.au/docview/204813254?OpenUrlRefId=info:xri/sid:primo&accountid=14681
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