Two weeks ago, Canadian Skeptics United published on their Skeptic North site a piece by an Ontario pharmacist criticizing a proposal by the province to grant limited prescribing rights to naturopaths. The essay, which was reprinted in the National Post on Tuesday, outlines the intellectual and practical conundrum presented by allowing those with education that diverges from science-based practices to prescribe drugs.
The naturopath lobby came out in force and was relatively unopposed in the 54 comments that followed, primarily because the NP closes comments 24 hours after online posting. Therefore, those with a more rational and considered viewpoint based in facts were locked out from commenting. This is quite disappointing to me personally and professionally because of the wildly emotional appeals, strawman arguments, and smears and attacks on the author himself without, of course, addressing his well-founded criticism of the prescribing proposal before the provincial government.
At the Skeptic North post, the piece even drew a naturopath who equated the criticism of his/her field with the Nazis and Mussolini. However, you can’t write critiques of these practices without attracting attacks ad hominem, especially Godwin’s Law, that are the resort of those whose arguments are logically flawed.
I am just a parent with some questions about vaccine safety and was happy to find your website. I have noticed that the Scandinavian countries do not routinely recommend HepB vaccination unless the mother is a known carrier. I did not see this addressed anywhere on your website and I hope you or one of your colleagues might consider discussing the reasons that some advanced countries are not routinely giving this particular vaccine. Thank you.”
Vaccination is a complicated and at times confusing topic that generates a large number of quite reasonable questions by parents like the one above. At the same time, the ever-wandering aim of the anti-vaccinationist movement appears once again to be falling on the vaccine against Hepatitis B, and I’ve heard them pose this very question with the intent of sowing doubt in the current vaccination schedule. Regardless of the source, this question is clearly on the mind of some parents, and I am happy to answer it.
As usual, this question has quite a bit to parse out. I think it may be most helpful to examine why we vaccinate against Hepatitis B the way we do in the US, how most countries in the world approach the problem, and finally examine the reason why eight European countries do not universally vaccinate against HBV. First things first though: what is Hepatitis B?