« Too much salt? | Main | Harper's majority record after one year »


Are pediatricians going too far over immunization?

Welcome to this week's podcast. Here's what we're talking about:

Alberta election fallout

Voters in Alberta largely turned their backs on the right-wing Wildrose Party earlier this week. Is this a reminder to the rest of Canada that there is more political sophistication to Alberta than it's normally given credit for? Or is it just business as usual in a province that has elected consecutive Conservative governments for 41 years?

Immunization controversy

Some pediatricians in Ontario are starting to discharge children whose parents refuse to have them vaccinated. Are they going too far? On the one hand, avoiding immunization has become so widespread that it has become a genuine health hazard. Pediatricians have to do something. On the other hand, children in Ontario are allowed not to have vaccinations if their parents have some objection of religion or conscience. So should children be booted out of a doctor's office because their parents disagree with a medical treatment?

Editorial page editor Andrew Phillips is joined by editorial board members Gordon Barthos, Kerry Gillespie and Leslie Papp.

Listen now



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Are pediatricians going too far over immunization?:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The following are my point form notes pertaining to the first guest speaker (Leslie Papp) on the vaccine issue:

-Not wanting to vaccinate your own child does not equate to WANTING to put other children at risk. Extremely poor choice of words.

-Easy solution for 'not putting my other patients at risk' that doesn't involve vaccinating children against their parents' will is separate sick and well waiting rooms.

-Saying that 'you're not scapegoating the child, so much as trying to protect that child' implies that the parents who choose not to vaccinate are choosing NOT to protect their child when in fact most of these parents would argue that they ARE in fact protecting their children from the harmful side effects and possible unknown risks & effects of vaccines.

-'Not providing that fundamental healthy protection is like allowing your child to smoke'. This statement makes no sense. How can you compare inhaling a known carcinogen to allowing children to acquire immunity naturally rather than artificially? This whole analogy is rediculous and I assume it was made strictly to get a rise out of non vaccinating parents.

-3/1000 is 0.3 % fatality rate for measles=extremely low! Conversely, what is the rate of side effects (lethal or otherwise) of giving the measles vaccine? Providing the fatality rate of measles on its own doesn't really give us any other information besides the fact that you know this number, you need to compare it to the effects of giving this particular vaccine for it to have meaning.

-'avoiding immunization has become so widespread' - how widespread? what is your source for this statement?

-What is the 'genuine public health hazard'? What are the statistical trends in the number of cases of measles? How many of these cases were fatal? How many people who had these cases were previously vaccinated for measles?

-In 2008 the population of Ontario was 12,891,787, so the rate of measles in Ontario was only 0.0004% based on the 50 cases of measles reported in this podcast. Just saying! And how many of those were fatal? How many resulted in recovery and the natural acquisition of immunity?
He also says "There used to be none" with regard to measles cases in the past, which year or statistic is he referring to? I find it hard to believe that in a country with so many non vaccinated immigrants that there "used to be" no cases of measles. I don't have this statistic, but if it can be provided to me I would change my attitude towards this statement.

Bottom line is whoever this guy is, he is not giving anyone any useful information. In order for parents to make informed decisions about vaccinating their child parents must be provided unbiased scientific information on both the vaccinated and unvaccinated population.

Parents must be able to be confident that giving their child vaccines will make them healthier than not giving them vaccines. I have not personally found this information.

As for the actual topic of this podcast, I think it goes against the Canadian constitution for healthcare providers to 'fire' unvaccinated children from their practices.

If this constitution protects the parent's right to choose whether or not their child is vaccinated, it should also protect this child from being discriminated against by physicians based on vaccination status.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About our Podcasts

  • Welcome to the Toronto Star editorial board’s weekly podcast. The board is responsible for the editorials that appear every day in the Star, and every day we have a lively discussion on what to write about, and what to say. The podcast gives us a chance to share some of those debates with Star readers.

    Our podcasts are also available through iTunes by searching Toronto Star or using the iTunes feeds below.

    If you have any questions or concerns about thestar.com podcasts, please contact us webmaster@thestar.ca. Please include Podcasting in the subject line of your email.