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Three senior members of the council that regulates Ontario chiropractors have made anti-vaccination statements

Three senior members of the council that regulates Ontario chiropractors have made anti-vaccination statements
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Three senior members of the professional organization that regulates Ontario’s chiropractors have espoused or endorsed anti-vaccine views, the National Post has learned.

Drs. Elizabeth Anderson-Peacock, Peter Amlinger and Clifford Hardick, all members of the council of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO), have each written online posts, endorsed anti-vaccine books and documentaries or have made statements that encourage the notion that vaccination is dangerous.

Anderson-Peacock is the the current vice-president of the CCO. Both Amlinger and Hardick are past presidents. Their anti-vaccination endorsements, writings and appearances stand in contrast to the CCO’s own position on vaccination, which states that “immunizations and vaccinations are outside the scope of chiropractic practice” and any discussions about them with patients must be “accurate, professional and balanced.”

Chiropractors are one of the largest primary-contact health care professions in the country. About 4.5 million Canadians visit the country’s 9,000 licensed chiropractors each year. A 2018 Health Canada survey found that 84 per cent of parents cited health care professionals as their primary source of information on vaccinations.

In response to questions from the Post, Anderson-Peacock denied she endorsed “any ‘anti-vaccination’ position.” Amlinger declined to say whether he believes vaccines are safe and effective, saying only that he believes vaccination is “a public health issue.” Both Amlinger and Anderson-Peacock said their personal opinions were separate from their duties with the CCO. Hardick did not respond to a request for comment.

The revelation comes amid an outbreak of measles in Ontario and B.C. and a renewed vaccination campaign by Ontario’s Ministry of Health. Presented with the information, the ministry told the Post it will take no action as chiropractic is a self-regulated health profession.  Ontario NDP health critic France Gélinas, meanwhile, responded to the information with a call for the ministry to launch an immediate investigation of the entire CCO. “The minister has to step in right now,” she told the Post. “The college as a whole has to be held accountable. The college failed in its basic function to protect the public.”

The CCO has never taken an official position against vaccination. When the Post contacted the CCO for comment, it received a response that did not address the specific problems addressed in the story. However, less than 24 hours later the CCO issued an advisory in which it stated: “As part of its role to protect the public interest, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) recognizes that vaccinations, as mandated in the Province of Ontario, provide a safe and effective means to protect individuals from infectious diseases.”

It also said the council “will be reviewing Standard of Practice S-001: Chiropractic Scope of Practice and some amendments are anticipated in making the standard more explicit that members not conduct seminars on vaccination or publish information on vaccination on their websites or social media accounts.”

“I would be concerned about any health care professional who is providing their patients with vaccine information that does not align with the peer-reviewed scientific evidence and the recommendations of Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization,” said Dr. Julie Bettinger, a professor in the Vaccine Evaluation Centre at the University of British Columbia.

I do not endorse any anti-vaccination position. Rather, I personally believe individuals should obtain informed-consent whenever receiving treatment of any kind from the appropriate provider.

Dr. Elizabeth Anderson-Peacock

Anderson-Peacock has endorsed an anti-vaccine book, Immunization: History, Ethics, Law and Health by Catherine Diodati. In the book, Diodati writes, “All vaccines are capable of causing disease and death … some vaccines appear to render people more susceptible to disease.” The appendix references an array of anti-vaccination groups and organizations.

In a review on Amazon, Anderson-Peacock wrote: “A must read for those who wish to be aware, responsible and informed … especially parents and physicians prior to injection.”

She also offered online praise for the documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe. The film is directed by Andrew Wakefield and is produced by prominent anti-vaccination activist, Del Bigtree. Wakefield is a disgraced former British doctor who was the lead author of a fraudulent research paper that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism. The documentary claims the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. covered up a purported link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

This photo taken on January 28, 2010, shows British doctor Andrew Wakefield. the first clinician to suggest a link between autism in children and the triple vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella in a study that has since been disproven. SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)
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