From a conversation recorded in Jan 2017 by JB Handley. Dr. Paul Thomas is a well-versed, outspoken Portland-based Pediatrician. He will challenge much of the conventional wisdom on pediatrics. Why is his Portland practice booming? Because he practices true informed consent, and because he tells the truth that vaccines have risks AND benefits.
I am a Dartmouth trained, University of California residency pediatrician, board certified. I taught residents and medical students at Emmanuel Children’s OHSU program and then joined a private practice. I was a standard pediatrician and I was completely sold on the fact that vaccines were the single most important thing I could do to help children.
I’ll tell you a little story to put that in perspective. Obviously, we get trained in medical school about the benefits. Sadly, we’re not trained on what’s in the vaccines or the side effects. When I was in residency in 1985 to 88, the years of ’87 to ’88, where I was training in California, we introduced the Hib vaccine and we could tell, as residents, that the following year, kids were less ill in the sense of we were doing a lot fewer lumbar punctures for meningitis. Talk about being sold on the value of vaccines; that had done it for me. Now I’ll fast forward to working in a group practice, where we are doing standard vaccines. What ended up happening for me was I started noticing that a lot of my patients didn’t seem to be doing as well neurologically, developmentally, as kids used to be. I started wondering, “What the heck is going on?” I started seeking out alternative information, if you will. I started to do my own research, attending conferences, like Defeat Autism Now, and I was blown away by the amount of information that was out there on things like mercury, thimerosal that was in vaccines that I didn’t even know. We were never taught, as pediatricians, that there was mercury thimerosal in vaccines.
Once you start looking, you start becoming more aware that there’s actually something going on with what we’re doing and the outcomes we were starting to see in terms of outcomes that weren’t so favorable – kids not developing normally, kids regressing into severe autism. The years 2005 to 2008, once a year in each of those years, I had a child who was completely normal at age 1, developmentally, regress into severe autism by age 2. I remember the day in November 2007 when I saw the last kid that was just the last straw for me. I walked into his room and he was in a stroller shaking his head back and forth, no eye contact; he just wasn’t there. I’m trying to get an interaction, and am usually really good at getting kids to interact with me, and there was just nobody home; he was already showing signs of severe autism. He had been completely normal at 1, appeared to be normal at 18 months, but he had been on the usual vaccine schedule. This was the fourth kid in four years and it was like, “I can’t do this anymore.”
I had already been starting to do vaccines differently, I had been separating out the MMR, I had been not wanting to do the hepatitis B for newborns because that made absolutely no sense. Hepatitis B, we all know, is a disease you catch from sex and IV drug use or if your birthmother happens to have hepatitis B, then as an infant, you’re at very high risk. To this day, where I have over 13,000 patients, I have yet to have a single case of hepatitis B in pediatric practice and I don’t give the hepatitis B vaccine. I have not, in my entire career, seen a single case of childhood hepatitis B.
I would give hepatitis B to an infant whose mother has hepatitis B, but guess how many cases of mothers who have hepatitis B I’ve had in my practice. None. Supposedly, if you look at the CDC data, 1 in 100 moms in the US have hepatitis B. That’s possible, although my own research would put the numbers much lower than that, but even at 1 in 100, that means that in the United States of America, we are injecting newborns on day one of birth with 250 µg of aluminum. That’s a toxic dose; you shouldn’t exceed 50 µg if you’re an adult you shouldn’t exceed 5 µg per kilogram for a kid, so it’s a huge toxic dose of a known neurotoxin, a known substance, aluminum, that triggers autoimmunity. To do that to 99 out of 100 babies to potentially, possibly, save that 1 in 100 makes no sense at all. Especially when, for the past 15+ years, we know mom’s hepatitis B status when she walks into the hospital to have her baby. Our OB/GYN’s are doing a masterful job of prenatal work; they screen moms for hepatitis B along with rubella and many other things, so we already know this mother who is delivering this baby does not have hepatitis B. The risk to that infant is zero. I sleep like a baby, not at all worried about that infant who doesn’t get a hepatitis B vaccine shot because I know, that mother doesn’t have hepatitis B; the risk is zero.
With regards to the hepatitis B, there is no justifiable argument for giving it to infants. It is total unscientific nonsense to say that giving the hepatitis B to a newborn makes sense for several reasons. Beyond the toxic dose of aluminum – which is horrendous that we would consider doing that – we have studies showing that hepatitis B only gives protection for about 10 years. We know that children who get the series as an infant, by the time they are 20, only 24% of those now late teens and early young adults still have protection. When do you need the protection? You need it when you’re a teenager or young adult. We absolutely must go back, if we’re going to do the hepatitis B at all, that series should be given in the preteen/teenage years so that you have protection when you need it.
With regards to the argument of herd immunity, it’s a total failure. We have several studies showing that it’s not giving long-lasting immunity. This is where I have a problem with the CDC because these are supposed to be the smartest doctors, who look at all this research and data, and they clearly are picking and choosing which data they want to look at. It’s the hepatitis B that woke me up to the fact that these people are not doing their job; they must have conflicts of interest. There’s no other explanation for how intelligent beings who have seen this data could still recommend the hepatitis B for infants.
I graduated from medical school in 1985 and I finished my residency and started practicing pediatrics in 1988. The Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act, which led to the Vaccine Court, was passed in 1986. Vaccines started to be added to the schedule in 1990 and 91; there was a lag time before the vaccine makers were immune to any kind of liability for whatever their product might do. Looking back at my early time as a pediatrician and comparing to later years, I have to say there has absolutely been a gradual, steady, and continuing growth in the amount of eczema, asthma, diabetes, and other autoimmune conditions that we’re seeing. I wasn’t aware of the increase in the late 80s/early 1990s, but I would say, by the 2000s, for sure, it was becoming so prevalent that you had to wake up and notice.
We have hundreds of articles on aluminum toxicity and in the book, Vaccines and Autoimmunity, Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld really brought together so many studies that validate this theory. Once again, we’ve now reached a point in our understanding of the problems with adjuvants, and in particular aluminum, because it was grandfathered in as safe for vaccines. When I did my research, there’s a couple of entire books on aluminum toxicity – one is just titled Research Issues in Aluminum Toxicity, edited by Robert Yokel and Mari Golub, and another one is Aluminum Toxicity in Infants Health and Disease, by Zatta and Alfrey. These are entire books outlining, again, hundreds of studies that show a problem with aluminum and yet, as a pediatrician, I had zero training in this information and the CDC appears to be ignoring this information and just sticking with the fact that aluminum is safe or that vaccines are safe and effective. We have a disconnect between scientific research and how we are being guided and taught in medical schools, what the CDC is doing with regards to vaccines and recommended vaccine schedule. It’s like information hits textbooks, by the time you get your textbook and you’re learning from it, it’s already outdated by a decade or longer. We are one to two decades behind when you look at the vaccine schedule and you look at all the science.
I started my new practice in June 2008, but for a few years before that, I was already encouraging parents not to do the hepatitis B vaccine for newborns; to just wait until they’re teenagers. It was a little hard to do in a group practice and, frankly, I ended up having to leave that practice over this vaccine issue. My partners felt it was unethical not to do all the vaccines according to the CDC schedule. Once I learned what I learned about aluminum, for example, and how much is in the hep B, knowing what I knew about hepatitis B disease prevalence, it became unethical to do the hepatitis B vaccine for infants. In fact, it’s interesting that in my patients today, ever since I opened my practice, Integrative Pediatrics, I’ve had one family – Mom was a nurse, Dad was a doctor – and they insisted that we do all the vaccines according to the CDC schedule even after I have provided them with this information. I do have one patient who got all the vaccines, but otherwise, that’s it. Not a single thinking parent, once provided with the real information about hepatitis B, how you get it, what’s in the hepatitis B vaccine, the fact that the hepatitis B vaccine is not giving lasting protection, not a single other parent has chosen to give that vaccine.
Because I’m doing so many other things differently, it’s a little hard to say that it’s just the hepatitis B that’s reducing the incidence of problems in my population. I do think it’s clearly a huge factor because timing is as important or more important than the toxin. We can acknowledge that vaccines, in some cases, provide some benefit. But we also have to acknowledge that every vaccine has toxins, has foreign substances that are being injected, that potentially have problems. It’s the timing of that injection. If you’re looking at aluminum in the hepatitis B vaccine, in the infant period of development, that’s when the infant is developing an immune system and developing that sense of self and non-self and developing the ability to mount an immune response to fight infections. But when you add a huge dose of aluminum on day 1 and then again at 1 to 2 months and again at 4 months, 6 months the immune system gets shifted to the allergic response and the autoimmune problems start arising. I have no doubt that the hepatitis B is a huge problem in autoimmunity and shifting people into an allergic state because that’s what they’re getting hit with first when their immune system is so immature.
Which vaccines do I think most children should get? Let me preface this by saying it this way: I believe that most children have genetic vulnerabilities that we are not aware of and this is the key problem today. You can’t compare data from 20 years ago even to data from today because we live in such a toxic world. The first chapter in my book, The Vaccine-Friendly Plan, is Toxins, Toxins, Toxins because we are now bombarded with toxins from pesticides to herbicides in our food and our water, to the air we breathe, to plastics, to flame retardants, fluoride put in the water painted on your teeth, the list is fairly long. Then, of course, the toxins that we are injecting with the vaccine, especially if you’re talking about aluminum. We still have mercury in the multidose flu shot, we had some horrible toxins; not to mention the formaldehyde in most vaccines that’s a horrible trigger of autoimmune problems.
For example, when the Institute of Medicine said, “It’s settled. The vaccines are safe; that’s not the issue. We shouldn’t look at it anymore,” back in 2004, that is the most ludicrous statement because the toxicity that has grown in our environment as we’ve pushed chemicals into the world changes everything. We have to always be looking at the data. Had you asked me in 2008, when I opened my practice, I know what I would’ve said. We don’t need hepatitis B, unless you want to get it as a teenager so you can have protection against sex. You don’t need polio; there hasn’t been a case of polio in the United States since 1979. The rotavirus vaccine is fraught with problems and data from my practice has brought that out. The kids who get the rotavirus vaccine are sicker, they have more vomiting, more diarrhea, more ER visits, more hospital visits, more office visits by far and nobody is dying of rotavirus in this country if you have access to IV fluids, which is 99.99% of us. Those three you don’t need at all: hep B, polio, rotavirus.
Tdap is another one on the infant’s schedule, that’s tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. The pertussis aspect of that vaccine is the challenging one just for a pediatrician to think about. Most pediatricians have seen babies on respirators in the ICU, they may have even seen a death of a kid from pertussis. Since we’re trained to prevent severe illness and we’re trained to prevent death, we just have a hard time with the idea that you might forgo that vaccine and leave a child at risk for pertussis. But what I like to do is think about how many kids are actually dying of pertussis and how toxic the vaccine is so that you’re actually comparing real data.
The truth of the matter is we have a handful of deaths, 5 to 10 per year in the US out of 4 million births approximately. Just think about it as about 1 in 1 million, your chance of dying from pertussis. If you are that one, you’re going to be hot if you didn’t get that vaccine because that vaccine might have protected you. However, the protection offered by that vaccine is now waning; it’s not working very well. It seems the organism has shifted, there’s a pertactin protein on the outer membrane so that vaccines are not really working very well. A lot of times in the pertussis epidemics, the people who get pertussis are the ones who were vaccinated. The last time we had an epidemic in the Portland area was 2012. I had 20 cases of pertussis in my practice. 15 of those 20 cases were fully vaccinated; 5 – and several of them were from one family – had not had vaccines. But at that time, almost all my patients were vaccinating against pertussis and I didn’t have that many people who weren’t vaccinated back then. So you could make a case for saying “probably it gave some protection”. That’s the dilemma for pediatricians, but I think it’s parents who need to make this decision. Once you’re empowered with the data, then you can make the decision.
Let me talk about two more vaccines that happen in the first year of life. The meningitis ones, Hib, Haemophilus influenza type b, to prevent meningitis. It was my favorite vaccine when I got out of training and I’ve already mentioned why. Here’s the problem, though: The data from the last few years from the CDC shows that there’s only about 5 to 10 cases of meningitis or severe illness from type B. Most of the cases, 200-400 are non-typeable or non-type B. In other words, the Hib vaccine is no longer protecting against the strains that are out there in circulation. This wasn’t always the case. I think what happens is a shift. When you have a vaccine against an organism, there’s an environmental pressure on that organism and it shifts to the strains that the vaccine doesn’t protect; it’s survival. We definitely saw that with the last one that I want to talk about that happens in infancy, and that’s the Prevnar against pneumococcus. We had a Prevnar 7, the strains shifted, we went to a Prevnar 13 to pick up the new strains that were now causing problems. I don’t know the exact data on the strains, but I’m sure there’s an ongoing shift because we are still seeing quite a bit of pneumococcal serious disease, whether it’s meningitis or blood infections. Again, there’s a vaccine that provides some protection against something that could be fatal, but meningitis can leave you with brain damage. The numbers are still relatively small when you look at the 4 million births per year.
Unfortunately, there’s a move in our country to get rid of informed consent and to mandate vaccines and I think it’s a huge problem. Informed consent is when the physician tells you, “Here’s the data on the vaccine. Here’s the data on the risks. Here’s what’s in the vaccine. You make a decision once you’re informed.” If a parent knows, I’ll just pick on pertussis, whooping cough, if they know your child has a 1 in a million of dying, can you live with that? I would say today, 95% of my parents can live with that because they’re informed about the fact that the vaccine also has a huge dose of aluminum, it’s not working as well as it used to. So today a much larger percentage of my patients, once informed, are choosing to forgo vaccines or at least delay them even more than when I first started my Integrative Pediatric practice in 2008.
There is an interesting case bubbling out of Oklahoma with a pediatrician named Dr. Switzer. She wrote a newsletter back in 2015 and said, “I used to call out the flu vaccine, explicitly and separately, from the rest of the vaccines that I would give to the children in my practice.” She did the normal CDC schedule and then, when it was flu vaccine time and the child came in for their visit, they would say to the parents, “You need to sign for the flu vaccine,” they would call it out separately. She wrote in this newsletter that she was tired of doing that, she was no longer going to do it because she felt that it created, in her opinion, unwarranted fear on the part of parents. What she was recommending, or telling doctors she was now doing, was burying flu in the list of all the ones you give to a child. That’s obviously not informed consent unless you are sharing the actual known data that exists on the flu. How effective is the flu shot? We can go to the CDC website today and get the list for the last 10 years and you’ll see that the effectiveness is usually around 20-30%. There was a Flu Watch study that I like to refer to because when you really break it all down, in the CDC data, most of the data that is reported on influenza is actually not just influenza; it’s all respiratory illness, which includes all the bacterial pneumonias. When you look at mortality and death rate from influenza, it’s totally magnified by, perhaps, 100 times. The actual, proven deaths from influenza is in the teens. We’re talking a very small number and they’re usually in the very elderly. Their immune systems are pretty compromised at the end of life; something’s going to get you at the end of your life.
The flu is problematic. It’s not a good vaccine in terms of its effectiveness, each year it’s a guess. There was a study out of Canada recently that showed that people who got the flu shot each year were actually less able to deal with new strains than people who had actually gone through having had the flu. That makes a case for, perhaps, getting the flu naturally if you are otherwise healthy. If you don’t have underlying severe heart disease, kidney disease, lung problems, severe prematurity and you’re still having lung problems. If you have major underlying health problems where getting the flu could just tip you over, those are high-risk patients who should probably consider the flu shot. Even though it’s not very effective, maybe a little bit of help would be good. But for most people, when you really look at all the data, I’m not sure this vaccine makes a lot of sense.
When I started my practice in 2008, I took the best of the information I had at the time. It included this knowledge that aluminum was a problem, it included this information that the hepatitis B series, in particular, seem to be triggering an increase in autism; I think there was at least one study at that time that indicated that. Basically, the selective, vaccine friendly plan schedule for those who do not have high-risk for autism or autoimmune problems, severe neurological family histories, is not doing the hepatitis B until you’re a teenager, holding off on the polio altogether because there’s no risk in this country unless you’re going to perhaps travel to an area where there’s an outbreak, not doing the rotavirus and, in the first year of life, just doing the Tdap and the Hib at two months and doing the Prevnar at three months and then you repeat that so that you get the protection for those organisms that first year of life, pretty much on schedule with the CDC’s recommended schedule. The idea being, if those vaccines are protective, which I know they are to some extent, you won’t, hopefully, lose your baby to whooping cough, your baby hopefully won’t get meningitis from Haemophilus B or from pneumococcus.
That’s how I have vaccinated the majority of my patients since 2008. I closed a data set in 2015 and we looked at the data. We had almost 900 patients who were vaccinated as I’ve just outlined – we’ll call that the vaccine friendly pan – and we had no new autism, zero out of those almost 900 patients where we should have had roughly 18-20 or maybe a little less because you had to be 2 years and 3 months to be included in the data set. Certainly, some people would say that’s too young to diagnose autism, that could be true. To answer that question, I re-looked at the data and made you have to be 4 years old and there was still no change in my data. As I share these numbers, just realized it actually held true up to age 4 as the cutoff. In that group, we had no new autism spectrum disorders. There were some developmental delays. I had a process in this research of looking at every single chart note and, if there was any developmental delay whatsoever, it was noted so we picked up a lot of things. People who’ve raised kids know that it’s pretty common to have a language delay, for example, so there were some delays that were detected.
The second group I had was completely unvaccinated children, almost 300 of them, and they also had no new autism or autism spectrum. But I have to tell you that this was the group that had a much lower rate of developmental issues. It’s not something that I’ve been able to get published; I’m in round two of trying to get this data published, but it was very clear that no vaccines at all seemed to be even more protective if you look at all types of developmental issues. My last group, which was the group that were vaccinated more aggressively, either they got the hepatitis B as a newborn or they got the CDC schedule, they joined my practice after having had lots of vaccines and wanted to start vaccinating slower. In this group, we had 15 cases out of over 1000, that ended up being a 1 in 60 rate of autism or autism spectrum; pretty near the national average, the going rate today.
I have no doubt at all that it’s a combination of toxins, toxins, toxins; vaccines being the largest exposure because you bypass your natural defensive mechanisms. Skin protects us from environmental stuff that might come into contact with skin. Our gut, the GI tract is like the skin in having a barrier for toxins. When you eat a toxin, it’s still bad, but it’s not nearly as bad as when you inject it.
Acetaminophen, found in Tylenol and other pain medications, is a big magnifier of toxicity. I gave my children the chewable Tylenol that probably had aspartame to make matters worse; adding a known neurotoxin to a known toxin. I’m a pediatrician who used to advise people that Tylenol was safe, so I apologize to all of you who have suffered. My own kids have suffered, to some extent, from the misinformation we’ve all been fed. Pediatricians are supposed to be the guardians of kids’ health. Sadly, they are trained by a system that is basically funded by pharma. So if you have acetaminophen and you’ve got your product, Tylenol chews, and you want to market it, you give samples to pediatricians. Of course, we were given all of these samples and asked to hand them out and that acts like an endorsement. It’s just marketing, folks. Pediatricians are subject to marketing as all of us are. Now you see all of these ads on TV for this drug, that drug, as they rattle off the side effects, which always includes death and terrible disability.
We have a problem in this country about how we’re going about health. Health and wellness stems from understanding your vulnerabilities. Your genetics is not like a blueprint for you’re going to have problems. It’s not your destiny, in other words. Your destiny is in your hands. I was as hoodwinked as anybody else until I knew what was going on. You don’t do better until you know better. If you’re reading this, you have a chance because we know better now and we’ve got to spread the word.
I don’t believe that, if I were able to implement my vaccine plan on a national scale that that would end the autism epidemic. What I do think would happen if we did the vaccine friendly plan is we would reduce autism from 1 in 50 to about 1 in 1000. If we got rid of all of vaccines, we would take it to 1 in 10,000. That’s my hunch. Obviously, we don’t have this data. I make that guess, it’s an informed guess, but it’s a pure guess, because I’ve looked at all the data and I have looked at all the factors involved. We won’t get rid of it completely because our environment has become too toxic. There are people who have had not a single vaccine, their parents who have raised their kids perfectly, as far as diet and nutrition and filtered water and avoiding antibiotics, and they still have an autistic child. It happens because the genetics for that family, perhaps, are just so high risk and you can’t eliminate all toxins. But that would be that 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 100,000 cases if we could clean everything else up.
Getting your child vaccinated is all about informed consent. The challenge I have with each family that comes into my office, with regards to the vaccine question, is I’ve got the whole gamut. Because I’m an integrated physician, because I’m insisting on an informed consent, I’m attracting more and more families that don’t want vaccines so that discussion becomes pretty simple. We go through the same information, I share the risks and the benefits, and they choose no vaccines. Easy. They’re not following the vaccine friendly plan, they’re following their own common sense plan of no vaccines and I can support that. But then I have all of these families that come in and they want all the vaccines and it is just too far of a leap, for most people, and I think this is true for most physicians and doctors, especially pediatricians, to go from the CDC schedule to no vaccines. They just can’t get there. This book, for that group of people, which might be 95% of our country, allows you to digest the science and at least start making some common sense choices. You might say it’s a compromise, but realize, with informed consent, everything is a compromise. You’re weighing risks and benefits and, for me, it’s very simple to say, “No hep B, no polio, no HPV,” HPV which is the worst vaccine that’s ever been pushed on the market. Some of them are easy when you know the science. Some of them, it’s risk-benefit. This book is an attempt to allow people to get the information and make their own risk-benefit analysis.
HPV, human papilloma virus, is being blamed for cervical cancer and, indeed, there are a couple of strains that are felt to be the major cause of cervical cancer, but I want to put it in perspective for you. I’m a busy pediatrician and have been for almost 30 years and I have seen not a single case of cervical cancer. There’s a reason for that. Cervical cancer takes a couple of decades at least, typically, to develop. In other words, you get exposed to one of these human papilloma viruses, it’s usually sexually transmitted, in your teens or early 20s or mid-20s and it takes you until you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s when cancer develops. Our body’s immune system eradicates probably 95%, if not more, of those potential cancers. Now let’s talk about the vaccine. They came out with this vaccine about a decade ago and in their control group, 90% of the control studies – they did a number of several little studies and grouped them together – 90% of the control was a high dose aluminum injection. This is a vaccine with a lot of aluminum. If you’re a scientist and you want to compare the vaccine side effects with a placebo, your placebo, ideally, should be saline. They chose to do most of their placebo was high dose aluminum. Of course, when you look at the side effects, they totally match up. You have the same number of deaths – yes, I did say deaths. If you look at the death rate from the vaccine or the placebo arm, it is higher than the amount of cervical cancer that’s going to happen in that population. Just that alone, whether you do the aluminum injection or whether you do the HPV injection, you’re going to kill more kids than cervical cancer is going to kill.
It’s interesting. Drug reps come into your office with these glossies; they have their pharmaceutical company produced handouts that they’re supposed to teach us with. I always got to, “Show me the side effects.” Highlighted, on the glossy, was this death rate. Mind you, of course, they’re going to say, “But one was in a plane crash and five were in car crashes.” Okay. We know the HPV vaccine is causing kids to faint. If you are of driving age, you drive to your pediatrician’s office or the clinic, you get your shot, you get in the car, you pass out and kill yourself. It’s still a death. But the really tragic thing that’s happening with HPV is this totally immune shutdown that seems to be happening for some kids and it is absolutely destroying their health.
The study in the initial groups that got this licensed was for 3 1/2 years. There is not a chance that cancer will develop in 3 1/2 years, so they stopped the study way before we had any chance to see if it was even going to prevent a single case of cancer. To this day, it’s only been studied for 10 years – the vaccine has only been out that long. It’s too soon to know, even today, if it has stopped a single case of cancer.
That’s the problem. We’ve got a vaccine that we don’t even know that it’s going to prevent any cancer, that’s highly toxic, possibly due to the high dose of aluminum, but there are other things in this vaccine. I just have to comment on the latest article out of JAMA, just published this last year. The headline say “HPV vaccine is reducing cancer.” But go look at the data. The data shows that, for the younger ages, it reduces precancer. But for the oldest age group in this study, it actually increases cancer. That little detail – it’s in the study, mentioned as a one-liner – and then they highlight all the fact that it’s reducing precancer. There’s the problem. This is a vaccine that is just wrong and unless we have long-term studies, I would not inject this into my child, my grandchild, or anybody I cared about.
I used to carry HPV. When the vaccine first came out, I went to one of those educational dinners; I wanted to learn about it. The professor giving the talk was from OHSU, that’s our local university. We were fed a wonderful dinner; I don’t drink, but the other participants had their wine, so we were wined and dined and told all the benefits of this vaccine. Of course, “There are no side effects or at least, it’s safe.” They just brushed over the side effects side of this. A couple of my staff members were there and they were sold on this thing. “Wow, we’re going to prevent cancer. We need to do this. This is a great thing.” You spin it a certain way and it sounds like a really wonderful thing, so we did carry it in our office for a short while. To my knowledge, the vaccines that were given in my office, we haven’t had any major problems but I do not carry it anymore. I don’t want to be that doctor who, knowing what I know, saying what I just told you, still has it in my office to do potential damage to somebody.
I am still a card-carrying member of the AAP and I pay my annual dues. You’re probably wondering why. I became aware we had a problem with vaccines 15+ years ago. I was raising 10 children and, honestly, I wanted to come out with this information sooner but I was afraid. I was chickenshit that I was going to lose my career, which is still at risk. I had to wait. My youngest is now in college and I feel like if they get me, they get me. I just couldn’t take that risk when I felt responsible for a huge family, and I adopted a number of kids.
What it’s really like to be me? I love my life, I love my career. I feel like I’m, hopefully, making a difference and, hopefully, we can get this information out. Sadly, the media and mainstream and the Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC want to paint anybody who elevates real science on vaccines or side effects or aluminum or thimerosal as an anti-vaxxer and nothing could be further from the truth. We’re about having safer vaccines and doing what’s right for kids, period. I live at peace with where I’m at right now. I get the looks from my peers; I’ve gotten some nasty emails, one that, single-handedly, I’m destroying the health of Portland, Oregon stuff like that, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
I left my old practice and took with me about a 1000 patients. Within a year, we were at 3000 or 4000 and we are over 13,000 today and it’s still growing. There is a two or three-month waiting list just to get in. Parents who are waking up to what’s going on with vaccines are looking for doctors who are willing to at least abide by informed consent. I’ve seen messages on social media, posted by other pediatricians, that I should be kicked out of the Academy of Pediatrics and the reason is, sadly, just ignorance. I was there – I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I haven’t been hassled or threatened yet. I expected it just because there seems to be so much money behind the status quo and I’m challenging the status quo, but my best to take on that is what happened with the movie Vaxxed. Other than the mistake, speaking as a status quo person, when they kicked it out of Tribeca, that became a story and that was actually probably a mistake; they could have just left it at Tribeca. Their approach ever since has been ignore, pretend it doesn’t exist, and that’s what happened with my book. We’ve got The Vaccine-Friendly Plan, a book that educates parents and is just loaded with science and good information, not being voted as a recommendation for libraries because it was too controversial. I happen to be the pediatrician for the producer of a local TV morning show, so I got on that morning show. But other than that, there has been absolutely no interest from any mass media whatsoever about this book and yet this book could change the world.
My publisher is very mainstream, and they were aware that this was pushing the envelope. They were aware that we might not get very far with mainstream, but I think they were also surprised at the absolute total blackout, the unwillingness for any mainstream to touch this. They are, however, not unhappy with the book. I just had a conversation this morning and it’s still selling and it’s looking like this is going to be a book that won’t go away.
Roughly speaking, the percent of revenues in a normal pediatric practice from vaccination is probably more than 50% of income. What I’m trying to do with Integrative Pediatrics is I’m trying to be a medical home, and we’ve qualified at a very high level of being a medical home, which means we take total care of the family and the patients. You have to do all the well visits to qualify as a medical home, but I don’t do all the vaccines because I do informed consent and, once you’ve done informed consent, there’s no way people are going to agree to do hepatitis B, for example etc. Just doing the selective vaccines that I do on the vaccine friendly plan in the last eight years, I’ve lost over $1 million just in vaccine profits. I’m still getting the well-child visit income; the insurance company reimburses me for doing the well visit, but there was an administration fee for each vaccine and a tiny little profit, a dollar or two, that’s hopefully worked into each vaccine. It’s a huge loss of income.
The reality is, for most pediatricians, the profit from the markup on the vaccine itself is almost nothing. I’d say, probably, you could pay $100 for a vaccine and you’re going to get reimbursed $102 – a couple of bucks. You do get an admin fee, which is just for the labor of administering it, and that’s some profit – probably in the range of $12-$15 per shot. If you’re giving six vaccines to a two-year-old and there’s an admin fee for each one, there’s $100 right there for each kid each time. It adds up. A well-baby visit is usually a half hour appointment because you’re covering more than just giving the shots. You’re doing a full exam and you’re talking about development, what to expect and a lot of those things.
There are some insurance providers who have incentives in place for fully vaccinated children within the population. There was a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan plan that ended up online and said that, for every child who receives every vaccine on the CDC schedule by the age of two, the practice gets a $400 bonus. In Oregon, to my knowledge, the actual implementation of these kinds of bonuses is this year or next; it’s coming. To my knowledge, I haven’t walked away from that kind of income but the pressure is enormous because a lot of the health plans have quality measures and, if you’re a pediatrician, you can count on it; vaccines are somewhere in there on the quality measures. For example, last year with one of the health plans, and for a couple of years before that, being fully vaccinated by age 2 was a quality measure. Of course, 1% of my population is fully vaccinated because I don’t do the hepatitis B; I think it’s unethical. Sadly, the health plans are pushing a vaccine agenda that is keeping our population sick. I get rated lower by the insurance company, and that will really affect reimbursement. Your quality measures can affect bonuses and reimbursement because it’s part of their contracting.
What’s happening in the Portland area is doctors are discharging patients, kicking them out of the practice, if they won’t do all the vaccines and this is happening more and more. I get patients every week who’ve been kicked out of somebody else’s practice. They see the writing on the wall – if they don’t kick these people out, it’s going to hurt their bottom line. I’m going to be fair to my peers – a lot of them really believe, to their heart of hearts, that doing all the vaccines is the right thing to do. Whether they’ve brainwashed themselves or they just don’t know the literature, they really believe it. They’re not bad people; they just come from that sort of thinking. When you get all your information from one source, the AAP and the CDC, you really do believe that vaccines are the most important thing you can do.
There’s the argument that insurance companies are the ultimate rational capitalist animal. That they’re reading their actuary tables all day, they’re trying to make money. That means they’ve deemed that vaccinating makes the population healthier and cheaper. I thought the same way, but then in talking to people and realizing how insurance companies make money with regards to medicine, the administrative part of the insurance company, that’s what the CEO gets paid, the staff get paid salaries from the administrative piece, it’s a percentage. If 10% of the total budget goes to admin, if we can rack up the charges, we get a bigger piece of the pie. Actually, the way the incentives are set up, it’s backwards. They want to spend more money because they get a bigger percentage. The fastest way to get dropped from an insurance plan would be to stop vaccinating, stop doing well-child visits, and educate people on how to be healthy. Even if your population was way healthier, thereby saving them a ton of money in a sense, somehow, the way their reward system is set up, they don’t want that.
I have been dropped by one subset of one health plan and it makes no sense why I would be dropped because I actually see tons of patients from this particular company, a local large company, but they had a carveout plan and I got dropped. The only rationale for that was this quality measure thing. This is one of those health plans that monitors quality and, because of my vaccine stand of being ethical and insisting on informed consent, my vaccine rate is lower than my peers so it makes me look like a bad doctor. When you start a new plan, who are you going to allow into your plan? You don’t want bad doctors in your plan. That’s where my peers are running for the hills, so to speak, kicking patients out, because they don’t want to be a bad doctor.
We, as consumers of medical care, have become dependent upon our health insurance. Even though our health insurance isn’t very good – we have these huge co-pays, we have these huge deductibles; you end up wondering why you even bother to have health insurance sometimes – it’s still offsetting the actual cost of going to a doctor. If I lost all my health insurance, there’s no way 13,000 patients are going to stay with me and pay cash. It would be death to a practice.
There’s over 150 pediatricians in Portland if I’m not mistaken, and I have one full-time pediatrician in my practice who’s pretty close to sharing my vision and I have two part-time who are pretty close, not as close. Beyond that, I’m not aware of a single pediatrician who shares my views. To be honest, I struggle with people who look down their nose at you and treat you like you’re some kind of a total whackadoo. I don’t have time for that. I do what I can to educate, but it’s really hard to educate people who don’t want to be educated.
As doctors, we all came from the same factory, medical school, where we were taught the same set of information or misinformation. If you take the tens or hundreds of thousands of doctors who’ve been brainwashed into believing that vaccines are safe and effective, period, end of story and they’re not looking beyond that, what does it take to wake somebody up? It either takes you as the physician having one of your own children being damaged by a vaccine and seeing it for yourself or, as in my case, I had those four patients in a row. The first time it happened, I thought, “This is just a coincidence.” The second time, I thought, “It’s probably a coincidence.” The third time, I’m still stupid enough to think it’s probably a coincidence. By the fourth time, I’m going, “No way. I’m sorry, this is not a coincidence.” I’m sorry took me that long, but because I was so busy seeing so many patients back then when it was 1 in 100, if you’re a typical pediatrician – and family practice see even fewer babies – a typical pediatrician might see three babies a month. They might not get an autistic kid for two, three, four years and it remains a coincidence to them. But I was busy enough that I’m going, “No, this isn’t a coincidence.”
It takes the parents who have the courage to share their story and fight for the truth – and I thank all my patients who played that role for me – to open my eyes. I call them my warrior parents because they saw something that just was not right and they weren’t willing to let it go. Thank God for you.