Vaccinations_who are the experts@2x


Who Are the Experts?

Vaccinations: there are few topics where the tempers of supporters and opponents get so heated. Proponents say they are supported by science. Opponents point to practice that shows that vaccinations not only have no or little efficacy, but can also inflict adverse health effects. Who or what are you to believe now? Or rather, who really are the experts on vaccinations?

By C.F. van der Horst
5 May 2019, updated 14 September 2022

Who Is an Expert on Health and Vaccinations?

The obvious thing to do in most cases is to follow the advice of experts. But who really are the experts on health and vaccinations? You would expect them to be our doctors, but is that right? They know a lot, but there is a lot more they do not know. Moreover, medical school has crucial knowledge gaps. For example, according to Dutch GP Tamara de Weijer, a family physician receives at most five hours of education on the subject of nutrition throughout his or her nine-year training. A doctor’s knowledge of nutritional science is negligible. Incomprehensible, because we all know how important nutrition is to our health.

And how does this inadequate medical training affect public health? Here we review some aspects.

bmj clinical evidence

Clinical Evidence was an initiative on Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) by the medical journal The BMJ until 2017.

  • In the book Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived you will read about how poorly medical treatments are substantiated. The data were drawn in part from Clinical Evidence, an initiative of the medical journal The BMJ. Clinical Evidence is a collection of summaries of the best available evidence on what works and what does not work in health care (Evidence-Based Medicine, EBM). These data show that only 11% of more than 3,000 commonly used medical treatments have a solid scientific basis. Of the majority of treatments, it is not known whether they work, and some treatment methods are even harmful. A conservative calculation is that 65% of interventions in mainstream Western medicine have no scientific basis and are therefore quackery.
  • According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures, only 4.3% (!) of people worldwide are without sequelae (residual damage) of disease or injury. One-third of the world’s population (2.3 billion people, 80% of whom are under the age of 65) suffer five or more permanent consequences as a result of an illness, disease, injury, treatment, or medical error.
  • In the Netherlands, 59% of people (10.2 million Dutch) have at least one chronic disease. These are figures from Jan. 1, 2020. Just how flawed the state of medical knowledge and practice is is demonstrated by the fact that the number of chronically ill people is skyrocketing: as of January 1, 2016, it was 8.8 million people. In just four years, there has been an increase of 1.4 million chronically ill people (in a country of 17.8 million inhabitants).
  • Cancer occurs in 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women.
  • In 2014, the World Health Organization projected a 70% increase in cancer cases over the next 20 years.
  • According to a study by the renowned Johns Hopkins University, after heart disease and cancer, medical errors are the number three cause of death.

These figures illustrate that we cannot expect too much from our doctors, however benevolent they may be. Their knowledge for prevention and treatment is patently lacking. Unfortunately, with these results, we cannot classify them as health experts. So whom can we rely on when it comes to health or vaccinations?

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) promotes vaccinations and bases its advice on “science.” Can one then expect a health expert from the realm of science?

"Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived" describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

“Deadly Lies. How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived” describes the conflicts of interest of government officials and scientists, the mass marketing of the pharmaceutical industry, and the lies used to deceive both physicians and you.

Are Scientists Health Experts?

Unfortunately, “science” does not offer much comfort, as the above data is due to that same science. Ultimately, scientists should conduct the research that will give physicians better methods for prevention and/or treatment. However, in the field of medicine, including vaccinations, there is still an extraordinary amount that is unknown. And few things are rock solid, moreover, because good researchers always articulate caveats when they draw conclusions. After all, scientific insight changes over time.

Of greater concern is that not all science is reliable, even when practiced with integrity. This has a lot to do with the reproducibility of results. Can any other scientist with the same study design and method and conduct of the experiment arrive at the same or at least a similar outcome? If this is not the case and therefore the results are not reproducible, there is no science, but a chance outcome.

What About the Reproducibility of Experiments in the Real World? A study by the renowned science journal Nature found that 70% of nearly 1,600 scientists were unable to reproduce the outcomes of others’ work. If that was already a shocking discovery, it became even more remarkable when it turned out that more than 50% of scientists could not reproduce the results of their own experiments!

Scientists and reproducibility: most scientists have failed to reproduce research results (Source: Nature).

Scientists and reproducibility: most scientists have failed to reproduce research results (Source: Nature).

Despite this problem of reproducibility, research results are published in professional journals and guide medical thinking and practice.

The Low Point of Science: Fraud

It gets worse when studies are falsified: data is fabricated, inconvenient data is omitted, or artful statistical editing is done. You probably remember the science fraudster Diederik Stapel. This psychologist had falsified as many as 55 publications including fabricated data. Every month there are about 70 reports of retractions, an announcement in which the editors of trade journals publicly distance themselves from the article. It involves research with inaccuracies, carelessness and, as in the case of Stapel, fraud. In Deadly Lies: How Doctors and Patients Are Deceived, you will find, among other examples, documented how drug research is manipulated and how this affects health recommendations from organizations such as the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And such tampering with drug research is not harmless. For several drugs, dangerous side effects were concealed in order to get marketing authorization for the drug. Only when deaths occurred did the fraud come to light. There are emerging indications of issues with the experimental corona vaccines as well.

We should therefore view scientific advice with caution—especially if practice suggests that another view is better.

In light of the above, we cannot help but conclude that even scientists are not health experts. So how do you make a good judgment about vaccinations or any medication for that matter?

I Am My Own Doctor and My Physician Is My Medical Advisor

Unfortunately, for decisions about your health, there is no alternative but to think for yourself. A wise elderly lady once said, “I am my own doctor and my physician is my medical advisor.” She is quite right, because when things go wrong, there is little point in blaming your doctor. That does not repair the damage done. It is YOU who is and remains responsible for your own health and the decisions you make about it. The same is true for the question of whether to get vaccinated or not.

This is why it is so important to keep yourself well informed, weigh data from various sources, listen carefully to your body and, above all, use common sense.

Want to Know More?

How does nutrition affect your health? Where do chronic diseases originate? Why is it that doctors learn practically nothing about nutrition in their training? In what ways does the pharmaceutical industry influence lawmakers, doctors, and health advice? What can you reasonably expect and not expect from your doctor?

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