Vaccine advice: Hidden camera investigation (CBC Marketplace)

(♪♪) Erica:We’re in Toronto
enlisting an undercover baby
to help us with a hidden
camera investigation.
Looking good. (♪♪) Erica:Okay, it’s really
baby Matthew’s mom Emma
who will do the work.Are you ready? I’m all set. Let’s go. Okay, are we all good? Yeah, it’s going. Erica:And in Vancouver,
we signed up baby Natalie
and her mom Katie.The babes are due
for their vaccinations,
but they’re not
going to the doctor.
We’re sending them
to alternative
health practitioners
And you’re not going
to believe what these parents
are about to hear
about vaccines.
Erica:From people we trust
with our children’s health.
I think it’s irresponsible,
I think it’s frightening. Erica:Why a shot of confusion
could put these kids
and yours at risk.(♪♪)We head to Granville Island
in Vancouver,
a popular kids hangout.Ask parents to
give it a shot.
Hi there, do you want
to take amarketplacetest? How old is
your little one? He’s 7 months.And talk to us about
a health decision
they’ve all had to make:To vaccinate or not.Is it a hard thing
to grapple with? I think so, for sure. Absolutely. Erica:Parents here say
it’s a tough choice.
I think a lot of parents
are influenced with the latest
magazine covers. Erica:Made tougher when
it’s not clear who to believe.
Without a doubt
in my mind, I believe vaccinations
triggered Evan’s autism. Erica:Even celebrities
are battling it out.
One of the most vulnerable
things you can do to a child who doesn’t have an immune
system is give them a shot. Vaccines are very safe. Erica:Seems everyone’s
got strong opinions.
Roto-virus, Rubella — We’re making the sickest
generation of American children in the history
of our country. Erica:And they
don’t hold back.
You’re antagonizing
a medical community that wants
to help these kids. Erica:With so much
confusion around vaccines,
there is growing concern
over the number
of people in Canada
not getting vaccinated.
Insome communities,
more than 40 per cent
don’t have all
their shots.
It’s frustrating
to say the least. Erica:
Shannon MacDonald is a nurse
who has seen first hand
kids suffering
from vaccine
preventable diseases.
The other thing that
we would see more often than I would like
is meningococcemia. We’d end up having to amputate
fingers and toes and feet just to try and
control the infection and sometimes the children
didn’t make it. Erica:That prompted MacDonald
to start researching
why some parents choose
not to vaccinate their kids.
What she found, troubling
advice handed out when parents
visited some alternative
health practitioners.
We asked in a survey
whether or not those providers gave advice on vaccines and whether it was positive
or negative advice. And we found that they were
providing discouraging advice, so they were saying
don’t use vaccines. Erica:About a third
of the time
alternative health
practitioners swayed parents
from vaccinating.Other research
has found that, too.
So, we start to dig
and sure enough,
we easily find
alternative health websites
slamming vaccines.But one group goes further.Homeopaths: They offer
an alternative treatment
to vaccination.Hi. Erica:So we book appointments
with Homeopaths
for moms Katie and Emma.Erica:Five in all in
Toronto and Vancouver.
We want to test how
vaccines are discussed
and what impact that
can have on parents.
The babies settle in.And it doesn’t take long for
almost all of the homeopaths
to raise concerns
about vaccines.
Erica:In two different
appointments, Emma is told
thenumber of shots
kids get today
is overwhelming
their immune systems.
Erica:We show vaccine expert
Shannon MacDonald.
Is there any
truth to that? It’s quite
the opposite, actually. So the number
of vaccines are more but we’ve refined
vaccines to the point that the actual,
shall we say, the germs, the antigens that are put
into the child’s arm are at a much
lower number. Erica:Next, four out
of five take a shot
at a shot every kid
is supposed to get:
The MMR vaccine for measles,
mumps and rubella.
Erica:Incredibly, these
homeopaths tell Emma and Katie
vaccines could cause autism.In one appointment,
then another.
Vaccine damaged?MacDonald can’t believe
the autism myth
based on a discredited study
is alive and well.
That whole study has been
completely debunked but it planted the seed
of doubt in parents’ minds and it’s hard
to unscare people. Thank you very much. Definitely you always
worry about things that your child
could acquire or diseases that they could
get and parenting now is a lot about fear. Erica:So, back on
Granville Island,
do messages like the ones
we heard at the homeopaths
affect other parents’
decisions to vaccinate?
Want to give it a shot?To find out,
we show parents
some of the common vaccine
myths we’ve heard.
What I’m going do is
give you these and —And ask them to let us know
which ones they worry about.
Anything that gives you pause
or makes you think twice just stick one of those
next to the statement. Getting too many vaccines
could overwhelm my child’s immune system. Yeah, I’ll put one there. I might agree
with that. Erica:And when it comes
to vaccines causing autism…
I’m going to put this on because
I’m not too sure, okay. Erica:Seems myths about
vaccination are powerful.
When I talk
about my research to people of my mother’s
generation they are shocked that somebody would
not choose to vaccinate. They all had siblings
or friends who got polio and were either paralyzed
or in an iron lung but most people my generation
don’t even know that. So they just have no concept
of what risk they’re taking on by avoiding the very
small risk of a vaccine. Okay come on in, we’re going to go into
Dr. Colburn’s office. So is she two
months old now? Four months. Erica:In Mississauga, Ontario,
Meghan Anderson
can’t believe parents would
choose not to vaccinate either.
We’re going to start
by measuring her head today. Erica:Her daughter,
Brielle, is recovering
from whooping cough, a disease
a vaccine can prevent.
This is her first time
out since getting ill.
This must be Brielle. And this is Brielle.Meghan vividly remembers
the night Brielle got sick.
Once we got to
the hospital that night it just seemed to
progress very rapidly.They started to see her stop
breathing and really choking
and we had to put
an oxygen mask on her,
they got her set up
with an IV.
She would turn blue.There is no way to explain to
anyone what that looks like
until you’ve seen it
first hand.
It’s deadly.
It’s deadly in infants — it’s deadly. Erica:Babies like Brielle
need others to be vaccinated
because they’re too young to
get a shot for whooping cough.
What did you know at that point
about that disease? I didn’t really even
grasp the concept of what whooping cough was
or meant for young infants until this happened
to Brielle. It’s ridiculous that it would
happen in this day and age. Erica:But almost all
of the homeopaths we visit
downplay the risk
of babies getting sick
from other serious diseases.Erica:Even for measles, when
we recently saw outbreaks
across Canada.What did you think
about that? There are outbreaks going on
as we speak. That was discussed. They said, you know, even
though she went on to say it’s a relatively
small number of people and it’s quite, you know,
localized in one small area. But what happens if I live
in that small area? Erica:We heard over and over
measles if you get it
it’s not a big deal.
Is that right?
No that’s not right. Children die of measles, I can’t believe somebody would
put themselves out there by saying something that
is so patently untrue. Erica:Potentially deadly
diseases downplayed.
Just wait until you hear what
our parents are sold next.
Coming up.Did you get any kind
of a warning with those? No, this is exactly
how they came. Tom:What are your thoughts
about shots?
Join the conversation about the
story on
FacebookandTwitter. (♪♪) Hi. Hi, how are you? Erica:We’re visiting
homeopaths, listening in
on the advice they’re giving
moms Katie and Emma
about vaccinating their kids.So far, what we hear
is alarming.
Almost all the homeopaths
tell our undercover parents
vaccination could
be dangerous.
Only one doesn’t raise
concerns about risks.
And check out what this
homeopath is about to show us.
A homeopathic alternative
they all offer,
say is risk-free.And claim is just as effective
as vaccination.
over 90 per cent?
And when we asked where
they get those stats,
one name surfaces
every time.
We’re joined today
by Dr. Isaac Golden, a recognized world leader
in Homeopathy. He says there is a safe
homeopathic option. Erica:Isaac Golden is
an Australian homeopath.
A guru when it comesto what he calls
homeopathic immunization.
The one advantage with the
homeopathic option is because it works on different principles
it’s not an attempt to mimic vaccination. Erica:Golden lectures
on this alternative
around the world.So when we learn
he’s in Toronto,
we meet up to ask
how it works.
It works on
a very subtle level, as does
homeopathic treatment. Unfortunately, it would take
more time than the program has to give a full
explanation of that. Erica:Well,
let’s give it a shot.
To make a homeopathic
vaccine alternative,
you start with
an ingredient similar
to what you
want to treat.
Say, whooping cough.You start with
a drop of organism and that may come
from sputum of people with clinically diagnosed
whooping cough. Erica:Then, dilute it
over and over,
giving it a good shake
each time, until the remedies
are often so diluted
you’d need to take a pill
larger than the earth
to get a single atom
of active ingredient.But homeopaths say
that’s okay.
What’s important is the memory
of the ingredient
that’s transferred
to the water,
a feat that’s never been
scientifically proven.
Even Golden admits
it sounds far fetched.
So all I’m asking is to put
aside that barrier in your mind and not be stuck on whether
you can understand how it works but look at the evidence
of whether it does work. Erica:Evidence he says
there is plenty of.
No clinical trials, but…other research and his own.My job, I see it, is to share
the data with the world so that people who are
really genuinely concerned about this topic can see
what evidence there is. Erica:And now, Golden is
about to share that evidence
with homeopaths
in a full-day seminar
at a rented room at
the University of Toronto.
To get an expert’s take
on the evidence presented,
we call in Jason Busse.He’s a prof
of research methodology
at McMaster University.Jason, hi. Jason. Erica:Golden’s agreed
to let him into the seminar,
but not our cameras.[indistinct lecturing]After the session wraps,
we get Busse’s take.
Homeopaths themselves admit
there is no active ingredient in these pills. They say
it’s based on energy, the memory of
an active ingredient. I think that if extraordinary
claims are going to be made about a treatment,
it needs to be accompanied by extraordinary evidence.
And that evidence is not here. Erica:Since there is no good
proof the alternative works,
we ask Golden if
he’s putting kids at risk.
When people say that
promoting or giving parents an option to immunize
homeopathically is irresponsible because of lack of evidence,
then my answer is very simple. Look at the evidence. I’ve reviewed the studies
that Isaac Golden is presenting in his lectures. I have reviewed his graduate
thesis where he presents evidence that he’s acquired. The quality of that
evidence is low. What effect could
what the homeopaths heard at this seminar have on
parents and their kids? If they continue to receive
information encouraging them to pursue options other
than conventional vaccination, it’s conceivable we could see
those group immunization rates decline even further. So, could kids get sick? Yes. Erica:Which is why Health
Canada requires labels
on homeopathic
vaccine alternatives,
saying…Erica:So do the homeopathic
vaccine alternatives
offered to us
have that label?
We asked Katie and Emma to pick
some up at two appointments.
What did you get? I got whooping cough. Okay, and it’s
some pills inside. Do you want
to see them? Erica:But when
we check them out…
Did you get any kind
of a warning with those? No, this is exactly
how they came. Erica:No label here.So these are
for measles. Do you see a warning
on your package? Nope, I do not.
Just the instructions. Erica:Or here.We contactHealth Canada
about our findings
but they say
nothing is amiss.
If a homeopath mixes their
own vaccine alternative,
they don’t require
a warning label.
Go figure.As for the fear mongering
and misinformation,
we contact all of
the homeopaths we visit
and several associations.No one will talk
on camera.
And the homeopaths say
they just provide parents
with information.That information
didn’t convince Katie,
but she worries
about other parents
who visit homeopaths.All of the women that
we spoke to had many clients. Many children who had been
vaccinated with those homeopathic vaccines. It’s worrying because
I don’t think those children are going to be protected. Erica:
Emma’s not sold, either.
I think its irresponsible for
them to instil fear in parents and for that
to be a tactic for them to get you
to use their product. Erica:Both moms say they’ll
follow their doctors advice.
So Natalie…[coos]and Matthew…will be getting
all their shots.

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