Although vaccines have a role to play in society and are necessary, they can also cause undesirable and sometimes severe side effects. The decisions medical doctors make on the question of vaccines are bases on legal arguments, the balance between risk and benefit of each vaccine, the science available, and also the patients, their sensitivity, their culture and circumstantial factors.
Doctors have to make decisions with regards to the protection of the population. Through our work as homeopaths we are confronted with an individual’s reactions. In case of a sensitive patient or somebody with important antecedents, we have to consider the indication of a vaccine in the light of its composition and the moment of its administration. We are aware of patients who suffered vaccination incidents, accidents and or tragedies and we have to analyse, understand and respect their history. Our homeopathic approach draws our attention to those particularly reactive individuals and families we classify as being in the tuberculosis miasm. We also meet patients who have rather original life styles. All this, enriched by the observation of immunologists regarding genetic susceptibilities to certain ‘protective’ environments, leads us to practice an individualised vaccination strategy.
The subject of vaccines should also be studied in a larger ecologic context, that of the fight of man against the ‘microbes’. A French immunologist writes (Gualde 1999): ‘The origin of epidemics, the emergence of new risks and new resistances is multi-factorial, uniting ecological biological and socio-cultural factors.’
Being homeopathic doctors makes us more attentive to the notion of individual sensitivity, a notion introduced by Fortier-Bernoville in the definition of the principle of similitude.
Every day we look for individual sensitivities to the prescribed medicines (homeopathic or conventional). We also look for signs of vulnerability to the appearance of chronic diseases and undesirable effects of medicines. This attention to refined detail is the strength of homeopathy, but also limits the hurried generalisation of its practice. We are therefore confronted with contradictory responsibilities: a technical responsibility of the medical doctor in the light of evident public health imperatives, but also the responsibility of humanist practitioners, aware of the individual genetic sensibilities, and tolerant of life styles which promote a very ‘protective’ point of view.
We know that our responsibilities to protect our patients from severe infectious diseases (and in sensitive patients to prevent the appearance of chronic diseases), integrate into complex biological, ecological and socio-cultural (including political, financial and media) equilibriums demanding a large amount of tolerance and vigilance of our part.
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