Comments on the AANP Position on Immunizations

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
April 15, 2019

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians position paper on vaccinations advocates “informed consent,” “more research,” and “parental choice. These may sound legitimate, but the real message is an unbalanced attack on immunization based on delusional philosophy rather than science. The prevailing scientific view is that a few minor problems exist and are being addressed, but the benefits of immunization are so much greater than the risks that immunization should be universal. (In other words, the public health value of immunization is so well established that it would be senseless to debate whether or not it is worthwhile.) In contrast, the AANP position statement exaggerates the risks and suggests that “some” of the current vaccinations are ineffective.

Overview of Naturopathic Medicine and Immunizations

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is a strong proponent of preventive medicine and of the protection of children and adults from the serious consequences of infectious disease. Naturopathic physicians, as primary care providers, are morally obliged and legally mandated to uphold and carry out the public health mandates and should be authorized to administer immunizations in all jurisdictions where naturopathic regulation to do so exists. All physicians are ethically obliged to give parents and legal guardians accurate and current information on both the benefits and risks of childhood immunizations, i.e., parental “informed consent”, such as required by the public health clinics of the United States Public Health Service. It is documented that some of the current and past immunizing agents have been associated with significant morbidity and are of variable efficacy and varying necessity.

It is the position of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians that:

  • Safer, more effective immunizations should continue to be developed, and more research should be conducted on possible short-term and long-term adverse effects of immunizations currently in use.
  • All physicians should be attentive to the proper use of immunizations, avoid their administration to individuals with conditions that contraindicate their use. Physicians should accurately chart the immunization or offer thereof, including parental or legal guardian refusal or exceptions for any immunization and any adverse events.
  • All physicians should obtain from parents or legal guardians signed informed consent for immunization by providing printed information describing the risks of the infectious diseases, the risks and benefits of childhood immunizations and other options. Documented consent describing such information should be provided in a format and manner which allows responsible parents to make informed decisions regarding the immunization of their children.
  • ll physicians and institutions providing care for children and adults should respect the responsibility and freedom of patients, parents and guardians to decide whether or not to proceed with the immunizations or the recommended immunization schedule within the range of options provided by state law.
  Adopted by the House of Delegates September 1991
Reviewed by HOD PPRC 2008
Slightly amended by HOD PPRC 2011

This article was revised on April 15, 2019.