Comment: Neat way for allopaths to have a go at the vaccine opposition under the guise of "against government policy"

Survey shows that some homoeopaths and chiropractors advise against MMR

EDITOR---Vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) is highly controversial.1 One of us (EE) found that some providers of complementary medicine have a negative attitude towards immunisation.2 We therefore evaluated and compared the response of professional homoeopaths, chiropractors, and general practitioners to an inquiry about MMR vaccination.

We obtained the email addresses of the three health professions from these websites:,, We also visited the private homepages of homoeopaths and chiropractors on the internet. We sent a letter in which a mother asked for advice about the MMR vaccination for her 1 year old child to all the addresses. We explained to all those who responded that the query was, in fact, part of a research project, giving them opportunity to withdraw their answers. The study was approved by the local ethics committee.

We contacted 168 homoeopaths, of whom 104 (72%) responded, 27 (26%) withdrawing their answers. We contacted 63 chiropractors, of whom 22 (44%) responded, six (27%) withdrawing their responses. No general practitioners responded. The table shows that only a few professional homoeopaths and a quarter of the chiropractors advised in favour of the MMR vaccination. Almost half of the homoeopaths and nearly a fifth of the chiropractors advised against it.

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Responses of three health professional groups to letter from mother asking for advice about vaccinating 1 year old child against measles, mumps, and rubella

These data suggest that some providers of complementary medicine are advising people against government policy. General practitioners, on the other hand, seem not respond at all to patients' emails on this delicate matter.

K Schmidt, Pilkington research fellow
E Ernst, director
Department of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, Exeter EX2 4NT

. Ferriman A. London mayor attacked for doing "irreparable damage"on MMR. BMJ 2002; 325: 66[Free Full Text]. (13 July.)
2. Ernst E. Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination. Vaccine 2002; 20: S90-S93[ISI].