Vets in UK Speak Out Against Vaccination
Ten years after the start of the
Canine Health Concern campaign to end annual vaccination, the following
letter appeared in Veterinary Times, UK - at the end of January
2004. In the world of science, ten years is a very short time in
which to expect a sea change. We and others whose dogs have suffered
vaccine reactions; we whose beloved friends have died and suffered
unnecessarily, have been pilloried and castigated for speaking the
truth for long enough now. Time to take this letter to your vet;
time to post it to other vets in your neighbourhood; time to show
this letter to all the dog lovers you meet in the park or at classes.
Time to get the truth out there once and for all. Time to stop our
beloved animals suffering. Time to say 'YES!' - but not yet time
to stop the campaign. We shall not be finished until annual vaccination
is a thing of the past.
I dedicate this post to my own
dear friends who had to die for this letter to appear in Veterinary
Times: Oliver, Prudence and Samson, and to the thousands, or even
millions, of animals and children whose lives have been terminated
because people in scientific and veterinary communities saw a way
to make a quick annual buck.
My respect and gratitude go to
the courageous veterinarians who have signed the letter below.
Please feel free to cross post far and wide:
We, the undersigned, would like
to bring to your attention our concerns in the light of recent new
evidence regarding vaccination protocol.
The American Veterinary Medical
Association Committee report this year states that 'the one year
revaccination recommendation frequently found on many vaccination
labels is based on historical precedent, not scientific data'.
In JAVMA in 1995, Smith notes
that 'there is evidence that some vaccines provide immunity beyond
one year. In fact, according to research there is no proof that
many of the yearly vaccinations are necessary and that protection
in many instances may be life long'; also, 'Vaccination is a potent
medical procedure with both benefits and risks for the patient';
further that, 'Revaccination of patients with sufficient immunity
does not add measurably to their disease resistance, and may increase
their risk of adverse post-vaccination events.'
Finally, he states that: 'Adverse
events may be associated with the antigen, adjuvant, carrier, preservative
or combination thereof. Possible adverse events include failure
to immunise, anaphylaxis, immunosuppression, autoimmune disorders,
transient infections and/or long-term infected carrier states.'
The report of the American Animal
Hospital Association Canine Vaccine Taskforce in JAAHA (39 March/April
2003) is also interesting reading: 'Current knowledgte supports
the statement that no vaccine is always safe, no vaccine is always
protective and no vaccine is always indicated'; 'Misunderstanding,
misinformation and the conservative nature of our profession have
largely slowed adoption of protocols advocating decreased frequency
of vaccination'; 'Immunological memory provides durations of immunity
for core infectious diseases that far exceed the traditional recommendations
for annual vaccination. This is supported by a growing body of veterinary
information as well as well-developed epidemiological vigilance
in human medicine that indicates immunity induced by vaccination
is extremely long lasting and, in .most cases, lifelong.'
Further, the evidence shows that
the duration of immunity for rabies vaccine, canine distemper vaccine,
canine parvovirus vaccine, feline panleukopaenia vaccine, feline
rhinotracheitis and feline calicivurus have all been demonstrated
to be a minimum of seven years, by serology for rabies and challenge
studies for all others.
The veterinary surgeons below
fully accept that no single achievement has had greater impact on
the lives and well-being of our patients, our clients and our ability
to prevent infectious diseases than the developments in annual vaccines.
We, however, fully support the recommendations and guidelines of
the American Animal Hospitals Association Taskforce, to reduce vaccine
protocols for dogs and cats such that booster vaccinations are only
given every three years, and only for core vaccines unless otherwise
We further suggest that the evidence
currently available will soon lead to the following facts being
* The immune systems of dogs and
cats mature fully at six months and any modified live virus (MLV)
vaccine given after that age produces immunity that is good for
the life of that pet.
* If another MLV vaccine is given
a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralise the
antigens from the subsequent so there is little or no effect; the
pet is not 'boosted', nor are more memory cells induced.
* Not only are annual boosters
for canine parvovirus and distemper unnecessary, they subject the
pet to potential risks of allergic reactions and immune-mediated
* There is no scientific documentation
to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.
* Puppies and kittens receive
antibodies through their mothers' milk. This natural protection
can last eight to 14 weeks.
* Puppies and kittens should NOT
be vaccinated at less than eight weeks. Maternal immunity will neutralise
the vaccine and little protection will be produced.
* Vaccination at six weeks will,
however, DELAY the timing of the first effective vaccine.
* Vaccines given two weeks apart
SUPPRESS rather than stimulate the immune system.
This would give possible new guidelines
1. A series of vaccinations is
given starting at eight weeks of age (or preferably later) and given
three to four weeks apart, up to 16 weeks of age.
2. One further booster is given
sometime after six months of age and will then provide life-long
In light of data now available
showing the needless use and potential harm of annual vaccination,
we call on our profession to cease the policy of annual vaccination.
Can we wonder that clients are
losing faith in vaccination and researching the issue themselves?
We think they are right to do so. Politics, tradition or the economic
well-being of veterinary surgeons and pharmaceutical companies should
not be a factor in making medical decisions.
It is accepted that the annual
examination of a pet is advisable. We undervalue ourselves, however,
if we hang this essential service on the back of vaccination and
will ultimately suffer the consequences. Do we need to wait until
we see actions against vets, such as those launched in the state
of Texas by Dr Robert Rogers? He asserts that the present practice
of marketing vaccinations for companion animals constitutes fraud
by misrepresentation, fraud by silence and theft by deception.
The oath we take as newly-qualified
veterinary surgeons is 'to help, or at least do no harm'. We wish
to maintain our position within society, and be deserving of the
trust placed in us as a profession. It is therefore our contention
that those who continue to give annual vaccinations in the light
of new evidence may well be acting contrary to the wefare of the
animals committed to their care.
Richard Allport, BVetMed, MRCVS
Sue Armstrong, MA BVetMed, MRCVS
Mark Carpenter, BVetMed, MRCVS
Sarah Fox-Chapman, MS, DVM, MRCVS
Nichola Cornish, BVetMed, MRCVS
Tim Couzens, BVetMed, MRCVS
Chris Day, MA, VetMB, MRCVS
Claire Davies, BVSc, MRCVS
Mark Elliott, BVSc, MRCVS
Peter Gregory, BVSc, MRCVS
Lise Hansen, DVM, MRCVS
John Hoare, BVSc, MRCVS
Graham Hines, BVSc, MRCVS
Megan Kearney, BVSc, MRCVS
Michelle L'oste Brown, BVetMed, MRCVS
Suzi McIntyre, BVSc, MRCVS
Siobhan Menzies, BVM&S, MRCVS
Nazrene Moosa, BVSc, MRCVS
Mike Nolan, BVSc, MRCVS
Ilse Pedler, MA, VetMB, BSc, MRCVS
John Saxton, BVetMed, MRCVS
Cheryl Sears, MVB, MRCVS
Jane Seymour, BVSc, MRCVS
Christine Shields, BVSc, MRCVS
Suzannah Stacey, BVSc, MRCVS
Phillip Stimpson, MA, VetMB, MRCVS
Nick Thompson, BSc, BVM&S, MRCVS
Lyn Thompson, BVSc, MRCVS
Wendy Vere, VetMB, MA, MRCVS
Anuska Viljoen, BVSc, MRCVS,
and Wendy Vink, BVSc, MRCVS
Vaccination Story in the Dogs World UK March 2004
Links to recent articals in this topic
It appears that the letter written
by those UK veterinarians and published in the Veterinary Times
in January subsequently was picked up by the Dog World then the
Dog Training Weekly in the UK.
Then, last Thursday, it seemed like most of the mainstream media
picked up on it.
The below three links will take you to 3 of those.
It was also in the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, The Times and
I don't know what else.
Also below is the article in the
Times, and if you go to this BBC site there is a video interview:
Under April 1st, click on the 0640 timeslot "a group of vets........."
Times article The Times Newspaper
April 02, 2004
Annual pet jab is waste of money, vets claim By Sam Lister
DOG and cat owners are spending
millions of pounds on unnecessary and potentially dangerous vaccines
for their pets, according to a group of veterinary surgeons.
More than 30 vets have signed
an open letter accusing the pharmaceutical industry of encouraging
annual vaccinations, although doses last much longer. The advice
being given to vets by drug companies, and passed on to pet owners,
amounts to "fraud by misrepresentation, fraud by silence and theft
by deception", the group says.
Annual vaccination boosters, which cost up to #50, are given to
dogs and cats to protect them against potentially life-threatening
conditions such as distemper, leptospirosis and several strains
In the letter to the Veterinary
Times, the vets point to American research that links the overuse
of boosters to "adverse post-vaccination events", including auto-immune
disorders and transient infections. "It is our contention that those
(vets) who continue to give annual vaccinations in the light of
new evidence may well be acting contrary to the welfare of the animals
committed to their care," the letter concludes.
The pharmaceutical industry defended
the advice given on its products yesterday. Members said that they
were bound by rules from licensing authorities. Because of a lack
of general research into the long-term efficacy of the drugs, a
minimum 12-month period of immunity had to be recommended. John
Saxton, one of the letter's signatories, described the level of
vaccinations given to Britain's 13 million dogs and cats as "complete
overkill". Mr Saxton, from Leeds, added: "All the research is saying
the same thing, that annual boosters are not necessary. But vets
cannot give impartial advice because they are not being passed on
impartial advice from the drug companies. "The information they
are working on may have been valid 20 years ago, but things have
moved on." A primary course of two vaccinations is normally given
to puppies and kittens between the age of eight and 14 weeks, followed
by annual boosters. Pet owners can expect to pay more than #700
for vaccinations over the lifetime of the average pet. The boosters,
which cost from #20 to #50, are central to the annual income of
most veterinary clinics, with a large practice likely to see in
excess of 5,000 cases a year.
Bruce Fogle, a vet and broadcaster
based in West London, said that after studying research from Europe
and America he had decided to stop giving annual vaccinations for
some conditions. "As the number of diseases against which dogs and
cats were being vaccinated increased during the 1970s and 1980s,
so the culture changed to an annual booster inoculation for everything,"
he said. "I have now switched back to vaccinating every three years
against the diseases where I was confident that the efficacy was
sufficient to give three years' protection. But the problem for
most vets has been that the manufacturers have recommended yearly
doses." The manufacturers say that although they can test animals
for one or two years so that they can give a minimum cover or immunity,
it is difficult to perform lifelong tests.
David Sutton, a spokesman for
Intervet, one of the world's largest veterinary drug manufacturers,
said that proving longer > term immunity would require testing a
large number of animals for many years. "We base our recommendations
on the science and the science we have tells us that we don't know
how long immunity lasts > in any individual animal," he said. "What
we do know is there are some animals that need more frequent vaccination
than others and our vaccine recommendations have to be based on
taking account of those animals."
Freda Scott-Park, president of
the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, said that all vets
should continue to observe current drug recommendations until more
conclusive scientific evidence suggested otherwise. "We are trying
to protect as many pets as possible from these diseases, which can
be deadly," she said. "There is no guarantee that one animal will
respond as well to a vaccine as another animal."
Dr Scott-Park dismissed suggestions
that repeated vaccines could have an adverse affect. "Vaccination
is vital. No other single thing has provided a greater benefit to
companion animals," she said.
The primary course of vaccinations normally comprises two injections
- the first at about eight weeks and the second at 12 to 14 weeks
- costing #80 in total. A third jab is sometimes recommended and
annual booster jabs cost about #50, making #730 in total for a dog
or cat that lives to 14.
The jabs, which are given in the
scruff of the neck, protect against conditions including:
DOGS: parvovirus (a gastrointestinal infection); canine distemper
(pneumonia and inflammation of the brain); and leptospirosis (a
liver or kidney infection).
CATS: feline enteritis; feline
respiratory diseases (cat flu); and feline leukaemia, which suppresses
the immune system.