MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

The associations between so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) and negative attitudes to vaccinations are, as discussed repeatedly on this blog, strong and undeniable. A new paper sheds more light on these issues.

By far the most common strategy used in the attempt to modify negative attitudes toward vaccination is to appeal to evidence-based reasoning. However, focusing on science comprehension is inconsistent with one of the key facts of cognitive psychology: Humans are biased information processors and often engage in motivated reasoning. On this basis, it is hypothesized that negative attitudes can be explained primarily by factors unrelated to the empirical evidence for vaccination; including some shared attitudes that also attract people to SCAM.

This study tested psychosocial factors associated with SCAM endorsement in past research; including aspects of spirituality, intuitive (vs analytic) thinking styles, and the personality trait of openness to experience. These relationships were tested in a cross-sectional, stratified CATI survey (N = 1256, 624 Females).

Questions regarding SCAM were derived from a previously validated instrument, designed to standardize the measurement of SCAM utilization, and distinguish between those that use a particular SCAM from those that do not. Each SCAM item provided an indication of whether the respondent had utilized each of the following therapeutic or self-treatment activities within the last 12 months:

  • herbal and homeopathic remedies,
  • energy-based and body therapies (including therapeutic massage),
  • vitamins, yoga, meditation, prayer, body therapies, hypnosis, spiritual healing,
  • and chiropractic or osteopathic treatments.

The results show that educational level and thinking style did not predict vaccination rejection. Psychosocial factors such as

  • preferring SCAM to conventional medicine (OR .49, 95% CI .36-.66),
  • endorsement of spirituality as a source of knowledge (OR .83, 95% CI .71-.96),
  • openness (OR .86, 95% CI .74-.99),

all predicted negative attitudes to vaccination. Furthermore, for 9 of the 12 SCAMs surveyed, utilisation in the last 12 months was associated with lower levels of vaccination endorsement. Additionally, the rank-order correlation between the number of different alternative therapies used in the last 12 months and vaccination attitude score was significant. Finally, analytical thinking style was negatively related to all forms of CAM, with this relationship significant in three cases:

  • herbal remedies ρ = −.08, p = .0014,
  • homeopathy, ρ = −.06, p = .0236,
  • prayer for the purpose of healing, ρ = −.15, p < .0001.

The authors concluded that vaccination scepticism appears to be the outcome of a particular cultural and psychological orientation leading to unwillingness to engage with the scientific evidence. Vaccination compliance might be increased either by building general confidence and understanding of evidence-based medicine, or by appealing to features usually associated with SCAM, e.g. ‘strengthening your natural resistance to disease’.

In the discussion section of their paper, the authors argue that these results describe a vaccine sceptic as viewing themselves as anti-authoritarian and unconventional, with a preference for unorthodox treatments with spiritual or ‘life-affirming’ features. The significant effect for personality, but not for cognitive style, is congruent with the notion that it is a reluctance to engage with the evidence, rather than a lack of capacity to appropriately process the evidence, that predicts vaccination scepticism…

SCAM endorsement and vaccination scepticism are components of a common attitudinal stance, with some shared psychosocial determinants. The results of the present study indicate that vaccination rejection is related to psychosocial factors: a general preference for complementary over conventional medicines, valuing diverse and unconventional alternatives, and a spiritual orientation to attitude formation. The null findings with regard to cognitive style and educational level suggest that factors unrelated to the actual empirical evidence for vaccination – i.e. a particular personality and attitudinal mindset are most instrumental in determining vaccination attitudes. Efforts to counter vaccination concerns should be mindful that negative vaccination views appear to form part of a broader attitudinal system that does not necessarily trust empirical or positivist evidence from authoritative sources. Vaccination promotion efforts may benefit from targeting groups associated with SCAM and building general confidence in scientific medicine, rather than targeting specific misunderstandings regarding vaccination.

58 Responses to Preference of so-called alternative medicine predicts negative attitudes to vaccination

  • I would say that believing “vaccines are safe and effective” is clear evidence of being unwilling to engage with scientific evidence. It implies religious faith in them, not a rational scientific skepticism. The saying implies that all vaccines are safe and effective irrespective of which vaccine and who is taking it and what their current state of health is. Anyone who does a little research finds out that is untrue; then I guess they become a horrid anti-vaxer.

    From all the studies like this it Sounds like in the near future there will be a DSM entry for “vaccine hesitancy/anti-vaxer” and sufferers of this disease will all have to be committed to psychiatric treatment And vaccination of course. They will have to commit the USA Congress and Supreme Court too since they ruled that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe.

    https://nexusnewsfeed.com/article/health-healing/the-supreme-court-did-not-deem-vaccines-unavoidably-unsafe-congress-did/

    • “I would say that believing “vaccines are safe and effective” is clear evidence of being unwilling to engage with scientific evidence.”
      I’m sure you would – because you are wrong!

      • Edzard

        “https://thelogicofscience.com/2018/06/14/vaccines-are-unavoidably-unsafe-but-that-doesnt-mean-they-are-dangerous/”

        If you read the link, the difference here is that NOBODY has been/is being mandated to eat peanut butter. So the world was spinning along just fine when initially there was an option as to get jabbed or not. Not that the vaccine hesitant didn’t correctly see mandates coming.

        The medical vaccine industry and the world governments did a huge disservice to vaccine proponents and the general population at large due to the fact that they were responsible for increasing the numbers of the vaccine hesitant population by attempting to force patients to give up control of their own bodies and medical decisions. This led to vaccine skepticism.

        Vaccine mandates were just one aspect that have led the public to become more skeptical of the scientific evidence. Mandated face mask wearing (which is unproven to be successful). Mandating facemasks in airplanes and restaurants, except while eating. Closing small businesses, but allowing big business to remain open. Approving and mandating vaccines that are not effective for more than three or four months due to the fact that they were not studied sufficiently. Claiming that vaccines would stop the transmission and spread when in fact they didn’t. All of this lends to the skepticism of what occurred over the last couple years. Why ? … because the science was flawed in every case.

        Now the general population is not only more skeptical of vaccines, they are more skeptical of what is deemed to be “science”. And also more skeptical of government controls.
        They shot themselves in the foot.

        • the subject is not mandates!

          • Ohhh yes it is.

            When the scientific, corporate and legal community are resting on the assumption that there is no way to make a completely safe vaccine (unavoidably unsafe), then forcing them on patients should not be permitted.

            And I spoke to the issue of vaccine hesitancy.

          • no, you spoke BS

        • @Roger ‘James Joromat’

          Now the general population is not only more skeptical of vaccines, they are more skeptical of what is deemed to be “science”. And also more skeptical of government controls.

          This development was not prompted by Covid-19 measures, but started way earlier, among other things when a mentally dysfunctional narcissist and pathological bullshitter ended up in the White House, and social media algorithms turned out to severely increase misinformation by serving up ever more radical content ‘matching’ people’s previous choices.
          When even the president of the US routinely belches out a couple of dozen blatant lies every single day and doesn’t appear to care at all about things such as truth, integrity or rules of democratic government, then yes, it is not surprising that people lose faith in the government, and won’t trust anything that is said any more. It also didn’t help when this dimwit narcissist openly opposed measures to protect people from Covid-19. And unfortunately, this situation has not really improved over the past year.
          Your inane claims and comments (not to mention lies(*)) of course seamlessly fit in with this disinformation pandemic.

          *: As antivaccine misinformation was already rampant when Covid-19 vaccines were introduced, long before any vaccine mandates.

          • First of all, vaccine hesitancy if not limited to the United States…. lol. WAKE-up and take a look around. It’s become a world wide problem, thanks to fascism and failed science.

            I hear ya Richard, but the mentally dysfunctional narcissist that you speak of might just be the same bullshitter in the white house that initiated the program known as Warp Speed to discover successful vaccines for the covid pandemic, and advised the congress to pass the funding for the program. Also the same bullshitter that has NEVER opposed vaccines, got jabbed himself even though he had already recovered from the virus, and give his hearty recommendation for all adults to get jabbed. Your blame is misplaced… try again.

            Furthermore, Social Media actually censured the vaccine hesitant crowd, they did nothing to increase the growth of the problem, save to allow the flow of information and news to be spread that the main stream media would not publish. I suspect that your preference is to only allow what lies has been deemed the official narrative by the TNI to be disseminated worldwide.
            This is also part of modern fascism, and quite effective.

          • Oh, I thought you were talking about Wakefield. Vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccine mania has been around since about 5 seconds after Jenner announced his findings. Trump is irrelevant except perhaps in the USA.

            I must say the paper seems to match my personal experience. At least one friend of mine who comes from a “homeopathic” family has delayed vaccinations for her children back in the 1990’s and while vaccinated for Covid really does not believe in it.

          • I too thought Wakefield!

          • @jrkrideau
            Absolutely, Wakefield was instrumental in stoking the fire of 21st century antivaccine sentiments. However, I think that the bigger misinformation pandemic only really took off some 6 or 7 years ago, aided in more than one way by social media platforms that tended to amplify extreme information.
            As a result, it is no longer just a more or less homogenous collection of ‘alternative’ loonies that harbour and express antivaccine sentiments; these sentiments have now been assimilated into a much broader stream of idiocy consisting of all extremes of the political spectrum, promulgating far worse things than just antivaccine propaganda – e.g. conspiracy nonsense and highly inflammatory political misinformation, aimed at causing general chaos rather than just defending personal beliefs. This is also evidenced by the fact that many groups that started out with spreading ‘just’ antivaccine propaganda and Covid-19 lies are now actively defending and even condoning the ongoing war crimes of Russia’s dictator – because they have developed a kind of knee-jerk response to go against any official position from the legitimate government, including the position that the atrocities in Ukraine are unacceptable … So now, those people who were formerly just rather dim antivaccine activists have now become useful idiots for supporting right-wing extremists and even worse scum.

            But OK, all this is rather off-topic here, as it does not explicitly involve alternative medicine, so I’ll keep it at this. Still, I think it is very important to realize how ‘antivaccine’ is no longer an isolated trait of a bunch of mostly harmless fools, but is being used to drag those witless fools into movements that are anything but harmless.

          • @Richard Rasker

            the bigger misinformation pandemic only really took off some 6 or 7 years ago, aided in more than one way by social media platforms that tended to amplify extreme information. …
            antivaccine propaganda – e.g. conspiracy nonsense and highly inflammatory political misinformation, aimed at causing general chaos rather than just defending personal beliefs. … many groups that started out with spreading ‘just’ antivaccine propaganda and Covid-19 lies are now actively defending and even condoning the ongoing war crimes of Russia’s dictator.

            That isn’t completely accidental. Russia has been using troll farms to spread disinformation on social media for a long time.

            misinformation about vaccines is not the only threat, as Russia is focusing on spreading misinformation around health care issues ahead of the 2020 election.
            Not only did Russia fuel the anti-vaccination debate, they have also spewed unverified information about 5G wireless technology. RT, a U.S.-based Russia-backed TV network, reported that new 5G technology was linked to cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s and other health issues, The New York Times reports.

        • The fact is, people that have been vaccinated are not dying from Covid. They might get a bit sick, but that is it. On 1/13/22, our son’s 63 yr old mother in law died from Covid. UNVACCINATED. On 1/31/22, our son’s 33 year old sister in law died from Covid. UNVACCINATED. The 33 yr old leaves behind a 12 yr old daughter. Her father was murdered about 3 yrs ago, so she has lost 3/4’s of her immediate family. The 33 yr old and the mother lived together. They falsely believed that the vaccines were dangerous. They had confirmation bias in their probe into vaccine safety. Our son and his wife are adopting the 12 yr old fyi. I am also 63 yrs old and personally know 8 other people that have died from Covid. Every single one was unvaccinated.

          • Grim story, Kate. Horrible that you’ve got to help pick up the pieces .The Omicron variant has been particularly brutal on the unvaccinated. When my wife worked in ICU over the pandemic, the number of seriously ill and dying people who then begged for a vaccine upset her a great deal. The counterpoint was the number of people who, even as they were being prepared for intubation, were still denying that COVID was A Thing.

            Everyone I know who has died of COVID did so before the vaccines were introduced.

          • “Everyone I know who has died of COVID did so before the vaccines were introduced.”

            Same here.

          • AND HERE

          • Not quite true in my case.

            I have a relative who died before the vaccines were introduced, but also an acquaintance who had multiple myeloma (as do I) and who had no response to his first two vaccines, but positive antibodies after his third. Thinking he was protected, he went on holiday to Tenerife, caught Covid (Delta I think), came home and died.

            Yesterday I received the results of some blood tests organised as part of a clinical trial, showing that after my third vaccine I had a probably adequate antibody response but an inadequte T-cell response. This is not something that is easy to measure and is not widely available outside clinical trials, but if my acquaintance had had his T-cells measured perhaps he would have known to stay home.

      • So I am wrong. Meaning all vaccines are the same. Same safety, same effectiveness.
        All people are the same such that they will all react to all vaccines the same way.
        So chanting the mantra, “Vaccines are safe and effective” is a clear-eyed look at vaccines, engaging with all the complexities of the subject? I dont think so.

        • wrong again

        • “Vaccines are safe and effective”
          This is so because the researchers who develop the vaccines are skilled, professional anti-vaxxers: they reject many vaccines because they aren’t safe or effective enough.
          You’re just an amateur 🙂

        • @Robin H
          So the developers of the University of Queensland/CSL V451 vaccine are anti-vaxxers? Because they stopped development of their vaccine part-way through its Phase 1 clinical trial because it did not meet one of their safety criteria.

          • So the developers of the University of Queensland/CSL V451 vaccine are anti-vaxxers? Because they stopped development of their vaccine part-way through its Phase 1 clinical trial because it did not meet one of their safety criteria.

            Far better anti-vaxxers than the people who are generally called so.

          • The reason we can trust vaccines are safe and effective is that really good anti-vaxxers have been involved in developing them. They toss out many bad vaccine candidates along the way.
            There are lots of possible vaccines that would be a really bad idea to have in one’s body, after all.
            There’s nothing wrong about being critical of vaccines or vaccine skeptical.
            The people we know (and may not much love) as anti-vaxxers are just really bad at it. They’re poseurs – rank amateurs at their self-appointed task of monitoring vaccines for safety and effectiveness.

          • @prl
            I am curious, if they stopped vaccine isn’t that trial and error? Did they feel this vaccine variant was unsafe? Is this variant available right now?
            I am confused, they tested and found not worthy of future research, what is you point?

          • if they stopped vaccine isn’t that trial and error? Did they feel this vaccine variant was unsafe?

            Yes. Researchers probably discard hundreds of potential vaccines before they come up with one that actually comes to market.
            That’s the point I was making.
            The mistake the people who are generally called anti-vaxxers make, is not that they’re critical or skeptical about vaccines. Researchers are very critical and skeptical. They are themselves vaccine skeptics.
            But this task of being critical and skeptical has been done for the general population, before the vaccine comes to market.
            The mistake the people who are generally called anti-vaxxers make is that they aren’t good skeptics.
            It’s similar to the difference between being a climate skeptic or a germ theory skeptic, and scientific skepticism. Hopefully, scientific skeptics are doing their skepticism better.

          • @Jim

            In the particular case of the UQ/CSL vaccine, Phase 1 trials showed that a known potential problem with the vaccine was indeed a problem.

            There is more detail here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V451_vaccine#Terminated_trial

            The vaccine failed a test that they were specifically doing to check whether the potential problem actually existed.

    • @Stan

      I would say that believing “vaccines are safe and effective” is clear evidence of being unwilling to engage with scientific evidence.

      What a silly comment. Yes, vaccines are safe and effective, also in a scientific sense: they prevent LOTS of suffering and death, at almost no risk. Only an absolute idiot would deny this. And no, there is no scientific evidence that vaccines should be considered unsafe or ineffective.

      It implies religious faith in them, not a rational scientific skepticism.

      It would appear that you are the one employing a dogmatic, unscientific definition here, akin to religion:

      The saying implies that all vaccines are safe and effective irrespective of which vaccine and who is taking it and what their current state of health is.

      This is not what the phrase ‘vaccines are safe and effective’ means, this is how antivaccine people like you want to read it. What you are committing here is called the straw man fallacy in general, and the nirvana fallacy in particular: you claim that the statement ‘vaccines are safe and effective’ should be read as ‘ALL vaccines are ALWAYS safe and ALWAYS effective for ALL PEOPLE, without ANY exceptions’. Which is rather stupid: literally nothing in this world can be considered safe (or effective) for 100% of people 100% of the time. And for the vast majority of people, most things in life that they can do are far more dangerous than getting vaccinated. People have a far higher risk of e.g. dying by choking on a snack than of experiencing serious side effects from vaccination. Yet scientists don’t warn that having a snack is ‘not safe’. (And we also don’t see any antisnaxxers protesting.)

      Anyone who does a little research finds out that is untrue

      It is only untrue if you ignore all the scientific information, and listen to people who deliberately misrepresent information and lie about vaccination. People like you, for instance. Because you can’t come up with any peer-reviewed scientific paper that says that vaccines should be considered unsafe.

      [vaccines deemed unavoidably unsafe]

      And like a good antivaxxer, you are once again acting in bad faith by knowingly misreading a legal term as a scientific characterization. ‘Unavoidably unsafe’ means that a beneficial product may come with some inherent risks, but that these risks cannot be eliminated without also destroying the beneficial nature of the product. Vaccines often cause mild injuries (pain, redness, swelling) and temporary discomfort as a result of the immune response, but this is considered acceptable because those vaccines prevent far more serious problems. And yes, for this reason it is also deemed acceptable that in very rare cases, vaccines cause more serious side effects such as an anaphylactic response.

      It is perhaps best compared to seat belts in cars: these things save countless lives and prevent lots of serious injuries – but in rare cases, they can be the cause of injury or even death. Yet no-one argues that seat belts are ‘unsafe’.

      • I enjoyed that!

      • It is perhaps best compared to seat belts in cars: these things save countless lives and prevent lots of serious injuries – but in rare cases, they can be the cause of injury or even death. Yet no-one argues that seat belts are ‘unsafe’.

        When compulsory seat belts were introduced we had idiots claiming that the government wanted to strap people into burning cars.

      • Yet no-one argues that seat belts are ‘unsafe’.

        antivaxxer_logic

        Of course they’re unsafe! More than 95% of car drivers who are killed in UK road traffic accidents were wearing seatbelts at the time.

        /antivaxxer-logic

    • Stan

      I’m afraid you misunderstand the language used. “Safe and effective” does not mean to any rational person 100% safe or 100% effective. Nothing is either. I am intrigued by what you mean by “a little research”. I hope it does not mean trawling the web for sites that confirm your prejudices.

      Your appeal to authority is amusing. The point of the article is that the opinion about vaccine safety came from inexpert lawmakers not expert lawyers, and certainly not expert epidemiologists. I would not place much confidence in a congress that acquitted a clearly guilty former president – twice.

      • “Safe and effective” does not mean to any rational person 100% safe or 100% effective. Nothing is either

        It’s just a variation on the “I’m not anti vaccine, I’m pro safe vaccines” lie that antivaxxers use. They set an unrealistic (indeed unattainable) target and complain that vaccines don’t meet it.

  • Vaccination compliance might be increased … by appealing to features usually associated with SCAM, e.g. ‘strengthening your natural resistance to disease’.

    YES. For example, vaccination is a natural, gentle way of working with the body’s immune system. It’s MUCH more natural than the various medications that people get to treat the vaccine-preventable disease, which modify the body in artificial ways. And it’s less invasive. Being intubated for severe Covid is not a natural or gentle experience.
    Alt-med treatments are often sold as being “natural” and “gentle” – but vaccines could be sold the same way.
    Alt-med practitioners are masters at salesmanship and creating good placebo effects, because often that is all they have to offer with their treatments. They *have* to be excellent at making people feel good and cared about. And homeopathy, for example, is probably really good at creating placebo effects, with the mysterious lingo, the exotic names, the mysterious labels for the ingredients, and the marketing as “natural” and “gentle”.
    Mainstream medicine could learn from this to sell their treatments better.
    For example, one person I talked to said he got allergy shots for awhile.
    But one time he had a reaction to the shots that upset him, I don’t remember exactly what it was.
    He told them about his reaction, and they said “We don’t care about that kind of reaction”.
    That bothered him, because he had been upset and maybe worried by the reaction. He took “We don’t care about that reaction” as a way of saying “We don’t care about you and your feelings”.
    So he quit getting allergy shots, and went off and got some alt-med treatment like NAET.
    Actually, when they said “We don’t care about that reaction”, it was good news! It meant that his allergy shot doses wouldn’t have to be cut back, since his body was tolerating those doses OK. But they alienated him with a lack of interpersonal skills.

    • Robin

      “It’s MUCH more natural than the various medications that people get to treat the vaccine-preventable disease”

      Please stop saying that, I know many people (including family) that were jabbed and still got sick with covid…. you speak nonsense. Have you read the news ? Yes, the vaccine can and does help, but it’s not a panacea.

      The best way of having a “gentle way of working with the body’s immune system”. Is to STOP the consumption of sugar and overeating, reverse the obesity, lower down the insulin resistance, lower the metabolic disease, do some exercise everyday… and loose some darn pounds of weight.
      That is the best way to fight covid, lower down, or get rid of the worst comorbidities.

      • you should write a book about your views: BULLSHIT FOR DUMMIES

        • That would be a good title for a book sarcastically promoting alt-med!
          For the Homeopathy chapter –
          “Dissolve a bit of something dangerous in water, shake it, dilute it and throw almost all of it away. Keep diluting it until not a single molecule of the dangerous thing is left, only water.
          Then drink it. It’s very gentle. It won’t hurt you since all of the dangerous thing has been diluted away.
          It will HELP you actually to drink it, if you suffer from something similar to the dangerous thing.
          It will dilute away your suffering, just like the dangerous thing was diluted away.”
          Or acupuncture –
          “Twiddle a needle in your ear, and it will help your foot to feel better!”

      • I was with you – in part – until the third paragraph!

        Vaccines are in and of themselves not panaceas. But the variolavaccine is more or less the single medical intervention that has eradicated a disease, and the MMR is very efficient in hindering deaths from measles infection, deafness from rubella or mumps and male sterility from mumps. The covid-vaccines seem to be rather efficient too! Perhaps they do not protect against infection on a longer time span, but they certainly do a lot of work against severe disease with ICU admissions and on the death toll!

        I live in a country where vaccination clearly is the biggest reason behind fewer ICU admission due to covid. At present 80% or more of covid-ICU-patients are completely unvaccinated, and the number of covid-ICU-patients are now a minority of total ICU admission. All mostly due to vaccinations as my country did not enforce a lockdown…

        Vaccines, as diseases, are not digital. Their effect is never all or nothing (1 or 0) and your stance (before the mumbojumbo of the third paragraph) is thus – as has been pointed out by others – a strawman. In my cursory evaluation based on lack of knowledge. The third paragraph just enforces the latter part of that evaluation… You simply do not seem to possess the knowledge necessary to evaluate medical information, studies or facts.

        I hope you and yours have come through the pandemic safe – but please: learn the reality between medicial sciences (including immunology), opportunistic assumptions and pure luck before touting completely inscientific opinions! Especially if your aim is to reduce burden of disease. And please also remember – overweight is a risk factor for far more than severe covid. But is it not even the primary one for this particular disease…

      • STOP the consumption of sugar and overeating, reverse the obesity, lower down the insulin resistance, lower the metabolic disease, do some exercise everyday… and loose some darn pounds of weight.

        Absolutely, that would help a LOT to stop the depredations of Covid. Obesity and unhealthy diets are a major cause of Covid deaths.
        As for what effect the various comorbidities have on the immune response to Covid and susceptibility to Covid infection, that would depend.
        One of the major causes of death from Covid is an immune response that is so intense that it causes harm (and the vaccine certainly helps prevent that).

        the vaccine can and does help, but it’s not a panacea.

        Expecting mainstream medicine to be a panacea is one of the causes of dissatisfaction with it, actually. There are many health problems that mainstream medicine can’t completely solve, and that’s very frustrating. Alt-med is full of panacea claims, and that looks good to people.
        Fixing the social problems that cause such high rates of obesity etc. would be a natural intervention, in the sense that it would return us to a state more like what humans evolved with. And it could be sold as such.
        Unfortunately, it would also take a long time and be a huge effort. It also wouldn’t be a panacea for Covid. Vaccinating people is very easy and quickly effective by comparison.
        Vaccines aren’t even arguably a panacea for Covid. Even if everyone who got vaccinated for Covid who medically could, it would still be around, since there are now wild animal reservoirs for it. Perhaps at one time it was possible to exterminate the virus, but not now.

      • One of the most important risk factors for Covid mortality is age. However, this isn’t very easy to reverse.

        I certainly agree with you that reducing sugar intake, losing weight and exercising more would improve the health of a lot of people, but reversing the effects of a lifetime of bad habits is a slow process which can only ever be partially successful, and on its own will have a limited effect on the risk of Covid death, whereas vaccines are quicker, easier, cheaper and more effective. There is no reason why you can’t take both approaches.

        • “There is no reason why you can’t take both approaches.”

          So be it if you don’t believe that insulin resistance and obesity can be eliminated in months… but you’re wrong.

          Furthermore, the majority of the population took the jab, or has immunity via previous infection. How much of the population did anything to change their eating habits ? …. few.

          A bunch of lazy patients whom get the result for which they don’t want to take responsibility…. keep gorging yourself doc, the jab is the easy route.

          • James Joromat if you can’t manage to write with some grace and gentility, please write no more.

          • @Roger ‘James Joromat’
            You harbour (and promulgate) some very wrong ideas, so please allow me to educate you.

            No, a healthy lifestyle does not offer the best protection from infectious diseases or their detrimental effects.
            Just look at how smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu and other infectious diseases killed millions upon millions in the past, sometimes as many as two-digit percentages of populations. The vast majority of those people ending up dead were quite healthy, right up to the point where they got infected.

            Vaccination on the other hand DOES protect the vast majority of people from getting very ill and dying.

            The reason for this is pretty straightforward: whenever you get infected with a new pathogen that can multiply inside your body, a race is on:
            – The adaptive immune system must recognize the pathogen as such, identify it, and start production of large enough amounts of antibodies in order to get rid of it. This takes TIME, typically a week or so. Yes, the innate immune system starts combating the intruder right away, but it has only a limited capacity and is quickly overwhelmed when pathogens multiply fast enough(*).
            – The pathogen, meanwhile, simply keeps multiplying, usually causing damage in the process. If a pathogen multiplies fast enough, it can cause very serious damage or even death before the adaptive immune system manages to get antibody production up and running, and the bad guys have won the race. This latter is something that most people want to avoid.

            By vaccinating against a disease, we ‘cheat’ in this race by already making the immune system perform the first steps, giving it a head start. As a result, it is far less likely that a vaccinated person gets seriously ill or dies.

            So please stop blaming the victims of disease, and stop suggesting that vaccines are in any way undesirable or even bad. Yes, healthy living is by definition good for your health, but it does not offer the same level of protection that vaccines do – not even close.

            *: And these limitations of the innate immune system are also the reason why animals evolved an adaptive immune system in the first place.

          • Holy moly !

            Evidently I stuck a cord that somebody didn’t like. Please advise so I don’t cross the line again. What specifically did I say to offend somebody ?
            I’ve seen much more insulting messages here before with no warning threats from the moderator… hmmm. I guess it depends on who you are and what your position is.

            And Richard, what I was referring to quite specifically here in this conversation is NOT vaccines in general, as I would agree with you that normally obesity and diet has not been as an important roll with regard to the ill effects of virus infection. However we learned otherwise early on with regard covid.

            Signing off from this forum.
            So long folks, you can have it to yourselves.

        • @Dr Julian Money-Kyrle
          What does determine someone’s susceptibility to Covid infection, if exposed to the virus?
          There’s lots of info on risk factors for becoming seriously ill or dying, once someone is infected. Age, obesity, etc.
          But what groups are more likely to become infected from a given exposure to the virus?

      • “The best way of having a “gentle way of working with the body’s immune system”. Is to STOP the consumption of sugar and overeating, reverse the obesity, lower down the insulin resistance, lower the metabolic disease, do some exercise everyday… and loose some darn pounds of weight.”

        Didn’t stop my sister getting Covid; didn’t stop me developing a serious cardiac condition.

        While this is often a helpful route to take there are many things which will not be influenced by it.

  • I think this is correct, I have friends who are alternative medicine disciplined. They will not get the vaccine, really amazed because many are college educated believing in woo. I also have many conservative friends who are against vaccine, really surprised me. One friend who is a hardcore liberal is most vocal about vaccine, he is totally against it, most in his field are anti-vaccine though.
    I am conservative, took the vaccine after fully approved and convinced family to do as well, couple didn’t. I was in military so vaccines were not an option in the US, never refused them.
    Funny, had several friends who are conservative (also college educated)
    refuse to hang with me because I got the jab, blew my mind.

    Another thing I learned in last 20 years of social media, my friends political leanings. It was kept to self or amongst close personal friends. This internet killed friendships.

    • They will not get the vaccine, really amazed because many are college educated believing in woo.

      Being educated and intelligent doesn’t make someone sensible. Not at all. It can even encourage people to believe nonsensical things that appeal to them, because being educated and intelligent gives a person more confidence in their own opinions.
      It’s a good thing in many ways to be off in one’s own world, to be open to thoughts outside the mainstream. It gives a person the space to be creative, to dream new dreams.
      But combining this with respect for expert opinion, understanding that one’s private thoughts have no magical expertise on factual matters – that science requires a lot more than that – is difficult. It’s a balancing act between dreams and the limits of dreams.
      Some fiction writers do this very well – they understand that their dreams embodied in the fiction they create *are* fiction, and not factual reality.

    • ***update****

      2 years in COVID pandemic, next month I can get my 3 Phizer shot. My roommate (brother, vaccinated) got sick, thinks he got covid. I blew it off because he is a hermit. Week later, I am sick, even spraying all handles, common areas with lysol, wearing mask near him if he came out of room. I currently have scratchy throat, feel blah, no fever but a little lethargic. Actually feel like after second shot. I have anxiety so will not get tested unless I really feel bad. I have informed all friends and girlfriend to not come over for a week. I am really nervous because I follow CDC guidelines, retired and don’t need the public interaction.
      Little nervous but ashamed if I finally got it after following all guidelines, wasn’t foolproof but was proud.

      • @jim

        There is no reason to be ashamed, you did your best, you got your shots and followed all precautions etc. In the end that is probably what kept you out of a hospital, with mild symptoms. Also, keep in mind that we are going against a virus that is air-borne and following guidelines certainly helps reduce the risk of infection significantly, but just like everything else in life, it is not 100% guaranteed (that you won’t catch the virus). If you are nervous to go to a doctor, you could always try a rapid test at home.

        Stay safe and keep us posted.

  • Psychosocial factors such as

    preferring SCAM to conventional medicine (OR .49, 95% CI .36-.66),
    endorsement of spirituality as a source of knowledge (OR .83, 95% CI .71-.96),
    openness (OR .86, 95% CI .74-.99),
    all predicted negative attitudes to vaccination.

    Prince Charles and a lot of the royal family are both into alt-med AND pro-vaccine.
    Perhaps because (from the study)

    the relation between CAM and both vaccination attitudes and their uptake in the general population is not clearly resolved. One study reported that coverage levels for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines was significantly higher among adults who were recent or past CAM users. However, as noted by the study authors, this
    result might be explained by the fact that respondents in that survey tended to use CAM as a supplemental rather than alternative health care, and utilisation of supplemental therapies reflected a greater overall concern with maintenance of good health.

    • you don’t have to turn every trivial idea that comes to your mind into a comment.

      • @edzard

        Why? If using CAM with placebo effect of SCAM how would that hurt subject. It may get folks to have calm nerves and actually help them with CAM. Not saying with SCAM procedures that counter-act result of a certain CAM procedure… ie herbs or relics that will void a CAM medicine. That would be bad, but as you have said, majority of those pseudo science procedures are placebo.

      • But, Prince Charles satisfies all of those predictive factors. He’s into CAM; he endorses spirituality as a source of knowledge; and he’s chased various experiences and involved himself in all sorts of idealistic projects. But he’s also pro-vaccine.
        So what does make him and other people with similar mixtures of attitudes, different from the general trend? Considering that might give some insight into the problem.

        • oh dear, oh dear!!!

          • @edzard,

            Again, why? You, ” oh dear,” but blew off without rebuttal. I am totally against SCAM for medical procedures, totally ok with SCAM if it gets people to accept CAM procedures due to anxiety. I am one who needs something to calm nerves for medical procedures, I have white coat syndrome, scared of doctors. My need is to pump me with sedatives, some may need woo for nerves. This is where I believe medical doctors fail, they need to understand anxiety which is a mental disorder that some don’t understand. My mother almost died because of this, thankfully doctor revived her.

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