What Doctors Learn in Medical School About Vaccines

What Doctors Learn in Medical School About Vaccines

The idea that there are “medical experts” who, by virtue of the MD initials placed after their names, automatically know more than anyone else about vaccines is pervasive. This commonly held belief persists, despite overwhelming evidence that doctors are taught almost nothing about vaccines in medical school. Doctors are taught that vaccines have saved the world from infectious diseases and they are taught to follow the vaccine schedule promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)which tells them which vaccines to give and when. They’re taught that they must always abide by the schedule and vaccinate every patient. That’s pretty much it.

Yes, it’s hard to believe, but don’t take my word for it. In an article I wrote several years ago titled “Doctors Are No Experts On Vaccines,” I included quotes from several medical doctors to backup my allegation.1

There is the following quote from biochemist Boyd Haley, PhD, who taught at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington:

I can tell you, having been in a medical center, having taught biochemistry to medical students, and talking to hundreds of medical doctors, they get very little training in toxicology… I mean, no courses that are specifically designed, such as a PhD student in toxicology would have, or a PhD student in biochemistry. They don’t understand it at all. They are not trained to evaluate the toxic effects of chemicals, especially at the research level. One, they don’t do research programs, they don’t have the insight that’s developed and required for someone writing a PhD thesis in toxicology or biochemistry of materials that inhibit enzymes. They just don’t understand the science and the chemistry at that level. And certainly pediatricians don’t.1 2

It turns out that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many testimonies by medical doctors (and professors who taught them) regarding how little they learned about vaccines in medical school. It is important to listen to them so that the magnitude of the myth that physicians are the experts on vaccines can fully sink in.

It is time to put this myth to rest because it is too often used as a way to disparage anyone who dares to disagree or even mildly question doctors about the safety and effectiveness of vaccination. Case in point, there was an article published recently in The Conversation titled “Why vaccine opponents think they know more than medical experts“. The article is essentially a hit piece on anyone who refuses to toe the line and agree with “medical experts” that the benefits of vaccination always outweighs the risks. The authors, Matthew Motta, Steven Sylvester and Timothy Callaghan, argue that “anti-vaxxers” may suffer from a cognitive bias known in the field of psychology as the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” They ask:

Could the inability of anti-vaxxers to accurately appraise their own knowledge and skills compared to those of medical experts play a role in shaping their attitudes about vaccines? This inability to accurately appraise one’s own knowledge is called the Dunning-Kruger effect, first identified in social psychology. Dunning-Kruger effects occur when individuals’ lack of knowledge about a particular subject leads them to inaccurately gauge their expertise on that subject. Ignorance of one’s own ignorance can lead people who lack knowledge on a subject think of themselves as more expert than those who are comparatively better informed.3

You see what they did there? Of course, the problem with this cynical attack strategy is that it is based on a key faulty assumption—that the only way you can possibly know what you’re talking about when it comes to vaccines is if you have gone to medical school so you can put MD initials after your name.

According to Ramon Ramos, MD, “The only thing we learned in [medical] school was that there was a program and that we should follow that vaccine program. As to the vaccine itself and the contents of the vaccines, no we didn’t study that. We assumed that what the pharmaceuticals, that what they did and the CDC accepted, that that’s the way it is.”4 5

Paul Thomas, MD recollected, “We got a lot of microbiology, we learned about diseases, and we learned that vaccines were the solution to those diseases that, what they say, are ‘vaccine preventable.’ But, actually, what was in the vaccines, I don’t remember really learning anything. … I was never taught, when I was in medical school 30 years ago, what was in a vaccine. We were only taught they’re wonderful.”4 6

This lack of knowledge about vaccine ingredients and how vaccines can affect immune and brain function should be of particular concern to anyone getting a vaccine from a doctor. “You’d be amazed at the number of physicians, you ask them what’s in a vaccine?” said neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, MD. ” They’ll say, well, there’s the bacteria, the virus you want to vaccinate against, and then there’s a little immune stimulant in there to help stimulate the immunity so they react against those viral antigens.”7 8

Dr. Blaylock points out:

They don’t know about these other chemicals in there like formaldehyde, special proteins, special lipids that are known to be brain toxic, that are known to induce autoimmunity in the brain. They’re not aware of that. They don’t know that MSG is in a lot of vaccines―monosodium glutamate, a brain excitotoxin. They’re not aware of what’s in the vaccine they’re giving.7 8

“We learned what [vaccines] were, what the diseases were,” said Joseph Mercola, DO. “We probably learned more about the diseases and, of course, everyone accepted the dogma that vaccines work. There was just no critical analysis about the pros and cons. It was never discussed, let alone the side effects.”4

“I don’t remember them teaching me anything about adverse effects… at all,” said Patricia Ryan, MD. “They just wanted you to memorize the schedule and make sure you knew when to give [the vaccines].”4 9

James Neuenschwander, MD recalled that, when he went to medical school more than 30 years ago, there was “not much training at all” on vaccines. “I don’t know that it’s changed very much, he said. “Basically, it was… here’s the schedule. These are the saviors of mankind, they are safe, and you need to make sure everybody’s vaccinated.”10

“We were told that vaccines are safe and effective, here’s the schedule, ignore the inserts… that’s lawyer jargon,” recalled Cammy Benton, MD. “I think in medical school you’re learning so much that it’s kind of difficult to learn, that you assumed [with] vaccines the science was settled, tried and true. So you just didn’t question it, that was the easy part… okay, this is for sure.  So you just accept it.”11

I could go on and on with examples of how doctors admit they are taught almost nothing in medical school about vaccines except to give them to everyone. But you get the idea. I’ll end with an observation by Stephanie Christner, DO, whose infant daughter did not survive vaccination

I never learned in medical school how vaccines were studied, what type of clinical trials they went through, how they evaluated adverse reactions… how they even evaluated effectiveness. So, after Victoria died, I started reading everything that is put out there. Anything that would lead me to a topic, then I would Google that topic… and if there were textbooks in relation to that topic, I would order them and then, based on reading that book, I would order another book. What I have learned has shocked me. 12

In conclusion, medical school does not train future doctors to be vaccine experts. In fact, unless they took personal initiative and independently studied up on vaccines, those who graduate from medical school tend to be functionally illiterate about the subject. This aura of all-knowingness surrounding physicians, the common belief that they are vaccine experts, is wholly undeserved. That is why, increasingly, people are hesitant to rely solely on pediatricians and other medical doctors for guidance when it comes to vaccination, especially parents making a vaccine decision for their child.

It has nothing do with any kind of cognitive bias. It has to do with trust.


1 Cáceres M. Doctors Are No Experts on VaccinesThe Vaccine Reaction Nov. 28, 2015.
2 Vaccines Are Not Safe. YouTube.com Mar. 13, 2014 (published by 999solomon999).
3 Motta M, Sylvester S, Callaghan T. Why vaccine opponents think they know more than medical experts. The Conversation July 12, 2018.
4 Vaxxed TV. How Much Is Taught on Vaccines In Medical School? YouTube.com Feb. 18, 2017 (published).
5 Vaxxed TV. VaxXed Tour: Dr. Ramon Ramos. YouTube.com Jan. 16, 2017 (published).
6 The Truth About Vaccines. The Truth About Vaccines Docu-series – Episode 1. YouTube.com Apr. 13, 2017 (published).
7 Cáceres M. Those Who Give Vaccines Should Know The Ingredients in Vaccines. The Vaccine Reaction Oct. 12, 2017.
8 Dr. Russell Blaylock MD Dangers of Vaccines. (start at 15:51) YouTube.com May 18, 2014 (published).
9 Vaxxed TV. VaxXed Stories: Doctor Patricia Ryan in Nebraska. YouTube.com Dec. 11. 2016 (published).
10 Vaxxed TV. James Neuenschwander MD. YouTube.com Sept. 2, 2017 (published).
11 Health Impact News. Dr. Cammy Benton MD Interview from VAXXED Team. YouTube.com Nov. 8, 2017 (published).
12 Vaxxed TV.  Dr. Stephanie Christner on vaccines. YouTube.com Jan. 15, 2017 (published).

26 Responses to "What Doctors Learn in Medical School About Vaccines"

  1. Jeanette   July 28, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    I have talked with nurses (active and retired) and doctors who confirm that they were taught very little about vaccines in their medical training. In summer of 2016, I asked a Harvard final year medical school student what is currently being taught about vaccines. She responded that they are taught to follow the CDC schedule; that vaccines are safe and effective; that risks are minimal; and that benefits outweigh the risks for the individual and society. Then I shared a photo and story of a healthy 15 month old who died within 24 hours of receiving 7 vaccines in 3 shots. Somewhat startled, the young medical student asked me, ‘Do children always get that many at once?’

  2. Elygantthings   August 3, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    I’m glad I don’t go to the doctors and take care of my own health. If I have to go see the doctor. I have a doctor who respects my opinion and is willing to learn what he doesn’t know. He researches everything I suggest and actually talks about what he finds and what I know.

  3. Sally L   August 5, 2018 at 8:19 am

    This is just part of the tangled web that Big Pharma has woven to take control of medical schools, the media, and the government. It’s a crime against humanity, and everyone needs to do their own due diligence when it comes to vaccines and medical treatment in general. DOn’t trust ANYONE else with your or your children’s health!

  4. Laurel   August 5, 2018 at 9:09 am

    My best friend earned her PhD in medical phys. and told me she had more pharma classes than MD’s. Found that interesting/scary as the MD’s write the scripts!!!!!

  5. Robert L Wachsmuth sr .   August 5, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Doctors on a murder spree.
    It takes a whole day just to fill out the vaccine injury form.
    Doctors in Queens New York totally incompetent to even do that.
    Using vaccine injuries as a money-making scheme.
    a child without autism is worth noting a child with autism is worth ten million dollars so which way do you think the doctors are going to go.
    Pediatricians love to hurt babies. With vaccines.
    Another money-making schem
    Cannibal Healthcare System

    • Jenn   August 6, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      To fill out a VAERS repost takes less than 20 minutes. I just filled out one yesterday.

  6. Kayla Wildman   August 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    When my baby had been sick with many different symptoms (all classic adverse effects of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine) for 3 weeks after her second DTaP shot, I told the doctor, “I can’t believe it would be a good idea for my baby to get her next shot on schedule.”

    The doc’s response was: “I don’t know enough about bad reactions to vaccines to tell you whether or not the baby should get her next shot as planned.”

    So the doc told his nurse to go call the manufacturer of the vaccine. The nurse came back and said, “The vaccine manufacturer says this is a normal reaction to DTaP and the baby can have her next shot on schedule.” And the doctor BELIEVED this. I thought either the vaccine maker was lying and covering up, or if they were telling the truth, then NO child should be given that vaccine. So I kept researching…and that saved my baby’s life.

    Fast forward several months. I had just been told by a psychiatrist who specialized in autism that my child had some autistic characteristics and was high risk for autism because of her medical history. When I reported this to the “I don’t know enough” doctor’s partner, she said, “Try not to worry too much about your child. God has a plan for her.”

    That was the end. I fired both docs. And these docs were osteopaths and considered among the very best docs in my rural county…

    BTW, the only place I’ve ever seen an adequate description of the adverse effects of DPT vaccine is in Fisher and Coulter’s book “A Shot in the Dark.” And DTaP vaccine can produce exactly the same adverse effects as DPT…that’s what happened to my baby.

  7. Melinda G Gladstone   August 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Pay attention. In 2016 which candidate received the MOST money from pharmaceuticals? Hillary Clinton, she received $336,416 and President Trump received the least in donations: $1,010, enough to buy one Daraprim pill.

    WHAT DOES THIS TELL YOU???? Follow the money and thank GOD Hillary was denied the white house!


    • Mary   August 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      Hillary Clinton is not a villain. She believes that vaccines save lives and most people in this country think the same way. In some cases, they have, but the risks are denied time after time. I have a very wonderful friend, a retired nurse, who has helped our family with medical issues from time to time, and she’s firmly convinced that people who don’t vaccinate are being negligent.

      This is not a reason to support the current occupant of the White House.

      • Patricia Jackson   October 23, 2018 at 1:25 pm

        The more liberal the candidate the more willing they are to promote the idea of “The Greater Good” vs. conservatives who still believe in the rights of the individual to decide. The health freedom movement chose Trump for a reason. Many of us did so with a hard swallow – but this current move toward socialism will result in too much government overreach in this area and government sponsored vaccine programs (at the point of a gun). It was and is a great reason to support a super red wave. That is our only choice at the moment until other parties step forward and protect the rights of the individual and informed consent.

        • Bouncedancer   October 27, 2018 at 8:33 pm

          There are also other concerns. Republicans are toxic on the right of women to make decisions for their own bodies, the separation of state and church, the support of the should-be-dead industries petroleum and coal, voting rights — I could go on.

  8. DesertChick   August 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    It would appear that Matthew Motta, Steven Sylvester and Timothy Callaghan might be the ones suffering from “Dunning-Kruger Effect” here. Not the ‘anti-vaxxers’ (notice the denigrating terminolgy) that is so prevalent with the side who is in bed with Big Pharma, Big Medicine and what passes for Convention Wisdom with this subject.

  9. ROBERTO   August 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm


  10. Joe   August 5, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    I went through PA school and when taught about vaccines asked the doctor teaching it what to tell parents who say they are afraid. She replied that the fears are groundless and all issues were cleared up. Follow the CDC.
    Now in practice for a few years in urgent care, parents come complaining or high fever or kid not acting right within few days of vaccines, and one recently said the 104 fever isn’t from MMR, as her pediatrician specifically told her the shot can’t give high fever. She must go to the ED. So not only aren’t medical providers taught the facts, but they are in denial even when see otherwise.

    • Jodi   February 19, 2019 at 11:04 am

      Hi Joe – I also went through PA school. You and I can both attest to the fact that little, to no information is provided on vaccines, vaccine safety, etc. I definitely never thought twice about it causing any kind of damage. Flash forward… My first child was fully vaccinated up to age 2. My second (2.5 years later) had one round of shots before I went down the rabbit hole of research. I’m still not confident in either decision, but I couldn’t knowingly give my child something I hadn’t researched myself. I honestly am so confused and feel like either option could be detrimental. Can you shed some light? From one medical professional to another, I value your opinion. Thanks….

  11. beth baranard   August 6, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Doctors were also taught that antibiotics were the cure all. Anything in excess becomes a detriment. The fact that the vaccine industry does not recognize this makes all the vaccines dangerous. Anytime medicine is rubber stamped as the cure all abuse and back lash can occur. When we desire a silver bullet to take away all our concerns we open the door for misinformation and monopolies. Buyer beware!

  12. J.   August 7, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    I suspect that most of the commenters here received the vaccinations that they would deny their children and are doing just fine; and the vaccinations of 20 or 30 years ago were much larger dosages than those given today. If you want to invoke a possible cause of autism it helps to first define the pathophysiology of what it actually is, and that is not settled. The facts are that the vast majority of fully immunized children do just fine and the correlation of autism with commonly given childhood vaccines proves nothing about causation, and that has been well researched.

    Disparaging physicians about what they learned or didn’t learn in medical school is little more than a sideshow. If you dug a little deeper most doctors would tell you that they learned double or triple what they learned in med school in the first 5 years out of residency. Practicing medicine involves a process of life long learning, reading journals, going to conferences, taking board exams, etc.

    Most doctors are well aware of the efforts of big pharma to influence medical practice and can keep it at arms length. If there was any evidence that vaccines were harming children pediatricians would be the FIRST people to stand up for the health of patients.

    Do some real research. Learn about basic immunology, and what vaccines can and cannot do, and how different patients respond to them.

    Nothing in medicine is simple or quick when you get into the nitty gritty details.

    • Nicole   February 3, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I’m a second year student currently but I am always disheartened to hear people say “doctors do it for the money” or anything along those lines. No, we do it (or, in my case, will do it one day!) for our patients and communities.

  13. Laurel   August 9, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Best friend had PhD in medical ph and she told me she had more pharmacology classes than MD’s. Guess side effect treatment more important that prevention—-

    • Mike   January 25, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      What does that prove except that your friend took different classes from the MDs? Of course your friend had more pharmacology classes: she’s a pharmacology PhD! I’m in medical school right now and we don’t even have a pharmacology class, because all of that information is structured to be included in each block of classes focused on specific organ systems. That information is what is likely to be important in daily clinical practice.

      Unlike for the PhD, there is a national, standardized process by which doctors get certified, called the United States Medical Licensing Exam. Medical knowledge (and thus education) is constantly being updated, and the USMLE takes that into account. What doctors were taught 30 years ago is very different from what we’re taught now, other than anatomy.

      Until an anti-vaxxer reads a scientific paper, or can even tell me what the different tiers of scientific journals are, I don’t want to hear them citing incomplete facts from dubious sources.

  14. David   September 22, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    “Swine flu: Doctors who refuse vaccine ‘putting patients at risk ..”

    now why would medical staff refuse vaccine when they are recommending them to patients?

    Its called hypocracy at best and criminal… what more proof does one need? Forget the pharma

    science nonsense. Only the uninformed vaccinate.

  15. David   September 22, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Germany’s highest court rules there is no such thing as a measles virus!!1

  16. Alison   October 30, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    5 years in Nursing school and I learned practically NOTHING about vaccines. As a new graduate I started vaccinating small babies in clinics. Parents would ask me questions and I would do my best to nod and smile. I then went on to lead a series of measles vaccination campaigns in rural Africa. Fortunately I woke up before having my own children, but I feel awful for having any part in this

  17. Nancy Janssens   December 14, 2018 at 11:02 am

    pharma control de medicals schools en they are a criminal organization…it is all about money not about people, they murder people for money…. so many adults and children died, get health problems, get sick, ect…….this is unacceptable. It is shokking to read these comments, that doctors and nurses don`t learn nothing about vaccines, that means they make vaccines for money and not for health issus. the truth always come out.

  18. Nicole   February 3, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Hi – current 2nd medical student here. At my school, we took an immunology class where we learn how/why vaccines are created, work, & are effective. Then, in every “system” (GI, cardio, etc) we review how/why/when to administer relevant vaccines & what effect they have on the body.

    For example, you give a child the conjugate strep pneumoniae vaccine which strongly produces IgG but you would administer an IV strep pneumo vaccine to an adult which makes more IgM.

    I would say it is almost tedious how in-depth we study the immunology behind vaccines.

  19. Nurse Joann   February 11, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve also heard this and known this to be generally true that doctors and nurses receive comparatively little training and education about vaccinations. To my mind, this is a big problem because these doctors and nurses may have comparatively little background to explain follow-up questions about the dangers of vaccinations and how they work in general to patients and parents alike. But there’s also a different between taking courses in medical school about vaccinations and knowing how to read scientific literature with a fairly complex understanding of statistics. It’s the researchers and statisticians, not the doctors, that I trust most when it comes to weighing the pros and cons of vaccinations. And I say this as someone who works with family practice doctors everyday–though some of them can also just talk and talk about how vaccines work.


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