I think one of the most misused words in the English language is “expert.” Experts are often cited by media outlets that are always searching for people to interview for their news stories and programs. Governments also regularly seek counsel from experts on policy decisions or ideas. Perhaps nowhere are experts as popular as in the field of health care. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, notably when it comes to vaccination. If you happen to have an MD, MPH, PhD or RN at the end of your name and you march in lockstep with the mainstream narrative on this medical procedure, chances are you qualify as an expert on vaccines.
Of course, the problem is that most so-called experts on vaccines, in fact, know very little about these pharmaceutical products because the time they’ve spent studying, writing and engaging on all aspects of the subject can often be measured in days or months, rather than years. Note that I’m excluding specialists such as vaccinologists whose careers focus on the development of vaccines or pediatricians whose practices focus largely on administering vaccines or pharmacists and other health care providers who also spend a fair amount of time giving shots.
I’m also omitting pharmaceutical representatives who sell and market vaccines and advise those who administer, approve and recommend them. Neither am I counting public health officials who approve, recommend and fund vaccines based on information provided by representatives of the pharmaceutical companies that develop, produce, sell and market them and scientists and doctors who develop and administer them.
Being adept at some of the processes that help make the vaccine industry so large, financially successful and powerful does not necessarily make someone an expert on vaccines. At best, it may make them an expert in one or more narrow areas of the industry, but not someone who has a comprehensive understanding of vaccines and their effects.
Health Care Professionals are Seldom Well-Educated on Vaccines
The reality is that most health care professionals have received practically no formal education on vaccines, and certainly not a well-rounded one. “We were told that vaccines are safe and effective, here’s the schedule, ignore the inserts… that’s lawyer jargon,” said pediatrician 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.”1
James Neuenschwander, MD, who specializes in emergency medicine, said that when he went to medical school, 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.”1
“I don’t remember them teaching me anything about adverse effects… at all,” said internist Patricia Ryan, MD. “They just wanted you to memorize the schedule and make sure you knew when to give [the vaccines].”1
“The only thing we learned in [medical] school was that there was a program and that we should follow that vaccine program,” said pediatrician Ramon Ramos, MD. 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.”1
“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,” said pediatrician Paul Thomas, MD. “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.”1
According to biochemist Boyd Haley, PhD:
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
“You’d be amazed at the number of physicians when you ask them what’s in a vaccine 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,” said neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, MD. “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.”1
“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.”1
“It’s not that I knew much about vaccines,” said pediatrician Toni Bark, MD. “I did a pediatric residency and you don’t really learn anything. You’re taught the schedule, that’s really what you’re taught about vaccines. You’re taught the schedule and that it produces antibodies and that’s it. You don’t get any information on innate immunity, and Th1 to Th2, risks… none of that.”2
Pediatrician Larry Palevksy, MD:
When I went through medical school, I was taught that vaccines were completely safe and completely effective, and I had no reason to believe otherwise. All the information that I was taught was pretty standard in all the medical schools and the teachings and scientific literature throughout the country. I had no reason to disbelieve it.
Over the years, I kept practicing medicine and using vaccines and thinking that my approach to vaccines was completely onboard with everything else I was taught. But more and more, I kept seeing that my experience of the world, my experience in using and reading about vaccines, and hearing what parents were saying about vaccines were very different from what I was taught in medical school and my residency training.
… and it became clearer to me as I read the research, listened to more and more parents, and found other practitioners who also shared the same concern that vaccines had not been completely proven safe or even completely effective, based on the literature that we have today.
… It didn’t appear that the scientific studies that we were given were actually appropriately designed to prove and test the safety and efficacy.
It also came to my attention that there were ingredients in there that were not properly tested, that the comparison groups were not appropriately set up, and that conclusions made about vaccine safety and efficacy just did not fit the scientific standards that I was trained to uphold in my medical school training.2
According to 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.1
It is likely that, based on their formal education, all of the health care professionals mentioned above would be considered experts on vaccines. Early in their careers, many of these individuals probably thought of themselves as being well-versed on vaccines. It wasn’t until they began to dig deeper into the history, science and health effects of vaccines and the systems that validate and promote them that they realized the depth of their knowledge gap on the topic.
The 10,000-Hour Rule
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Outliers: The Story of Success, the author notes a concept popularly known as the “10,000-hour rule.” Gladwell writes, “Researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours.” In reference to a study by Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson, Gladwell writes, “their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it.”3 4 5 6
The idea here is that true expertise in any particular field of study or training requires long-term, consistent and dedicated practice. According to Gladwell, “Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” Obviously, this is not a hard and fast rule, and it varies depending on the type of activity or discipline and on the abilities of people and how they practice. But it generally seems like a good gauge. Based on Gladwell’s rule, someone who practices a musical instrument or a sport an average of five hours a day six days a week might expect to achieve a high degree of proficiency within six to seven years.3 4 5 6
This measure could also apply to other fields, such as vaccines and vaccination policy (excluding the production and sales sides). In that niche area, there are relatively few people who have reached or surpassed Gladwell’s 10,000-hour milestone. Among these might be health care professionals who discovered that the vaccine paradigm they assumed to be correct contained some glaring holes, inspiring them to invest countless hours re-educating themselves. A good example would be pediatrician and author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child Bob Sears, MD, who admitted that he learned “very little about vaccines, other than the fact that the FDA and pharmaceutical companies do extensive research on vaccines to make sure they are safe and effective” when he attended Georgetown University School of Medicine.2 Dr. Sears noted:
We don’t review the research ourselves. We never learn what goes into making vaccines or how their safety is studied. We trust and take it for granted that the proper researchers are doing their job. So, when patients want a little more information about shots, all we can really say as doctors is that the diseases are bad and the shots are good. But we don’t know enough to answer all of your detailed questions about vaccines, nor do we have the time during a regular health check up to thoroughly discuss and debate the pros and cons of vaccines.2
Another good example of a physician who re-educated herself on vaccines is nephrologist Suzanne Humphries, MD, who authored Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History and Rising From The Dead. Dr. Humphries said:
Do you know how much doctors learn about vaccines in medical school? When we participate in pediatrics training, we learn that vaccines need to be given on schedule. We learn that smallpox and polio were eliminated by vaccines. We learn that there’s no need to know how to treat diphtheria, because we won’t see it again anyway. We are indoctrinated with the mantra that ‘vaccines are safe and effective’—neither of which is true.
Doctors today are given extensive training on how to talk to ‘hesitant’ parents—how to frighten them by vastly inflating the risks during natural infection. They are trained on the necessity of twisting parents’ arms to conform, or fire them from their practices. Doctors are trained that nothing bad should be said about any vaccine, period.2
Hard to Beat NVIC’s Barbara Loe Fisher
Probably the best example of a person who has educated herself on vaccines and vaccine policy and easily surpassed Gladwell’s 10,000 hours for achieving true expertise is Barbara Loe Fisher, who is co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), organized in April 1982 and organized as a non-profit charity dedicated to preventing vaccine injuries and deaths through public education under the name Dissatisfied Parents Together (DPT) on June 11, 1982. NVIC is the “oldest and largest consumer-led health organization in America providing information about vaccination, diseases and preventing vaccine injuries and deaths. The organization defends the ethical principle of informed consent to medical risk-taking and supports “independent scientific research into vaccine-associated deaths, injuries and chronic illness.”7 8 9
Fisher, who is not a physician or scientist, has been a long-time educator on vaccine safety issues and a human rights activist advocating for informed consent rights with regard to vaccination. She has researched, analyzed and publicly articulated major issues involving the science, policy, law, ethics and politics of vaccination to become one of the world’s leading non-medical, consumer advocacy experts on the subject.
Fisher co-authored the landmark book DPT: A Shot in the Dark in 1985 and authored several other publications, including The Consumer’s Guide to Childhood Vaccines (1997), Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic (2008), The Emerging Risks of Live Virus & Virus Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine StrainVirus Infection, Shedding & Transmission (2014) and Reforming Vaccine Policy & Law: A Guide (2014; 2017; 2022). She worked with the U.S. Congress to secure vaccine safety informing, recording, reporting and research provisions in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. She served as a consumer member of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (1988-1992); Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Forum (1995-1998); FDA Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (1999-2002) and the Vaccine Policy Analysis Collaborative (2002-2005) and the Vaccine Safety Writing Group (2009), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.8
If you were to add up the number of hours Fisher has dedicated over the past four decades to the cause to which she remains passionately committed, 100,000 hours would be a good ballpark estimate. An average of eight hours a day six days a week over the course of 40 years. It is hard to imagine anyone coming close to that record and that level of expertise.
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Click here to view References:
1 Cáceres M. What Doctors Learn in Medical School About Vaccines. The Vaccine Reaction July 27, 2018.
2 Cáceres M. Doctors Are No Experts on Vaccines. The Vaccine Reaction Nov. 28, 2015.
3 Etheridge C. The Magic Number Of Greatness. Forbes Oct. 24, 2019.
4 Gladwell M. Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company 2008.
5 Goodreads, Inc. Outliers Quotes.
6 Strategies for Influence. Malcolm Gladwell – 10,000-Hour Rule.
7 Leaps.org. Barbara Loe Fisher.
8 National Vaccine Information Center. Barbara Loe Fisher.
9 NVIC. Programs and Services Supported by Donations to NVIC.