I’m a chiropractor, but the Chiropractic Association of Australia does not represent me when it comes to the issue of vaccination.  The Chiropractic Association of Australia does not represent most chiropractors.  It has a low rate of participation.  In fact, its board members and high profile spokespeople frequently misrepresent and embarrass chiropractors, publicly and permanently in the media.  It took this blogger to finally protect the public from such embarrassing performances put on by an organisation which does not represent me.

Thanks, Hank.  And congratulations to you on the 2014 Skeptic of the Year.  You deserve it.  You were more effective than anyone in my profession for hunting down Jumbo.

And there is an awakening in the moderates.

Now, most sensible people might ask, “Why would chiropractors be speaking publicly on the subject of vaccines? Wouldn’t it more appropriate to hear from other, more qualified scientists who focus all of their education on that specific subject?  Meanwhile, we might keep a chiropractor’s focus on what they are well educated to do?”

That’s a sensible stance.  It’s also what COCA thinks.  COCA’s public policy on vaccinations can be found on their website.  This policy has been in place since September 5, 2011.

Screenshot 2014-11-11 21.56.34

What about the CAA’s public policy on vaccination, also on their website?Screenshot 2014-11-11 22.40.12

If we compare and contrast the two documents, the first, developed by COCA, suggests we are healthcare professionals.  We are team players with mature, thoughtful, considered policy consistent with the WHO and Australian Healthcare System.  This document suggests we are neuromuscular experts, someone who you can trust.  A sensible person might come up with such a statement.  You would want this type of expert on your team, so that they could treat back pain, which affects about 80% of the population.

The second “document” is written by the CAA, has 39 words, was presumably conceived on the back of a cocktail napkin and perhaps scribbled in crayon.   They did have the foresight to put a fancy, calligraphic picture on the policy though.  Shows conviction!

39 words and a fancy picture.  That’s not even one word for every embarrassing incident its board members have created in the media.  And incidents on a topic outside our scope of practice.  That’s fewer words than the number of individual healthcare organizations now irate because of the harm spread by our supposedly elected chiropractic representatives.  Each time a CAA board member speaks out against vaccination, another 100 conversations take place where rational chiropractors say to another allied healthcare professional, “Actually, I do believe in vaccines.  It’s ok to refer to me.”

Why is the CAA not able to clearly, boldly, and effectively implement a public policy that represents chiropractors as rational health care advocates?

The phrase, “Chiropractors do not provide vaccination services,” is a waste of 6 words.

“Chiropractors should encourage their patients to make informed health care decisions…” is not a position statement on vaccination.

We should be focused on our professional identity as spinal experts, and claiming our role as the practitioner of choice to refer back pain patients.  Chiropractors assess, diagnose and treat conditions of the spine and nmsk system. Defined by the World Federation of Chiropractic: A health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation .

Yet instead of securing our position as non-surgical spinal care experts, we expend energy to fend off criticism about quack chiropractors.  These board members of CAA National and State, who promote conspiracy theories regarding vaccination, and promulgate anti vaccination sentiments, do not represent me.  They do not represent the vast majority of chiropractors.  They are creating a wedge between chiropractors, and other healthcare providers.  And Lawrence Tassell, your failure to carry out your promises is to blame for this mess.  For a moment, there was a bit of hope.  Or can you prove this post wrong?

I want someone who builds bridges of referrals for chiropractors representing me.  The CAA, clearly, is not capable of this role.