If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that common sense is a lost art. People need to be warned not to take medication meant for livestock. (Yes, really.) They need to be warned not to drink bleach. (Thanks, Trump.) And they also need to be reminded that chiropractors are not doctors and should not be giving advice about vaccines. Yet here we are.
To some people, chiropractors are akin to magicians, making miracles happen with their adjustments. But they are not doctors and are not qualified to give vaccine advice. Period.
For those who haven’t been to a chiropractor, they are professionals who use their hands to perform “adjustments” to relieve pain in the back, neck, and other areas of the body. They do not hold medical degrees, nor did they attend medical school. Instead, after receiving their undergraduate degree, they attend a chiropractic training program to become licensed practitioners. According to Healthline, all chiropractors are required to obtain a doctor of chiropractic degree from a Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) accredited college. They are skilled at performing physical manipulations and adjustments, but they do not have carte blanche to dish out medical advice.
“Chiropractors in particular, unless they’ve taken it upon themselves to receive additional training, do not have expertise in vaccination,” Jason Busse, a chiropractor and associate professor at McMaster University, told Vancouver’s City News 1130. “Speaking as a chiropractor [myself], I would not go to myself for information on vaccines,” he said.
Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped many chiropractors from dishing out unsolicited and sometimes uninformed advice on Covid-19 vaccines and face masks.
Chiropractors aren’t just offering up their unqualified opinions, but they are often providing biased information.
The profession “emerged from this vitalistic, almost supernatural idea of healing,” Caulfield told the New York Times. “It’s difficult for them to escape their roots, and I think that’s one of the reasons that so many people continue to be attracted to chiropractic who are more likely to be vaccination hesitant, and why so many chiropractic practitioners are in fact vaccination hesitant.”
It’s important to note that not all chiropractors are anti-vaxxers fueling the spread of Covid’s delta variant with their misinformation. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association recommends chiropractors follow guidance from the CDC and their state governments, which say the vaccines are safe, effective, and essential to fighting the pandemic. The New York Times has reported that vaccines have become a hotbed of debate in the chiropractic profession, with some chiropractors calling on their peers to promote the CDC’s recommendations.
Like anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers in general, anti-vax chiropractors are a “vocal minority” wreaking havoc on the country. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “through social media and other forums, the chiropractors have shared debunked conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims, the kind of misinformation that U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has called a ‘clear and present danger’ for those still unprotected.”
While we’re at it, here’s a non-inclusive of people to stop taking vaccine advice from: your hair dresser, massage therapist, neighbor whose mom used to be a nurse, your essential oil MLM friend, that “doctor” on the internet who offers subscription-based webinars and runs an online store with only his products, and your acupuncturist.
Here’s a list of people to take vaccine advice from: the CDC, the FDA, and your doctor.
As a reminder, the CDC urges everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on August 23, 2021 and emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. And actual doctors around the country (and the world, for that matter) are urging people to get vaccinated, with the American Hospital, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association releasing PSAs in English and with Spanish subtitles telling audiences to “ask questions, follow the science and get vaccinated.”
Look, no one is saying that chiropractors aren’t skilled. But it’s important to look to the appropriate professionals for their professional opinion. You don’t go to your pediatrician for legal advice. You don’t ask your lawyer for advice on how to fix your back pain. And you shouldn’t look to your chiropractor for vaccine advice.
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