Ask Surly Amy: Homeopathic Vaccines

Ask Surly Amy

Help me!

I’ve been trying to get the word out about the Pertussis vaccine at my work. I’ve been working with our health council leader, who is the only person in a long chain of people, who will help me. (I’m a grunt, he’s a manager.) He’s going to try to get the people who did our flu shots to come in for tDap to administer to employees and paying customers. Except he also wants us to offer a homeopathic alternative. He’s a true believer. He also told me that at 50% of the population being inoculated, that’s herd immunity. I told him it was 90% and he gave me a pitying look. What do i do here? On the one hand, he’s the only guy to help me out. On the other, I don’t want to make things worse by having a bunch of people take the homeopathic version instead.


Dear Meagan,

First of all, good for you for getting the word out about the TDaP booster! It’s very important that we educate the population about the necessity of vaccines and the need for periodic boosters for adults. What you are doing is important and it can help save lives.

Second of all, you are correct when you stated that a 90% vaccination rate is what is needed for herd immunity to be effective and that is because even when vaccinated, it is not a guarantee that a person will not become sick. Vaccines themselves have about a 90% success rate, which is pretty great but combine that 10% possibility of infection with the amount of people who can not be vaccinated because they have compromised immune systems or are too young and you realize that you have the potential for problems. If the population were only 50% immunized then that would actually turn into a breeding ground for spreading illness because more people would have the potential for getting sick than protected people. 50% unvaccinated plus an approximate 10% fail rate of vaccines would equal a majority of people who could contract and spread disease. There is a lovely article here that explains this concept better than I can using vaccinated school children as an example.

You find yourself in a very difficult situation in that your boss or supervisor is the one recommending homeopathy. Yes, the ideal thing to do is to stand up against your boss and explain to him or her why homeopathy is complete crap homeopathy is full of shitand can not, under any circumstance protect you from Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis or any other life threatening illness. Homeopathy is faith based, magic water. Homeopathy is crap-based medicine. To place a homeopathic vaccine in a medical environment and offer it as an alternative legitimizes the treatment. It sends the message that either an actual TDaP booster or sugar water are both valid choices. They are not. Homeopathy does not work beyond placebo and a placebo can not protect you from Pertussis, Tetanus or Diphtheria. Homeopathy will not protect infants from death. There is no legitimate scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of homeopathic vaccinations what-so-ever.

If I were you, I would probably find an outlet outside of your work place to set up a clinic. You can contact you local health department or the CDC to find out how you could do that or find out where the vaccines are being offered for free or at a discount in your area. If that is not an option and you have already committed yourself to doing the clinic at work, instead of confronting your boss perhaps contact your local health organization and ask for a representative from the CDC or a health care professional be available and onsite during the vaccinations to answer questions and pass out information about the safety and efficacy of both the TDaP booster and the *cough* (bullshit) *cough* homeopathic “vaccine”. That way you are just helping spread science based information without being directly responsible for what is said to your boss.

I wish you the best of luck! Your intentions are definitely good. Let us know how it works out!

~Surly Amy

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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  1. Excellent advice, Amy. Obviously it can be a bad idea to tell people that you work for (or even with) that their understanding is incorrect (or even crazy).

    If you aren’t sure of your work people’s stance on reality, it is probably best to have your vaccine fair be a separate deal from your job.

  2. Where do I get a copy of this great image? I am currently working on the Boys Book of Pseudoscience and this is going to be great for the homeopathy chapter.

  3. Boys_books you may also want to peruse the resources created by Crispian Jago, especially the periodic table of irrational nonsense.

    Cudos to Meagan for organizing an on-site clinic. I agree with Amy’s advice to get a third party present to give accurate health advice–perhaps from county Public Health?

  4. In the US I believe that an injectable medicine must be approved by the FDA and meet safety and efficacy standards. If I am right a homeopathic “vaccine” would not only be illegal, but a criminal enterprise.

    Side comment the pills are sugar pills, but the water probably is not. I’ve not seen or heard of a homeopathic injectable anything before.

  5. Thanks for the advice, Amy. This is Meagan, I wrote this letter.
    I live and work in Portland and I wanted to give a bit of background about why I’m trying to do this.
    First of all, I work for Woo central. We’re a friendly grocery store that sells a lot of homeopathics, supplements, and the like. We offer wellness classes and we make tons of money selling bullshit.
    It wasn’t until last year, (after nine years of business) that we offered flu shots to employees. What we offered instead was a wellness kit, with occiliccocsinum, echinachia, and some other crap. And we had to buy it. With the swine flu, they brought nurses in to administer shots and hopefully they’ll do that again this year.
    We have a lot of contact with the public and loads of people come in to do their shopping with infants. I’m talking babies still in that gross wormy stage, they’re so young. As I said, we’re a friendly store, so mangers and cashiers will hold and cuddle babies, parents permitting.

    I took your advice and have looked up the CDC. They have tons of information on it so I’m going to make packets to hand out to people. I’m also printing out the spanish language versions for my amigos in the kitchen. They all have young children, so I want them to take advantage of our health insurance and get the jab! And my boyfriend and I are heading to the doctor tomorrow to get poked, too. I contacted Mark Crislip since he lives in Portland to see if he’d be able to help. He’s a very busy man, but a girl can dream, right? I’m also working to get a CDC rep or a health department person on board.
    Thanks for your helpful suggestions!

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