Homeopathic Vaccines Are Not Vaccines

This week, a professional football player tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. He was then put on a protocol designed by the National Football League to mitigate any spread of the infection among players and support staff. Sports commentators then saw that it was strange that the player would be put into the protocol when vaccinated players are not subject to stringent isolation procedures usually reserved for the unvaccinated. This was strange to them because, in a press conference in August, the player seemed to have indicated that he was vaccinated by answering that he was “immunized” against COVID-19 when asked if he was vaccinated. As it turns out, the player has not received any of the licensed COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, he had received a “homeopathic vaccine” to “boost” his “antibody levels.”

There is no credible evidence that homeopathic vaccines work in preventing or treating any disease or conditions.(Loeb, 2018) Calling them “vaccines” is also an error because they are not vaccines. So what are they?

First, we need to examine what homeopathy is, and is not. Homeopathy is a practice that is lumped together with unscientific methods of preventing and treating disease that together are referred to as “Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicine.” In the late 1700s and early 1800s, a German physician by the name of Samuel Hahnemann believed that “if a patient had an illness, it could be cured by giving a medicine which, if given to a healthy person, would produce similar symptoms of that same illness but to a slighter degree. Thus, if a patient was suffering from severe nausea, he was given a medicine which in a healthy person would provoke mild nausea. By a process he called ‘proving’, Hahnemann claimed to be able to compile a selection of appropriate remedies. This led to his famous aphorism, ‘like cures like’, which is often called the ‘principle of similars’; and he cited Jenner’s use of cowpox vaccination to prevent smallpox as an example.” (Loudon, 2006)

This was at a time when the immune system was still a mystery to scientists. Jenner discovered that a small dose of cowpox would prevent smallpox, but it had long been known that a small dose of smallpox would cause smallpox. The latter being a procedure called inoculation aimed at giving smallpox in a controlled manner to trigger immunity, but one which would still be responsible for some deaths.

Hahnemann’s homeopathic remedies involved taking a substance that caused symptoms similar to a disease when given in full dose and then diluting that substance so that it would be a very small dose, just like Jenner’s vaccine. Except that the doses in homeopathy are so diluted so as to it being an almost statistical certainty that there are no molecules of the substance in the final dilution. As the following video explains, a “20X” (not twenty times dilution) or 1 in 10 dilution repeated 20 times is like “dissolving one aspirin pill in the volume of the whole Atlantic.”

As you can infer, the dilutions that make up most homeopathic remedies are unlikely to have any molecules of the substance. How do homeopaths explain that the solution works? Magic. They claim that the molecules of water “remember” what was diluted in them, and that “memory” is then transferred to you when you take homeopathy. Lots of other stuff is diluted in the water that we drink, but homeopaths don’t mention if the “memory” of those other things — like feces — stays with the water you drink after it has been filtered and chlorine added to it.

Homeopathic “vaccines” take diseased human tissue — allegedly from people with the disease intended to be prevented — and dilutes that tissue over and over again, up to one part ingredient and (as the video above explains) 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 parts water. And that’s just a “30C” dilution. There are homeopathic remedies that are “300C,” where you would have to have a pill the size of the observable universe in order to guarantee that just one molecule of the ingredient is present.

On the other hand, an mRNA vaccine licensed by the FDA contains several ingredients that are measurable, that have been tested in clinical trials for safety and effectiveness, and whose evidence of reduction of severe disease can be quantified easily through both clinical trial data and epidemiological study. Unlike homeopathic remedies, the licensed vaccines do not have a warning on them that “these products have are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.” And the ingredients of licensed vaccines are documented in the package inserts of the vaccines along with data obtained during clinical trials.

Unfortunately, in the United States and elsewhere, homeopathy has been sold as a remedy to many ailments with and without the warning mentioned above. As the English language has evolved, the word “homeopathic” has been equated with “all natural” or “organic,” a distinction from the “synthetic” or “manufactured” (yet proven as effective) medication from pharmaceutical companies. To further complicate things, several states in the United States license “homeopathic physicians” (and others who practice homeopathy though they lack an MD or DO education), and physicians with MD or DO educations have been known to “prescribe” homeopathic remedies to their patients.

At the end of the day, lies and misinformation about vaccines — all vaccines, not just COVID-19 vaccines — circulate widely on the internet and outside of it. When those lies and misinformation are amplified by people with wide audiences, they plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of people who then germinate those doubts and spread more doubt among their peers. In the end, those ideas translate to action, or — in the case of vaccines — inaction, and that inaction leaves people vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases… People who might not have the multi-million dollar contracts and institutional supports to go through a disease like COVID-19 with little to no long-term effects.

Featured image by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

References

Loeb, M., Russell, M. L., Neupane, B., Thanabalan, V., Singh, P., Newton, J., & Pullenayegum, E. (2018). A randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial comparing antibody responses to homeopathic and conventional vaccines in university students. Vaccine36(48), 7423–7429. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.08.082

Loudon I. (2006). A brief history of homeopathy. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine99(12), 607–610. https://doi.org/10.1258/jrsm.99.12.607

Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/renenajera Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen