By Helen Petousis Harris 23/05/2016 13

There is a measles outbreak in the Waikato and folks are presenting certificates of homeopathic prophylaxis against measles as proof of immunity, to avoid exclusion from school.

It is frightening to think that the holder of the certificate below is under the impression they have protection against the listed epidemic diseases.


Certificate of immunity to infectious diseases
Certificate of immunity to infectious diseases

Homeopathic products do not immunise against disease, nor do they treat it. They are no substitute for vaccines. Even the British Homeopathic Association recommends immunisation should be carried out in the usual way. The same cannot be said for the NZ Council of Homeopaths who appear blatantly antivax, evidenced by their erroneous assertions about vaccine safety, as would appear the NZ Homeopathic Society.

The principals of homeopathy defy the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and common sense, yet there are an abundance of websites and books that will tell you homeopathy works. Technically it is German Voodoo although perhaps in the eighteenth century it was safer than leeching and purging. Funny how leeching found its way to science-based medicine and homeopathy did not. That is because homeopathy is in no way science-based and the idea that water has a memory is mumbo jumbo which is easily invalidated – the science of thermodynamics springs to mind, along with what may happen when you fill an empty wine bottle with water, surely an everlasting supply of Pinot Gris?

The reason there is really no way homeopathy can work is because it relies on dilution to the point of extinction (nothingness). The key ingredient (perhaps duck liver or mercury) is serially diluted up to 200 times. The magic, we are told, is in the ‘imprint’ the molecules leave behind. If you believe a vial of nothing but water will protect you against measles you effectively believe in magic. That is ok but there is not a shred of evidence that it will work. Not even a tatter, or sniff. None. Zilch.

Perhaps in the 1800s it was understandable to believe in homeopathy. [click here for full article] Here is an article  THE MEASLES EPIDEMIC. Waikato Times, Volume VIII, Issue 423, 2 February 1875, Page 2.

Papers past on homeopathy for measles.
Papers past on homeopathy for measles.


But today we have methods for looking at his stuff and I am afraid it does not stack up. [click here for full article]

Reveiw of homeopathy


I have no particular bone to pick with homeopathy. I am a great fan of the placebo effect and mind body medicine. Psychoneuroimmunology it is called. Fascinating field of science – this is the science behind the interconnectedness of the mind, the nervous system and the immune system.

What I get razzed up about is when people are led to believe that homeopathy is a substitute for science-based medicine such as immunisations via vaccination. Homeopaths can make their practice sound all sciencey, this is called pseudoscience, but it cannot and does not work the way people are sometimes led to believe.

Unfortunately pseudoscience thriving in NZ awaiting unwitting and well-intended customers (BTW, childhood vaccines are free in NZ). A quick web search found numerous websites and books suggesting just that.

…the information herein provides an avenue for the treatment of disease without the use of vaccination.

This practice of offering alternatives to immunisation is alive and well in NZ, for example Northland and recently during a measles outbreak in Waikato where parents have trotted out homeopathic vaccine certificates as proof of their child’s immunity.

Sadly, this certificate suggests to the holder that the aforementioned tonics have induced immunity to whooping cough, measles, polio, meningococcal disease, hepatitis B, influenza, diphtheria, mumps and rubella along with ‘constitutional clearance’ (whatever constitutional clearance is, sounds bad).

These are potentially devastating diseases and the administration of homeopathy in this context is a dangerous practice. Buyer be warned, homeopathy is an art, not science.

13 Responses to “Whimsical witchcraft not immunisation”

  • I heard this suggestion for dealing with purveyors of such nonsense. To pay for it, place a $20 bill in the seller’s hands, then take it away. The hand will have a memory of the money.

  • When will Waikato DHB/or Health Dept, be publishing the laboratory tests, that reveal if the measles cases were vaccine derived strains or wild measles strains, or how many cases they have confirmed, have been vaccinated or not vaccinated? Normally this is the first thing that media states.

    • Why on earth would they do that without a reason? Vaccine derived measles is not transmissible.
      Vaccine status of cases is reported in the ESR report once data is confirmed.

  • Perhaps anyone presenting homeopathic vaccination certificates should be required to also present confirmation of antibody titres carried out by a licenced pathology laboratory before being allowed to return to school. The results could be interesting, if somewhat predictable.

    • Why should they, People who receive MMR are only asked for proof of vaccination, nothing else and as you are aware, primary vaccine failure does occur for some. Antibodies titres are a blunt tool don’t you think? How do those who are unvaccinated , have wild exposure to measles and agammaglobulinaemia, get through measles then. This has been docmented. Would indicate that other pathways of immune response are at work. Taken from the CDC website: you will be aware of this of course.I note that there has been mention of genotyping in the Waikato ‘cases’ in their latest update. It would be good to know how many of the ‘cases’ were unvaccinated.

      Measles virus genotyping can play an important role in tracking transmission pathways during outbreak investigations. Genotyping results can help confirm, disprove, or detect connections among cases. If two cases have matching genotypes, they may be connected even if the connection is not obvious.

      Genotyping is also the only way to distinguish whether a person has wild-type measles virus infection, or a rash caused by a recent measles vaccination. During outbreaks, measles vaccine is administered to help control the outbreak, and in these situations, vaccine reactions may be mistakenly classified as measles cases. A small number of measles vaccine recipients experience rash and fever 10 to 14 days following vaccination. The vaccine strain of measles virus can be distinguished from wild-type viruses by determination of the genotype from clinical samples or virus isolates. (See Specimens for Detection of Measles RNA by RT-PCR or Virus Isolation.)

      • “Why should they, People who receive MMR are only asked for proof of vaccination, nothing else and as you are aware, primary vaccine failure does occur for some”

        While this might well be the case, the primary vaccine failure rate for homeopathy is 100%. It would be prudent then for anyone following such a procedure to be asked to back up their claim with supporting evidence.

        • In will look forward to seeing your evidence that homeopathic prophylaxis has a 100% failure rate… I have found this not to be true and have the labs to prove it…but I will gladly wait to see what you have and we can compare. My own(8 Children in my family) experience of measles as a child, was that we all had measles and no one came out of it with any deficits. Both my parents had cell mediated immunity which as you are aware lasts for about 75 year, so that were not affected. We were given Vitamin A ,C and B vitamins in recommended doses and kept home. One reason to look at genotyping for vaccinated individuals, is so that those who are unvaccinated are not ‘blamed’ for every case of unconfirmed measles, confirmed or measles like rash cases, by the media, who buy into the hysteria that is created..that is scaremongering. It is interesting that since the Waikato cases, not one case of measles has been noted to have been unvaccinated. Many have been dismissed as not measles and a few confirmed, but not noted as to whether vaccinated. Genotyping is required I believe, in these cases. Perhaps someone could inform the personel who answer calls from the public health dept. about outbreak results, that MMR does contains live viruses. Weakened but still contain live viruses, unlike attenuated. They have informed a member of the public that the MMR vaccine does not contain live virus. Let’s be transparent with the science.

          • I think, given that vaccination had eliminated measles from the Americas years ago along with other countries and has almost eliminated it from NZ we know for a fact that the vaccine has been extremely effective. No one is going to genotype cases when it is perfectly clear that the vaccine is over 95% efficacious and the disease is heading for eradication. The Medical Officers of Health have the details of the cases. We know perfectly well that almost all cases occur in unvaccinated individuals.

          • Hi Fiona – please do put up the lab results and show how they are linked to homeopathic vaccination. You could well be up for a Nobel in medicine if its found true – that would be worth it surely.

            I’m happy to repeat that homeopathy CANNOT provide immunity from anything except thirst. There is no mechanism by which it could at the usual dilution ratios and in any case, the treatment would have to somehow pass on a version of the relevant infection which, as an unlicenced product, would make it both illegal and immoral.

            Feel free to contradict, but it is you that is claiming the extraordinary not me, so its for you to prove.

            You do seem to love anecdote. Please at least accept that your personal observations are just that. They cannot be generalised across a population just because you think so.

            Many people who smoke do not develop lung cancer – does this mean its a fallacy that smoking is causal to lung cancer? Many people I know can swim 100 metres. None of them has drowned. Ergo, if you can swim 100m you won’t drown. I hope you see the fallacy in these examples. Reflect on them.

        • Indeed homeopathy efficacy is equivalent to placebo. Fact. Personally I would rather get a massage, that is more effective than placebo.

  • I would quite happily require antibody titres from all students going back to school to confirm immune status to measles. (Hopefully I would also be able to buy shares in pathology labs before that started!) Whether the immunity was acquired naturally or by vaccination wouldn’t change the titres. I would expect a far higher non-immune rate in students who had been given homeopathic ‘vaccines’ than in students who had been given MMR, that’s for sure. As a bonus, anyone whose titres were non-protective could be offered a booster of MMR.

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