Having originally written about Dr Sarah Myhill’s views on vaccination in April last year, detailing some of the most obviously incorrect assertions on her website and noting the changes made to Dr Myhill’s site after correspondence with her, I followed up on this in August this year in this post: the wrongness of Dr Sarah Myhill. I noted that Dr Myhill had substantially amended her website, removing many of the factually incorrect statements, but that some of her website content was still unsupported by evidence, misleading, or untrue. Further correspondence with Dr Myhill proved fruitless, so I contacted the GMC. I have now heard from the GMC regarding my concerns.
The references to vaccination on Myhill’s website contain statements that are unsupported by evidence, misleading, or untrue. I understand that the GMC required Dr Myhill to refrain from referring to a number of things on her website – one of which was vaccination. I am confused as to why the Interim Order was revoked and the FtP abandoned given that Dr Myhill did not comply with this condition.
The page on swine flu and vaccination states that: “Vaccinations are always a two edged sword – they have the ability to switch on the immune system. Ideally, of course, this should be against the virus, but vaccinations can certainly switch on chronic fatigue syndromes, probably allergies and possibly autoimmunity.”
The page on autoimmune diseases has this: “Vaccinations all contain immune adjuvants (without which they do not work!) such as mercury (thiomersal,) aluminium, squalene (a toxic lipid) or whatever. These have the potential to switch on the immune system to trigger allergies and/or autoimmunity. My personal view is that the evidence for benefit of the annual flu vaccination is probably out-weighted by potential damage so I no longer recommend this for my patients. Instead I direct them to Viral infections – good nutrition is highly protective against viral infection.”
Thiomersal is not an adjuvant, it’s a preservative. Squalene (a favourite bugbear of the anti-vaccinationists and said by Dr Myhill to be “a toxic lipid”) is a naturally occurring substance found in plants, animals and humans – and is also found in a variety of foods, cosmetics, over-the-counter medications and health supplements. The evidence suggests that the squalene contained in vaccines poses no risk. Myhill claims that ingredients used in some vaccines may trigger allergies or autoimmunity, and offers her personal opinion that the risks of flu vaccination outweigh the benefits (as far as I am aware, the evidence shows that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks – I think it is inappropriate for Myhill to publish her personal opinion if it is contrary to the available evidence).
There are more references to vaccination on Myhill’s site here, here, and here. Dr Myhill consistently claims that vaccination is linked to CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), talking of vaccines “switching on chronic fatigue syndrome” and “triggering flares of CFS”. I’m always willing to be proved wrong, but I don’t think there is reliable evidence of an association between vaccination and CFS.
Appel, Chapman and Shoenfeld seem to think it is at least plausible that vaccination could be linked to CFS and call for further research, but state that: “Little is known about this issue. There are some reports on CFS occurring after vaccination, but few prospective and retrospective studies failed to find such an association” and point out that a working group of the Canadian Laboratory Center for Disease Control (LCDC) that was founded in order to examine the suspected association between CFS and vaccinations concluded that there is no evidence that relates CFS to vaccination.
A Norwegian study found “no statistically significant association between vaccination against meningococcal disease in teenagers and occurrence of CFS/ME”, and a double-blind, randomized study of the effects of influenza vaccination on the specific antibody response and clinical course of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome found that “no difference could be detected between immunized and placebo CFS patients in immunization side effects”.
There are two issues here: firstly, the GMC appear to have been unable to ensure that Dr Myhill’s website was in full compliance with their conditions; secondly, the references to vaccination on Myhill’s site contain statements that are unsupported by evidence, misleading, or untrue.
The GMC Response
The GMC were unable to discuss why the Interim Order was revoked and the FtP abandoned. With regard to my concerns about the content of Dr Myhill’s website, the GMC told me the following. A doctor is entitled to express their opinion, and the GMC does not have the power to censor this. They do not consider that this is an issue that warrants GMC action against her registration at this time.