On April 1 2013, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors and acupuncturists in Ontario will need a license to practice their unique brand of healing. Without a licence you will not be able to diagnose heat stagnation by looking at the tongue. Without a licence you will not be able to discern the state of the organs through the pulse in patient's wrist. Without a licence you will not be able to diagnose a fever caused by the wind, or needle the meridians of the body to unblock stagnant Qi. I feel safer already. We are faced with one striking dilemma, however: what responsibility does the state have to its citizens when they seek help from non-traditional sources?
While the safety and efficacy of vaccines for childhood infectious diseases is very well established, doubt continues to be sown among well-meaning parents. We need to demand that our government stop speaking out of one side of its mouth about the importance of the modern, science-based immunization schedule, while with the other side approving the sale of useless homeopathic hokum to be promoted as an ineffective alternative. If we do not, we risk a return of deadly childhood diseases like the 100-day cough of pertussis or the deadly, paralytic polio.