How much do doctors and nurses know about vaccines?

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I recently discovered that an out of work tech guy has started a YouTube channel devoted to spreading antivax rhetoric.  His name is Forrest Maready and he has been doing this for about two months. He has a Facebook page that seems to get a good amount of traffic. His most recent video, How much does medical school teach about vaccines, has had 174,00 views and 6551 shares on Facebook alone in less than a week. According to his Linkedin profile, he is a “creative technologist and opinionator.” He is also an out of work technology officer with a degree in religion and music. Exactly the last person I would expect anyone to take seriously when it comes to advice about health and medicine.

And, yet, his videos are being noticed and questions are arising. Since this is not the first time an antivaxer has questioned how much doctors and nurses learn about vaccines in college, nor will it be the last, I think this is a great topic to debunk.

Here is the nitty gritty of the antivax argument (google it, you will see many AV sites discuss this topic):



Truly, this is the crux of this position. The issue of how much doctors and nurses learn about vaccines in college is a minor, cherry-picked detail the way it is presented by antivaxers. Why? Because they are merely counting hours spent on topics or pages in textbooks and this is not how nurses and doctors are trained.

In his video, Forrest takes a pile of medical textbooks (we are not told from which medical school or year they originate) and examines the number of pages devoted to vaccines. Out of 6700 pages total, he found four and a half pages that discuss vaccines. He further looked at a pediatrics reference textbook and found 11 pages of vaccine schedules and three paragraphs of contraindications, out of 5000 pages total.

And from there he surmised that doctors in training spend two hours learning about vaccines. Let that sink in. Two hours.

Um, no. Just no.

If the art and science of being a medical doctor or nurse could be learned solely from textbooks, doctors and nurses would never have to spend any time at all in clinics, doing residencies and fellowships, and pursuing further education into specialties beyond the basic degree. What doctors and nurses learn is far more than what is in their textbooks. And it is more than just one textbook in isolation. Looking the number of pages on vaccines takes the education of nurses and doctors out of context. And this is cherry picking, trying to make an argument based on incomplete information selectively chosen merely to fit one’s agenda.

This survey, from the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, indicates doctors-in-training spend between 1 and 10 hours learning about vaccines. But, I believe that refers specifically to learning about just vaccines.  As this Facebook video from the Insufferably Intolerant Science Nerd explains, “The anti-vaccination movement would have you believe there are no books regarding vaccinations anywhere and that doctors are never taught about vaccinations. This is incorrect. Doctors are taught the knowledge needed to understand vaccinations and the role they play in eradicating disease from Day 1. There is an entire subdiscipline of scientific research “vaccinology” that specifically deals with vaccinations. Our medical knowledge of vaccinations has been built upon the information accumulated from many different disciplines of science – microbiology, virology, bacteriology, bioinformatics, epidemiology, biochemistry and organic chemistry.”  From the Violent Metaphors blog, “without even counting the related fields of physiology, the respiratory system, gastroenterology, histology, neurology, etc, I came up with 920 hours of graduate education in immunology, microbiology, and infectious disease – and that’s before ever hitting the wards in 3rd and 4th years.”

A nurse on Facebook puts it well: I have seen that video, and I find it to be completely bogus. Vaccines are a small topic amongst a wide array of information. It’s kind of like getting mad at a baker for not knowing the composition of an egg when he makes a recipe. It’s kind of a weird abstract. The entire education process about vaccines starts with anatomy and physiology. Learning and mastering the understanding of the immune system is step number one. Next, microbiology comes in when you start to understand and are taught the different types of bacteria as well as DNA and RNA transcription and reproduction. This is very important with understanding viruses as well as different kinds of bacteria. Next, you need to know about pathophysiology. Using pathophysiology, you learn about how the disease process happens, as well as how the different viruses and bacteria are spread. This can also be tied into Epidemiology or Immunology. After that, you have to delve into pharmacology. Pharmacology is a very interesting topic, and with knowledge gained from pharmacology we can understand how different parts of the vaccine as well as any drug are handled by the body and further information about their methods of action, adverse effects, and side effects. Also, we learn about the way drugs are eliminated and disposed of by the body like the liver, kidneys, and intestines. Finally, scientific literacy as well as an understanding of current evidence based practice, helps us understand the current stance as well as scientific standing on vaccines as well as all of their effects and efficacy. Of course we also talk about the schedule and when to give these immunizations, however by taking information from all of the classes mentioned, we can understand vaccines very thoroughly. Vaccines and the knowledge needed to understand them, is not one class. Instead it is an amalgamation of information that we have learned throughout our schooling. Not understanding microbiology or the immune system, greatly hinders and almost eliminates and full understanding of vaccines their uses and why they are given. For me personally, I opened up my textbook really quick for Pediatrics, and there is about 10 pages dedicated to each vaccine preventable illness, 5 pages on administration and contraindications, and another three pages as an overview of scientific research as it stands currently. I’m sure that I can look in my other text books and find other information within them that furthers the understanding of vaccines individually, but as I said it is a compound understanding. My textbook also talks about the Vaccine injury Compensation Program as well as the Vaccine Adverse event Reporting System. We are taught about it, very thoroughly in fact. In summation, we do not focus one class on vaccines. Instead, we take our understanding from previous courses like chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and public health to complete one comprehensive picture of what vaccines do, what they are, and how they work.

A doctor on Facebook says In the first place, we don’t get lectures on every drug, but we do get lectures on pharmacology, physiology, and pathophysiology, which helps us understand why and how a drug might be useful for a particular person.  Similarly, we learn about the immune system and microbiology so we can understand how vaccines work. You can’t just study vaccines out of context. That superficial knowledge, which some of our AV friends have, lacks the depth and perspective. As a trivial example, you can read about how live polio vaccine can cause poliomyelitis in rare cases. But you might not know how many people died from polio before the vaccine, or how terrified people became every summer.

On top of this education in classes, doctors and nurses learn a great deal in the field, in their clinics and residencies and fellowships. More to the point, they learn how to prevent and treat disease more outside of classroom than inside. But, more to the point, they are not learning to be experts in drug and vaccine composition. If you want to talk to someone who is an expert in drug ingredients, reactions, side effects, etc, then that person is called a pharmacist. Doctors and nurses do learn about diseases and treatments but it is unreasonable to expect them to be walking pharmacology reference guides. Furthermore, the “expertise” most antivaxers expect doctors and nurses to know off the tops of their heads is usually something they can easily look up in their handheld or laptop or desktop device.

And it is not just in medical school that professionals learn about vaccines. Osteopathic medical school also teaches doctors-in-training a great deal about vaccines. “Today’s students need to know how vaccines work from a microbiological perspective and how vaccination is viewed and implemented from a public and prevention perspective for overall population health. Additionally, they must now be able to use information technology, health care implementation science, and evidence-based data analysis to assess their own skills and ability in educating their patients to make wise health decisions regarding vaccination.”

The bottom line is that doctors and nurses learn a lot about the human body, diseases, treatments, drugs, and vaccines. But, it is mostly learned in context, not all from textbooks. Context. That is the key word here. Context.

And, doctors and nurses who want to learn more can take courses, such as one that might use this textbook:


As always, remember to use your thinking skills when it comes to making healthcare decisions.












34 thoughts on “How much do doctors and nurses know about vaccines?

  1. Thank you so much for addressing this issue! Health care practitioners get so much more education than anti-vaxxers would lead you to believe. Even after we graduate there are continuing education seminars we attend, professional organizations we belong to, scientific journals we read. Our learning doesn’t end when we finish school!


  2. Completely false! I am a nurse and I concur, we spent about 15 minutes on the vaccine issue… 15 minutes learning to say “They saved the world!” Nothing more! That’s what’s bogus!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen. His video ticked me off!
    Here is my comment to that clip that I just posted: (He will probably delete it…)

    You obviously have not been to medical school! The text books are NOT the only text they study! As I saw this last night, I was on the 5 minute break from a pre-med class where we were reading a paper–primary literature. VERY DIFFICULT primary literature to read, even for the smartest of pre-med students. “Primary Literature” means that the research and article are from the researchers themselves. It is not a review of research from someone who did not do the research, such as those who write textbooks. People without years of education do NOT understand these papers. Not by a long shot.

    Why was I doing this in a pre-med class? To prepare for med school where my class mates and I would all be expected to know how to read and understand dozens of papers so we could understand the latest on vaccines and such. The most up to date stuff about medicine is not in the textbooks. It is in primary literature written by researchers (as you said) and that primary literature cannot be understood unless we learn the basics in those textbooks.

    Furthermore, after you are a licensed physician, education is not over! No no, you must continue!…NOT only because you should, but because a certain amount of “continuing education” courses are required every year–courses that the doctor likely has to pay for himself BEYOND med school. What would they teach these students who have already learned so much? They teach them the latest from researchers!!!

    So next time you decide to bash on something like this, maybe you should figure out your crap first! You obviously haven’t received an education comparable to those of doctors.

    PS You totally disregarded the textbook on immunology. There is most certainly literature about vaccines in that textbook as well. But you wouldn’t know, because you never read and studied it.

    Disclaimer: I do not claim doctors know everything about vaccines. They do not. Nor do researchers, but they do know a lot. They know a lot more than the maker of this video. (Researchers of vaccines would never support this video! Where do you think the money for their research comes from?! NOT from he general population that can’t even read their articles!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Truth about Vaccines Episode 1: Top Ten lies debunked | vaccinesworkblog

    • (ok, trying to post this again)

      You (well, Kathy, the author of this creation, i’m talking to you) have a very nice big red and black picture of cherries in the middle of your imaginative creation, to illustrate very clearly to all of us mere humans what cherry picking means. Very nice, i must say. You also explicitly state multiple times in the text that the Forrest Maready video you are desperately trying to discredit in your very disciplined creativity–as well as generally all anti-vaxxers–are cherry pickers. Then you try to argue that 4 and 1/2 pages of vaccine material in Medical School is cherry picking… because, a doctor cannot study vaccines without, ehm let me get this straight, being potty-trained? And everything in between such as learning to read, to think, to reason, to question, to test… learning about the human physiology, the immune system. Of course, the immune system. If they studied vaccines in that context… vaccines would be outlawed, as every vaccine to date *damages* the immune system in multiple ways, and the way to measure that is to look at the data, and some non-pharma-bought studies, of how many (other) more diseases the vaccinated get (and this is why to date a vaccinated vs unvaccinated health study, for which data exists for over a century, has been avoided like the plague by the pharma-bought “peer-review” mafia) . But let us not mention that lest we be accused of splitting hairs while cherry picking… incidentally, you also make it a point *from the outset* to state that Forrest is an “out of work technology officer with a degree in religion and music” and then stating that he cannot possibly be taken seriously when he talks about vaccines… another, for the innumerable’th time, lame attempt to shoot the messenger instead of arguing the real issues (but, cherry picking, no no, of course it ain’t)!

      But let’s play by your rules shall we, let’s stick to the context, stay on point as it were… and study each vaccine individually, for what it is, it contains, etc. Right, let’s look at the ingredients of each vaccine. Here, for your convenience, is such a list (put back the url together, bypassing wordpress auto-moderation):
      vaxtruth DOT org SLASH wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/cdc-vaccine-ingredients DOT pdf

      How many Medical graduates know what is in each vaccine? More importantly, how many Medical graduates know of the studies that have determined beyond any doubt that shooting these cocktails into infants, pregnant women, anyone is perfectly safe? Or, if there is some risk, in some extremely rare cases of course, how many Medical graduates know of when to refrain from injecting any given vaccine concoction?

      Apart from the several Medical graduates that have commented right here that (i am collectively paraphrasing) “yes, in fact it is true, we have spent an extremely little time studying vaccines in my entire Medical program” (but these unfortunate cherries just went to the wrong schools, right?) … it is a rampantly confirmed fact that the vast majority of Medical Doctors will systematically jab, no questions to be asked, zero specific considerations of the individual to be jabbed… and the vast majority of Medical Doctors never inform the parent of any of the *known* dangers associated with each vaccine or with any of its ingredients, of when it is ok to take them and when it is not. But you do not mention this eeny meeny tiny little missing detail in Medical System programs… that would certainly be cherry picking at its plummest.

      And you, my dear, for your careful avoidance of the most important implications raised in Forrest Maready’s video, deserve the Big Plum.

      And, while you have so generously tried to educate all of us about what cherry picking is, I am not so generously inclined. I will let you yourself do the looking up of the word “shill”.


      • 1. Forrest is wrong in his estimation of how little doctors and nurses learn about vaccines.

        2. #vaxtruthlies

        3. Vaccine ingredients are not toxic or poisonous at those doses.

        4. Doctors do not memorize the ingredients in drugs. It is ridiculous to think they would do so. There are too many.

        5. Yes, doctors know when to not vaccinate.

        6. Go google some medical school curricula and see for yourself what they study.

        7. Forrest is a shill. He has a BA in religion and makes these vidoes as his job.


      • Oh you shill so well, I hope you are getting paid appropriately for it!

        You continue to vaseline around the issues with a poker face, continue to shoot the messenger, muddy the waters… for your vaccine masters, it is you the slave, baby.

        About the 7 points, that you reply with… wow, you have a facility with lying!

        1) The several comments from others to your own shill article indicate that Forrest may not be wrong “in his estimation of how little doctors and nurses learn about vaccines.”

        2) You accuse vaxtruth lies, but do not bother to substantiate… you do exactly what you *criticize* the vaccine-questioners for!

        3) Lier, and you know it. Please show me one (non-pharma paid for) study that shows that aluminium and thimerosal (or mercury) in vaccines is safe. Au contraire, there are many independent studies that show that vaccines are *not* safe e.g. see vaccinesafetycommission DOT org SLASH studies.html

        4) Cut the bullshit, doctors should know what they are injecting.

        5) Most doctors have no clue when not to vaccinate, just see for yourself or survey parents for what actually goes on on the ground. And the ones that know, almost never inform of the dangers… The CDC knows, of course, but they be bought-pharma-puppets and, for example, push for even more and more mandatory vaccinations (total contradiction with vaccine contraindications). Knowingly doing harm is the definition of criminal. Lawyers heyday is agonna come…

        6) Oh, now google research is OK? But googling vaccine injuries is not. Hypocrite. And for money of all things. Worse than a prostitute, who actually puts her, or his, own body on the line.

        7) Accuse others of what you are, always, always, always. That’s what you do my dear. Why does having a degree in religion make someone a shill? You know exactly what a shill is, and you know you are the definition of one… as you know that Forrest is not, as he is not being paid to push anyone’s agenda, but with unbelievable audacity, total chutzpah, you call him what you are! How much do you get paid to write up this intentional misinformation? And for what, to forward the big pharma vaccine agenda? Oh ultimate miserable sellout. Ain’t your mama proud of you!


      • You obviously have not read the about section. No shilling here.

        Forrest is an idiot. If you want to believe him, that is your choice. Having a degree only in religion does not make him a shill. But, it is clear that his videos are his only job. That makes him a shill.

        Doctors know they are not injecting anything toxic at those doses. They do not have to memorize the ingredients to any drug or vaccine.

        If you hate modern medicine so much, you are welcome to avoid it.


      • Shilling galore here! The “deep pockets of the anti-vaccine movement” (from your cited article Chris), seriously? Total bunk, again accusing the others of your most blatant faults… the deeeeeeeep pcokets are with big pharma buddy — but everyone knows you are not that naive –> shill.

        And Kathy, as for “modern medicine” — if by that you mean allopathic pharma-drug-based treatment, yes am totally against it because it distorts real science by its big money lobbying and bought “studies”. It throws around the kind of “science” that hides tha fact that you are in general more likely to die from a vaccine than you are from the disease it purports to prevent e.g. as per US government data for the US in 2014, 0 (ZERO) children died from polio while 85 died from the *vaccine* (and, those are the 85 that have been *acknowledged* and recorded in historic data — and check these numbers out for yourselves on medalerts DOT org — the real value is obviously much *higher*… how much higher? Good big question!) :
        web DOT facebook DOT com/RevolutionForChoice/photos/a.121755221565406.1073741828.120381895036072/239099083164352/

        Not only is the “science” hijacked and distorted, the push is to make the deadly but profitable “medicine” MANDATORY. But with a straight face you say “Welcome to avoid it” –> shill.


      • marengeti, are you denying the existence, influence and financial dealings of Claire Dwoskin and friends? Your silly name calling does not change that fact. Though there is on upside, there is now a really easy way to determine if a “researcher” is in the pocket of the Dwoskin family, which an indication that their “studies” should be ignored, they are on this list:

        “… (ZERO) children died from polio while 85 died from the *vaccine* …”

        One name: John Salamone. Now you figure out what he did.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your ability to eskew logic, and focus on one thing to divert from all the rest, is amazing. Why would all those researchers on the list you provide go against the BIG PHARMA MAFIA, risking their career and lives, to publish their observations and findings that go against the MONEYED MAINSTREAM? They do it because they have a conscience, that’s why. And if Claire Dwoskin and friends wish to help their crusade financially, all my respect to her and them.

        You compare what the amounts of money Claire Dwoskin and friends put out for this, to the amounts that PHARMA MAFIA spends lobbying Washington (the BIGGEST lobby in terms of funds, in human history!), brainwashing and bullying doctors, corrupting university programs, fear-mongering parents, etc etc ?! You insane. It is like the little boy… whose home and land has been occupied and destroyed, whose parents have been savagely killed and everything else have been taken away from him… throwing a stone at an advancing tank, and being called the terrorist by the occupying force (who also own the media). Shame on you.

        And what with the John Salamone name dropping, and no explanations? You ain’t doing it to Muddy the Waters now are you? Well, John Salamone’s son was one of the unlucky ones, who was paralysed from the Oral Polio Vaccine in 1990… and (in good part) because of John’s efforts, that particular polio vaccine, since 2000, is no longer in use in the *US*. But, the bit of data I cited is from 2014… stating that in 2014 in the US 0 (ZER0, ZILG, NADA) children died from polio, while 85 (EIGHTY FIVE) children DIED FROM THE VACCINE.

        Check out for yourself: medalerts DOT org — for any vaccine, for any year…

        Obfuscate that!


      • It does not matter how much money the Dwoskin folks pay for the research, it is that they have an agenda. They are paying for the results they want.

        “And what with the John Salamone name dropping, and no explanations?”

        So you don’t have Google on your internet? Obviously your research skills are lacking. He has something to do with which polio vaccine is now used in the USA.


      • “… Check out for yourself: medalerts DOT org — for any vaccine, for any year…”

        Ooooh, another thing that Claire Dwoskin is part of: the National Vaccine Information Center, or more accurately the Misinformation Center.

        That is just the VAERS database that skips the very important disclaimer required of access the official portal here:

        For some reason NVIC doesn’t want people to learn that the raw data is not verified. Apparently the following words are too dangerous for Barbara Loe Fisher, Claire Dwoskin and the rest of the NVIC folks to use:

        A report to VAERS generally does not prove that the identified vaccine(s) caused the adverse event described. It only confirms that the reported event occurred sometime after vaccine was given. No proof that the event was caused by the vaccine is required in order for VAERS to accept the report. VAERS accepts all reports without judging whether the event was caused by the vaccine.

        Because the plural of anecdote is not data, which is why there is also the Vaccine Safety Datalink Program.


  5. You pose some interesting questions. Should people with a degree in one area discuss topics outside that field? For example, should Richard Dawkins, a biologist, discuss religion? Should Stephen Hawkings, a physicist, discuss philosophy and social issues? What does the general public think? Should we only comment on those areas we have our University degree in? Should only those with PhD in Immunology discuss vaccine effectiveness? If so, what should you discuss, Kathy? What is your degree in?


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