1,500 kids got bogus homeopathic pellets instead of lifesaving vaccines in NY

AI SaaS

Extreme close-up photograph of a row of vials.
Enlarge / Vials containing pills for homeopathic remedies are displayed at Ainsworths Pharmacy on August 26, 2005, in London.

A midwife in New York administered nearly 12,500 bogus homeopathic pellets to roughly 1,500 children in lieu of providing standard, life-saving vaccines, the New York State Department of Health reported yesterday.

Jeanette Breen, a licensed midwife who operated Baldwin Midwifery in Nassau County, began providing the oral pellets to children around the start of the 2019–2020 school year, just three months after the state eliminated non-medical exemptions for standard school immunizations. She obtained the pellets from a homeopath outside New York and sold them as a series called the “Real Immunity Homeoprophylaxis Program.”

The program falsely claimed to protect children against deadly infectious diseases covered by standard vaccination schedules, including diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (covered by the DTaP or Tdap vaccine); hepatitis B; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR vaccine); polio; chickenpox; meningococcal disease; Haemophilus influenzae disease (HiB); and pneumococcal diseases (PCV).

Homeopathy is a pseudoscience that falsely claims that medical conditions can be cured or prevented by extreme, ritualized dilutions of poisonous substances that cause the same symptoms of a particular disease or condition when administered directly. Homeopathic products are often diluted to such a point that they do not contain a single atom of the original substance. Some homeopaths claim that water molecules can have a “memory” of their contact with the substance, magically imbuing them with healing powers. Homeopathic products work no better than placebos, though if they are improperly diluted, they can be harmful and even deadly.

In 2022, federal authorities sentenced a homeopath in California to nearly three years in prison for selling bogus COVID-19 immunization pellets and for falsifying COVID-19 vaccination records. In New York, Breen’s scheme began before the pandemic and did not include pellets for COVID-19, potentially sparing her from the attention of federal regulators.

The New York health department deleted all of Breen’s false vaccination records for the 1,500 children and is contacting their parents as well as affected schools. Most of the children are from Long Island, but some are as far-flung as Erie County. Around 300 schools are affected. The children are excluded from school until their parents provide proof that they are in compliance with the vaccination requirements.

Meanwhile, the state fined Breen, who has agreed to a settlement order that permanently bars her from providing immunizations and accessing the state’s vaccine records system, the New York State Immunization Information System. The state’s penalty was issued as $300,000. Breen paid $150,000, and the state suspended the rest on the condition that she stay in compliance with the state’s orders.

“Misrepresenting or falsifying vaccine records puts lives in jeopardy and undermines the system that exists to protect public health,” State Health Commissioner James McDonald said in a statement. “Let it be clear, the New York State Department of Health takes this issue seriously and will investigate and use all enforcement tools at its disposal against those who have been found to have committed such violations.”

AI SaaS

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