Another confounding factor they accounted for was the relationship between the number of vaccines received and age. Naturally, older children would tend to have had more vaccines than younger children. To avoid comparing vaccinated children with long-term care in Thomas’s practice and unvaccinated children with short-term care, they matched patients between the two groups according to “days of care” in the practice. Because all patients were born into the practice, this correlated with age.

Matching patients to days of care also served to further protect against finding different health outcomes due to different healthcare-seeking behavior.

It is difficult to see how the findings of their study could be attributed to differences in healthcare-seeking behavior or lifestyle choices separate from the parental choice not to vaccinate. As Lyons-Weiler and Thomas remark, if their findings are explainable by different lifestyle choices, “then it would be objective to conclude that everyone should adopt the lifestyle followed by the unvaccinated if they want healthier children. That lifestyle choice includes, for many families, avoiding some or all vaccines, and thus, the lifestyle choice concern is inextricably linked to vaccine exposure.”

As they summarized their findings, “We could detect no widespread negative health effects in the unvaccinated other than the rare but significant vaccine-targeted diagnoses. We can conclude the unvaccinated children in this practice are not, overall, less healthy than the vaccinated and indeed, the vaccinated children appear to be significantly less healthy than the unvaccinated.”


The Oregon Medical Board, myopically focused on the policy goal of achieving high vaccine uptake in pediatric practices across the state, challenged Thomas to produce peer-reviewed evidence to support his approach to vaccinations.

Presumably, the board assumed this would pose an insurmountable obstacle. Yet Thomas rose to the challenge and published the data indicating his unvaccinated patients were the healthiest children in his practice.

The board, rather than taking this requested study into consideration, ignored the evidence and held an emergency meeting just days after the study’s publication during which board members opted to suspend Thomas’ license on the false pretext his approach to vaccination represented a threat to public health.

To support that charge, the board accused Thomas of “bullying” patients into accepting the alternative outlined in his book, “Vaccine-Friendly Plan.” But this, too, is a demonstrably false pretext intended to obfuscate the true reason for suspending his license, which is that the board is intolerant of doctors approaching vaccination on the principles of individualized care and respect for the right to informed consent.

Contrary to the board’s accusations, the health outcomes that Dr. Thomas has achieved with the children in his practice are enviable and should serve as a model for pediatricians across the country. The threat that Dr. Thomas posed was not to public health but to the policy goal of achieving high vaccination rates. His suspension was transparently intended to send the message to other pediatricians that if they practice informed consent, they, too, will risk having their license suspended. The message is that pediatricians must bully parents into vaccinating according to the CDC’s schedule or risk their medical career.

The true threat to public health is coming from those who willfully ignore the scientific evidence and advocate the use of coercion to achieve the policy goal. It is those who cling to this myopic and unscientific approach, grounded in rejection of the need for an individualized risk-benefit analysis and rejection of the right to informed consent, who are the true bullies and pose the true threat to both our children’s health and our precious liberty.

This article is a summary adaptation of the author’s detailed report on the Oregon Medical Board’s suspension of Dr. Paul Thomas. Click here to read the full story.