Does SB 276 Eliminate Medical Exemptions?

Why do some folks think that SB 276, a new vaccine bill in California, will eliminate medical exemptions to getting vaccinated?

SB 276 will not eliminate medical exemptions.
SB 276 will not eliminate medical exemptions.

Oh, more misinformation from the usual suspects…

Does SB 276 Eliminate Medical Exemptions?

To be clear, SB 276 does not eliminate medical exemptions.

So what does California’s new vaccine bill do?

“This bill pressures doctors into giving more vaccines to a child you may know might have a severe reaction, and that’s a tragedy.”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Despite Bob Sears‘ testimony when he appeared as an expert witness for anti-vaccine folks and gave testimony against SB 276, it basically helps to stop some doctors from writing fake medical exemptions.

“I would imagine a lot of you would not want to give your child more doses of the vaccine if they had a seizure, or a nerve injury, or severe eczema, or any other kinds of dozens of other severe reactions. So that’s all under SB 277 and that’s how I’m practicing now.

My concern with this bill, is that it’s going to take every exemption I’ve ever done under those guidelines, which are not restricted to CDC contraindications – under those old guidelines, they can now review every single one of my exemptions I’ve done and disqualify each and every one of them and kick those kids out of school. They are sort of retroactively changing the guidelines – so all of the exemptions that I’ve ever done, and other physicians have ever done, and to me that’s a very very concerning precedence for a government to go back like that and negate years of medical care that’s been done legally and properly under the guidelines of 277. “

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Legally and properly?

Another complaint has been filed against Bob Sears with the California Medical Board for writing inappropriate medical exemptions.

I would imagine that a lot of parents are scared into thinking that seizures, nerve injuries, and severe eczema are vaccine reactions.

And that’s why some of them might not want to keep vaccinating their kids in these situations.

So that kids aren’t put at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease though, it’s incredibly important to understand that these aren’t typically vaccine reactions, except maybe if a child has febrile seizures. But even then, having febrile seizures wouldn’t usually be a reason to stop getting vaccinated.

“It’s incredibly important to understand what those CDC guidelines are and that the Senator did answer that the only CDC family history guideline is if a mom or dad, a first degree relative, has a severe immune deficiency, and that the children might have that. And that only exempts you from MMR and chickenpox vaccine.

That’s the only family history factor in all the guidelines that are in this bill.”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Since severe immunodeficiences, like SCID, can be inherited, it is important to know about a family history of a severe immune system problem before a child gets a live virus vaccine, like MMR or the chicken pox vaccine.

Fortunately, we typically do know about these conditions by the time a child is ready to get these vaccines. And no, it’s not just by asking about the child’s family history. These types of immune system problems cause severe symptoms that have usually showed up well before a child gets these vaccines.

“There’s a small family history factor about seizures. If someone’s had seizures, you can’t get this one brand of vaccines, but you can get other brands that qualify, so that doesn’t work.”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

What is he talking about?

“A personal or family history of seizures is a precaution for MMRV vaccination; this is because a recent study found an increased risk for febrile seizures in children 12-23 months who receive MMRV compared with MMR and varicella vaccine.”

Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP

The warning is about febrile seizures and ProQuad, the combined MMR and chickenpox vaccine. You can safely get the vaccines though, as the separate MMR and chickenpox vaccines.

This works well!

And parents should know that if their child is having seizures, they will easily qualify for a temporary medical exemption.

“Vaccination should be deferred for persons with a moderate or severe acute illness. This precaution avoids causing diagnostic confusion between manifestations of the underlying illness and possible adverse effects of vaccination or superimposing adverse effects of the vaccine on the underlying illness.”

Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP

In addition to not giving the DTaP vaccine to a child with a progressive neurological disorder or uncontrolled epilepsy, the general guidelines about deferring vaccination for children with moderate or severe acute illness would likely mean that they wouldn’t get other vaccines either.

“So there’s only one family history factor. So you guys have to realize for example, I’ll see a family, the mom had a seizure after vaccines, her first child had a seizure after vaccines — and she has a new baby and she doesn’t want to give that baby vaccines. And as her doctor, I would agree. That’s a good family history reason not to vaccinate that child — or maybe do we delay them, or do we wait until years later, I don’t know. Maybe it’s temporary exemption because they’re a baby.

There is no single CDC guideline that would allow me to write that exemption under this new law. There is no family history involved whatsoever that that would justify me writing and exemption for that family because that is not in the CDC or the AAP or the ACIP guidelines.

And I appreciate that that the assembly members have asked a lot about family history. You have to realize how narrow that is. This new amendment did not broaden that in any way except for the select few as in the ladies example. Right, so there’s so many – but I mean I could list so many severe reactions I’ve seen moms or dads have or their first kids have after vaccines that I will use as legitimate family history to write an exemption for new baby in that family that will all go away under this new bill – those will all be disqualified. I think that’s important for you guys to understand that…”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Why does he think “that’s a good family history reason not to vaccinate that child” and leave them at risk to get a vaccine preventable disease?

What are all of these severe reactions he has seen?

Is 6th nerve palsy a vaccine injury?
Is 6th nerve palsy a vaccine injury?

Does he see a lot of serious reactions after vaccines because he thinks everything is a vaccine injury?

There is a reason that having a family history of a vaccine reaction shouldn’t be a reason to skip or delay your child’s vaccines. It certainly shouldn’t be a reason for a doctor to write a medical exemption.

And that’s simply because the risk of having a severe vaccine reaction, even if a family member has had a severe vaccine reaction, is very low.

While Dr. Bob might think a family members having seizures after they were vaccinated is a legitimate reason to put a baby at risk to get one or more vaccine-preventable diseases, it isn’t.

Not only is a family history of an adverse event to a vaccine not a contraindication to getting vaccinated, it is commonly listed a false contraindication!

These are the type of medical exemptions, only those based on invalid criteria, that would be eliminated under SB 276.

“Of the cases that the Board has investigated to date, there have been no fraudulent medical exemptions found. The idea of rampant fraud is a scare tactic to advance SB 276, and a fantasy.”

Mary Holland on SB 276 Will Violate the Doctor-Patient Relationship by Eliminating Medical Exemptions

Interestingly, Bob Sears, who is already on probation, is still under investigation by the California Medical Board for writing fraudulent medical exemptions. So are many other doctors. Why hasn’t any fraud been found? The California Medical Board has had a hard time getting medical records to prove their cases! SB 276 will change that.

More on SB 276 and Medical Exemptions

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