Tag: abuse of medical exemptions

The Vaccine Extremists in the Modern Anti-Vaccine Movement

In 1721, someone through a bomb through the window of the Reverend Cotton Mather’s house in Boston because he was actively promoted smallpox inoculation during a local epidemic.

The vaccine extremists in the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Do we have to be concerned about what the modern anti-vaccine movement might do to folks who advocate for vaccines?

The Vaccine Extremists in the Modern Anti-Vaccine Movement

Before you dismiss the idea, let’s take a look at what they have been doing recently…

Calling for second amendment remedies? Is that a thing in the modern anti-vaccine movement?

“Then I can imagine those same conversations were happening in Nazi Germany amongst the Jewish people. Let’s not talk about it. I don’t want to bring it into my reality. It’s still 20 miles away. I’m still allowed in this theater and not that one. All I have to get is this little star. All I have to do is sign this little thing saying I accept that… that I’m not going to vaccinate because I think that they’re dangerous. And they are dangerous. I’m just going to sign this paper. I’m going to let them put me on a log.

At some point, we have gone too far.

Do you think that it’s a good idea to let the government own your baby’s body. And right behind it, your body. That is the end. To me.

Anyone who believes in the right to bear arms. To stand up against your government. I don’t know what you were saving that gun for then. I don’t know when you planned on using it if they were going to take control of your own body away.

It’s now. Now’s the time.”

Del Bigtree

To many of us, it seems very obvious that anti-vax folks have gone too far.

They don’t seem to get the message though.

Vaccine extremists blocking the entrances to the State Capital in California.
Protestors blocking the entrances to the State Capital in California.

Protesting for a good cause is noble.

But what is it called when you are protesting while holding signs pushing propaganda and misinformation?

The "red liquid substance" was later confirmed to be human blood.
The “red liquid substance” was later confirmed to be human blood.

Remember when a protestor in California threw blood from a menstrual cup at legislators on the Senate floor?

Pretty extreme, right?

Austin Bennett assaulted Richard Pan during a Facebook video he conveniently filmed.
Austin Bennett assaulted Richard Pan during a Facebook video he conveniently filmed.

Or when Austin Bennett assaulted Senator Richard Pan as he walked to lunch?

Of course, the usual response from most anti-vax folks is that these are outliers who don’t represent them. Or they are part of the controlled opposition

Vaccine extremists called a boycott of a local store because their senator was going to speak at their grand opening.
Vaccine extremists called a boycott of a local store because Richard Pan was going to speak at their grand opening.

Not surprisingly, it seems that the denials come from the same folks who set out to ambush, stalk, and attack vaccine advocates.

Senator Richard Pan was harassed at the March For Science in Washington D.C. on Earth Day  in 2017.
Senator Richard Pan was harassed at the March For Science in Washington D.C. on Earth Day in 2017.

Advocates who have done nothing except make sure kids get vaccinated and help protect us from the misinformation that is so often pushed on the Internet and on the signs they hold during their protests.

A finger gun pointed at a shirt covered with "blood everywhere."

Yes, Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician in California has been a big target in recent years.

Of course, vaccines are tested in placebo controlled trials, some of which even included a saline placebo. Which makes the Stormtrooper an appropriate costume. Remember, they have such bad aim, they never hit their target…

He is not the only one though.

Paul Offit has been a very frequent target of anti-vax critics.
Paul Offit has been a very frequent target of anti-vax critics.

Paul Offit has been a common target.

Protesters banged on the glass during as ZDogg filmed an interview with Paul Offit.
Protesters banged on the glass during as ZDogg filmed an interview with Paul Offit.

Other pediatricians have also been attacked, with protestors showing up at their offices and harassing their patients.

Pediatricians in New York have been targeted too.
“They went up to 3-4 of the morning patients as they walked in, asked them if they vaccinate and when my patients replied yes, one said “Good luck with that!” They gave anti vaccine literature to all the patients and placed flyers on every car in the parking lot.”

But it is not just pediatricians and legislators who are getting harassed.

Who could ever describe Kristen Bell as hateful???
Who could ever describe Kristen Bell as hateful???

Celebrities who advocate for vaccines are also getting harassed and targeted.

Kristen Bell was targeted at Comic Con too.
Kristen Bell was targeted at Comic Con too.

As bad as this kind of harassment has been though, their messaging might be worse.

Fighting to skip or delay your kid's vaccines and keep them in school is not the new civil rights movement.
Fighting to skip or delay your kid’s vaccines and keep them in school is not the new civil rights movement.

Comparing not wanting to vaccinate and protect your kids to the civil rights movement?

That’s pretty extreme, isn’t it?

That they would invoke the Holocaust when talking about vaccines and autism, and compare doctors and lawmakers to Nazis, tells you a lot about the modern anti-vaccine movement.

And you know you are in extreme territory if you are getting called out by the Auschwitz Museum

What else have they been up to?

Defacing public property.

University of Michigan students quickly covered up all of the anti-vax propaganda on this rock.
University of Michigan students quickly covered up all of the anti-vax propaganda.

But do you want to know what maybe the very worst thing that they are doing these days?

How about harassing parents whose children have recently died, trying to make them think that vaccinations were the cause?

Killy did not die from a vaccine injury. He had meningitis.
Killy did not die from a vaccine injury. He had meningitis.

Yes, this is the modern anti-vaccine movement.

It should be clear that the anti-vaccine movement has “shifted its tactics” as they continue to try and scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

“Upon close inspection, the anti-vaccination movement is not about vaccines. It’s an anti-government conspiracy theory. In order to believe the anti-vaccination line, you have to believe the government is working proactively to harm your children (by protecting them from deadly and debilitating diseases). It’s paranoid thinking, and a very small but vocal minority of Americans fervently embrace the irrational fear of immunization.”

The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board on Activism or Terrorism? Anti-vaccine movement must use facts, not violence, to argue

From getting doctors to write unnecessary medical exemptions, misusing religious exemptions, harassing vaccine advocates, targeting minority communities, using racist attacks, and pushing misinformation and conspiracy theories, many in the anti-vaccine movement have clearly moved into extremist territory.

Still, it is very important to remember that these folks are indeed a very small minority, even if they are very vocal and sometimes hard to ignore, especially as they trigger some of the largest outbreaks in recent history and expose high risk kids and adults to life-threatening vaccine-preventable diseases.

And that’s because the great majority of people understand that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and very necessary.

Make the right choice. Vaccinate and protect your family.

More on the Vaccine Extremists in the Modern Anti-Vaccine Movement

About That Amish Vaccine Exemption Lawsuit in New York

An Amish family has filed a lawsuit against a new vaccine law in New York that eliminated religious vaccine exemptions.

An Amish family has filed a lawsuit against a new vaccine law in New York that eliminated religious vaccine exemptions.

Folks who know that Amish do indeed vaccinate their kids are likely surprised by the lawsuit…

About That Amish Vaccine Exemption Lawsuit in New York

Wait, what?

The Amish vaccinate their kids?

While many Amish don’t vaccinate according to the recommended CDC schedule and get all vaccines, many do get at least some of them.

For example, when a large measles outbreak went through Amish communities in Ohio, many got in line to get vaccinated and stop the outbreak, which ended up getting at least 383 people sick.

That wasn’t the only outbreak among the Amish though.

Remember the last cases of wild polio in the United States?

“The 1979 outbreak occurred in unvaccinated Amish persons living in Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Overall, 15 cases of illness caused by wild poliovirus type 1 occurred among U.S. citizens: all 10 paralytic cases occurred among unvaccinated Amish persons; three cases of transient paralysis occurred among unvaccinated Amish persons; and two nonparalytic cases occurred among unvaccinated members of the Mennonite church who were in frequent contact with Amish persons. Epidemiologic and virologic evidence indicated this outbreak resulted from importation of poliovirus from the Netherlands through Canada (Ontario), where outbreaks had occurred during 1978 in members of religious groups with objections to vaccination.”

Poliomyelitis — United States, Canada

It was in 1979.

It was among the Amish.

And many Amish got vaccinated to help eliminate the endemic spread of polio in the United States.

“Immunization campaigns for the Amish are continuing; at least half of the nation’s Amish have now received 1 or more doses of oral poliovirus vaccine.”

Poliomyelitis — United States, Canada

So the Amish are clearly not against vaccines.

In 2004, there was an outbreak of pertussis (345 cases) in an Amish community in Kent County, Delaware.

“Of the 96 households interviewed in which a pertussis case was discovered, a total of 43 (45%) reported not vaccinating any children in their household, 40 (42%) households reported vaccinating at least some children, and 13 (14%) did not provide this information. Of the 43 households not vaccinating children, 19 cited “fear of side effects” as the reason, 13 reported that they “didn’t think about it,” and 11 did not provide specific reasons for nonvaccination. Of the 40 respondents who reported that their children had received vaccinations, 29 (64%) reported vaccination at vaccine clinics set up at Amish homes by DPH nurses.”

Pertussis Outbreak in an Amish Community — Kent County, Delaware, September 2004–February 2005

Although many of the kids weren’t vaccinated, religion didn’t seem to be what drove that decision.

“Religious factors and access to care were not among reasons most reported. “

Kettunen et al on Evaluation of low immunization coverage among the Amish population in rural Ohio.

It is usually fear, rather than religion that keeps the Amish from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

“The findings from the data analysis demonstrated that fear, especially concern over too many recommended immunizations and immunizations overwhelming the child’s system, was the most frequent reported reasons for not having children immunized according to recommendations.”

Kettunen et al on Evaluation of low immunization coverage among the Amish population in rural Ohio.

Unfortunately, this has meant that their children get a high rate of vaccine preventable diseases and that they end up getting hospitalized at higher rates than other children.

“The outcome of pregnancy was determined for the 94 Amish mothers who reported illness or had serologic evidence of maternal rubella (Table 1). CRS occurred in 10 infants, all of whom were born to mothers who had histories of rubella-like illness in the first trimester; seven had possible manifestations of CRS; nine were miscarried/stillborn; and 68 infants appeared normal at birth. During the study period, medical personnel identified one additional infant with CRS from Lancaster County whose mother was a conservative Mennonite. “

Congenital Rubella Syndrome Among the Amish — Pennsylvania, 1991-1992

So not only do the Amish get sick, they get sick for the same reason as typical anti-vaxxers – misinformation and fear of vaccines.

Is that what’s driving this lawsuit in New York?

I don’t know, but if it was just about religion, why does it include typical anti-vaccine talking points about:

  • fetal DNA contaminating our vaccines
  • that unvaccinated children were not responsible for the 2018-19 NYS measles outbreak, going so far as to cite an affidavit from Lawrence Palevsky, who said that “a measles infection in first world countries such as the United States, in 2019, is not deadly.”
  • how the 2018-19 NYS measles outbreak might not have been “true wild-type measles infections.”
  • that the theory of herd immunity is flawed
  • that vaccinated children pose more of a risk to other vaccinated children than the unvaccinated

More than anything though, how can the lawsuit say that New York’s vaccine law unreasonably burdens his “sincere religious beliefs without a compelling state interest,” when we know that the Amish aren’t really against vaccinating and protecting their kids?

You have to wonder what method his lawyer’s used to pick their “examples” of schools with religious exemptions.

About that compelling state interest…

As many parents have come to abuse religious exemptions, using them as personal belief exemptions, we have ended up in a situation in which over 30 schools in New York had religious exemptions rates of at least 50%, including 14 schools in which each and every student had a religious exemption for all vaccines.

All that even though no major religion is against vaccines!

With such a weak case, forum shopping might be his only strategy that could work…
With such a weak case, forum shopping might be his only strategy that could work…

What happens next?

More court stuff, but in the end, it hopefully means that more kids will be vaccinated and protected and we will #StopTheOutbreaks.

More on the Amish and Vaccines

Why Are States Eliminating Religious Exemptions for Immunizations?

While all states continue to have medical exemptions to getting vaccinated, more and more are eliminating their religious exemptions.

New York is one of the states that is eliminating their religious exemptions for vaccines.
New York is one of the states that is eliminating their religious exemptions for vaccines.

Do you find that surprising?

Why Are States Eliminating Religious Exemptions for Immunizations?

If you do, it might change your mind once you realize that no major religion is actually against immunizations.

“One is morally free to use the vaccine regardless of its historical association with abortion. The reason is that the risk to public health, if one chooses not to vaccinate, outweighs the legitimate concern about the origins of the vaccine. This is especially important for parents, who have a moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

The National Catholic Bioethics Center FAQ on the Use of Vaccines

In fact, nearly all religions actively support getting kids vaccinated and protected. That makes sense, as vaccines are safe, with few risks, and unvaccinated kids are at increased risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease and put other kids at risk too.

So why do folks get religious exemptions?

Connecticut is another state that is considering eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines.
Connecticut is another state that is considering eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines.

More and more, we are seeing parents abuse religious exemptions, using them as a personal belief exemption because they just don’t want to vaccinate their kids.

More on Religious Exemptions for Immunizations

Has Bobby Kennedy Taken Over the Anti-Vaccine Movement?

What happened after SB276, the new vaccine law, was signed in California?

Did Bobby Kennedy's "mic dropping speech" mark the birth of a new civil rights movement for the health freedom or anti-vaccine movement?
Did RFK Jr’s “Mic Dropping Speech” Mark the Birth of a New Civil Rights Movement for the Health Freedom or Anti-Vaccine Movement?

They flew Bobby Kennedy back to Sacramento for a rally.

Has Bobby Kennedy Taken Over the Anti-Vaccine Movement?

What did he have to say?

“It’s a sad day for California. And it’s a sad day for our country. And I have asked a question and I would like to ask this legislature who voted for this God awful bill. If we can give government and big industries the right to inject untested medical products that are zero liability into our children coercively, where does the power of government end? What else can they order us to do? Can they do the same thing that they do in China? Which is to tell people that they have to abort their babies for “the good of society?” Can they euthanize people for “the good of society?” Where is the legal boundary?

Bobby Kennedy

It is a sad day when a Kennedy is spouting this kind of stuff…

Vaccines are well tested and everyone has a choice on whether or not to get vaccinated. Mandates to attend school do not force parents to vaccinate their kid.

Comparing these mandates that protect those who can’t be vaccinated to forced abortion and euthanasia is unconscionable.

“We have signed treaty after treaty after treaty saying you can not force an American citizen or any citizen of the civilized world to take a medication or to submit themselves to a medical procedure without informed consent. What has happened to the Democratic party? What has happened to the party that used to stand for listening to women? Why are they listening to pharmaceutical companies and not to the women?

Bobby Kennedy

What has happened to the Kennedys?

Again, vaccine mandates do not force anyone to get vaccinated and protected.

And pushing anti-vaccine talking points on folks is not giving them informed consent. This type of misinformation simply scares them away from vaccinating their kids. It is misinformed consent!

“And yet, you have all of the members who voted for this and none of them can answer the question – where is all of the autoimmune diseases coming from? If it’s not the vaccines, then where is it coming from? We have, from my generation, according to HHS, 12% of the people in my generation, prior to 1986, had chronic diseases. Today, 54% did. Let’s pretend all of those hundreds and hundreds of studies aren’t there that say it’s the vaccines.”

Bobby Kennedy

Let’s pretend that his statistic that 54% of American children have a chronic illness

Actually, let’s not, because it isn’t true. Although often cited by anti-vaccine folks, the number comes from a 2011 report, A national and state profile of leading health problems and health care quality for US children: key insurance disparities and across-state variations, but doesn’t mean what most people think it means.

“An estimated 43% of US children (32 million) currently have at least 1 of 20 chronic health conditions assessed, increasing to 54.1% when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included; 19.2% (14.2 million) have conditions resulting in a special health care need, a 1.6 point increase since 2003.”

Bethell et al on A national and state profile of leading health problems and health care quality for US children: key insurance disparities and across-state variations.

Is obesity a vaccine injury?

Where are the “hundreds and hundreds of studies… that say it’s the vaccines?”

“Let’s pretend that all the vaccines, everyone of those diseases, the autoimmune diseases – Guillain-Barré syndrome , cerebral palsy, diabetes, Rheumatoid arthritis. The neurodevelopmental diseases, ADD, ADHD, speech delay, language delay, tics, Tourette syndrome, ASD, autism. The allergic diseases – allergies, food allergies, eczema, asthma, anaphylaxis. Where can we find those listed? In two places. One in the list of chronic diseases that are now epidemic among American children and on the vaccine inserts. And why would the company put them on the vaccine insert? They put them there because the only way you can sue them under NCVIA is if they know or suspect of an injury being caused by a product and they failed to put it on the insert. So it’s the one place where their honest. For many years they told us, well, just because we put it on the insert, it doesn’t mean that it is actually a vaccine adverse event or caused by the vaccine. But the code of Federal regulations says you can not put it on an insert unless you believe that it’s caused by the vaccine. So they are lying.”

Bobby Kennedy

Well, someone is lying…

Although listed in the vaccine insert, if they are in the Adverse Reactions section, they may not actually be caused by the vaccine.
Although listed in the vaccine insert, if they are in the Adverse Reactions section, they may not actually be caused by the vaccine.

What goes into a vaccine insert is dictated by the FDA, specifically the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, and Section 314 of the NCVIA, after consultation with the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines, including:

  • Contraindications – all situations when the vaccine should not be given
  • Warning and Precautions – all adverse reactions and safety hazards that may occur after getting the vaccine and what you should do if they occur
  • Adverse Reactions – this section includes clinical trials experience, post-marketing experience, and voluntary reports, and it is very important to understand that it is not always possible to establish a causal relationship to vaccination for these adverse effects. So just because something is listed here, whether it is SIDS, autism, drowning, or a car accident, doesn’t mean that it was actually caused by the vaccine. Updated in 2006 to require that only adverse events “for which there is some basis to believe there is a causal relationship between the drug and the occurrence of the adverse event,” it still doesn’t mean the adverse event was definitely caused by the vaccine.

As a lawyer, you would expect, or at least hope, that Bobby Kennedy understands how vaccine inserts really work…

“This state is doing something horrendous. It is stepping between a doctor and the 4000 children in this state whose doctors have told them you can not afford to get a vaccine because it could kill you or it could cripple you. Their doctor, who has known that child often-times since birth, who has reviewed the medical records, who has done all of the tests on that baby, who knows the family, has said it is dangerous to receive this product. Don’t ever do it. And yet, the State of California, is going to come in, a bureaucrat, between that doctor and that child, and say that we are going to give it to him anyway. This is criminal.”

Bobby Kennedy

This is probably one of the biggest myths about California’s new vaccine law.

For one thing, SB276 doesn’t revoke legitimate medical exemptions.

Did Ron Kennedy know these kids since birth and think that vaccines would kill or cripple them because they had a learning disability or food allergies?
Did Ron Kennedy know these kids since birth and think that vaccines would kill or cripple them because they had a learning disability or food allergies?

And the problem hasn’t typically been the legitimate medical exemptions from doctors who have known kids since birth, but rather inappropriate exemptions from doctors who advertised medical exemption consultations and appointments for new patients.

“Big pharmaceutical companies are the most evil companies on earth. Who are commoditizing our children. Who are giving our children this tsunami of chronic disease and then making the money to try and tell us that we are going to get rid of infectious disease, like chickenpox and measles, but we are going to trade that for rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes and autism and ADD and ADHD. And all of those infectious diseases are treatable and curable, usually within a week, and none of the chronic diseases that they are causing are treatable or curable. And they are making $50 billion dollars selling our kids these mandated vaccines that are untested and liability free, but they are making $500 billion a year selling them the epi-pens, the seizure medications, the Prozac, the albuterol inhalers, the rhumatoid arthritis medication, the diabetes medications that our children are now addicted to for life because of these vaccines. ”

Bobby Kennedy

As usual, it all comes back to Big Pharma conspiracy theories and the idea that everything is a vaccine injury.

Bobby Kennedy thinks the pharmaceutical industry is in "a war against our children."
Bobby Kennedy thinks the pharmaceutical industry is in “a war against our children.” Do you?

So what’s their next plan?

Lawsuits.

Lawsuits so that they can help keep kids unvaccinated and unprotected.

“We are an insurgency. They can not stop us now. We are not going to go away.”

Bobby Kennedy

Of course the anti-vaccine movement is not going away. It has been around since before we had the first real vaccine, when folks were getting variolated to protect them against smallpox.

“You know this is the most important battle, probably in human history.”

Bobby Kennedy

Fighting to keep your intentionally unvaccinated kids in school, where they could put others at risk to get sick, including kids with immune system problems or those being treated for cancer, is the most important battle in human history?

He wasn’t done yet though…

“What we have to understand is that the domination of business by government is called communism. The domination of government by business is called facism. And what we’re fighting for is the essential tenets of American democracy, which is free market capitalism, which we don’t have. They destroyed the markets didn’t they. There’s no market for vaccines because they couldn’t sell them, so they had to disable the markets and force us to take them against our will. And for democracy and they’ve taken democracy from us. And they’ve taken the institution of Justice directly. They have gotten rid of the 6th and 7th amendment guarantees. The Federal Constitution guarantees of a jury trials. We are the only people in our country who you can injure – a private corporation can injure and disable and you can’t get a jury trial.”

Bobby Kennedy

Except that you can’t usually get a jury trial if you think you have a vaccine injury. The only thing is that you have to go through the Vaccine Court first.

Be skeptical if you truly want to learn to protect your kids. Although speeches from folks like Bobby Kennedy might make you feel better about your decision to skip or delay your child’s vaccines, understand that it is not really an informed decision.

More on Bobby Kennedy