Tag: choice

Did Police Block an Unvaccinated Girl from Getting Into School?

Anti-vax folks have been talking a lot about segregation, discrimination and civil rights lately. What’s the latest? Comparing new vaccine laws that eliminate non-medical exemptions to folks who tried to stop desegregation in the 1960s.

Parents have a choice about whether or not to vaccinate their kids and send them to school…

Look familiar? As anti-vaccine propaganda? Yes, it does.

Did Police Keep an Unvaccinated Girl from Getting Into School?

Of course, the new pic is a little girl holding a sign saying “I want to go to school.”

Were the two photos taken at the same time, by anti-vaccine protestors inside and outside the building, or did they have her pose again?
Were the two photos taken at the same time, by anti-vaccine protestors inside and outside the building, or did they have her pose again?

Are the police blocking her, keeping her out of school as the photo suggests?

Healthy kids belong in school, unless you pull them out to go to your anti-vaccine protest...
“Healthy kids belong in school,” unless you pull them out to go to your anti-vaccine protest…

Is this about segregation?

Of course not!

The photo of the girl with the police was taken at an anti-vaccine protest at the state Education Department’s headquarters in Albany, New York on Monday, September 9.

“State troopers and Albany police were called in, and the department’s stately front entrances were chained shut temporarily, in a rare safety precaution.

Meanwhile, a monthly meeting of the state’s Board of Regents, originally scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., was delayed about 40 minutes, while officials moved to restore order. “

Angry parents, others opposed to vaccinations crowd Regents meeting

Even though the Board of Regents have no power to reverse a new law in New York that eliminates religious exemptions, “they held a rally and stormed a Board of Regents meeting to demand they have the right to not vaccinate.”

And that’s where the photo of the little girl holding her sign was taken.

Not outside a school, but outside the state Education Department’s headquarters, where police and state troopers were called to restore order during the protest.

This isn’t about civil rights, segregation, or discrimination.

It’s about parents who want to continue not vaccinating their kids, while also being allowed to send those intentionally unvaccinated kids to school.

What’s the problem with that? Those intentionally unvaccinated kids are at higher risk to catch vaccine preventable diseases, which put others at risk, especially those with medical exemptions.

More on Vaccine Segregation and Discrimination

Misinformation About Measles Outbreaks in Texas

Like everywhere else, measles has been on the rise in Texas. And like everywhere else, we have also seen a rise in misinformation about measles and measles outbreaks in Texas.

Why do these folks push misinformation about measles?
Why do these folks push misinformation about measles? #JustAsking

Only three were unvaccinated? Is that true?

Misinformation About Measles Outbreaks in Texas

Actually, when you look at the official statistics, you find that there were only three cases that were known to be fully vaccinated!

Only three of the cases were known to be fully vaccinated and protected against measles!
Only three of the cases were known to be fully vaccinated!

While it is true that only three were known to be fully unvaccinated, there are another five people with unknown status who might also be fully unvaccinated.

And then there are those who are partially vaccinated, with just one dose of MMR. As most folks know, two doses of MMR provide the best protection against measles. Six more of the cases are known to have had just one dose of MMR and another four had an unknown number of doses, so could have been partially vaccinated.

And again, there are the five with unknown status. While it is possible that they were fully vaccinated, or had one dose, it is also very likely that they were unvaccinated.

What can we say for sure?

The claim that “Only THREE out of the twenty-one cases were unvaccinated individuals” in the Texas measles outbreaks isn’t true.

You could just as easily say that “Only THREE out of the twenty-one cases were known to be fully vaccinated individuals.” And at least that statement would be truthful, as it includes the caveat that you are only talking about those with known immunization status…

Were any of the cases in children attending school with an exemption?

At least nine of the cases were in children, but there haven’t been any media reports of outbreaks or exposures in schools, so I am guessing not.

That’s lucky!

Some schools in Texas have very high rates of vaccine exemptions and a case of measles could lead to a big outbreak.

More on the Measles Outbreaks in Texas

Who is Rita Palma?

Rita Palma?

WUSB needs to learn a thing or two about false balance...
WUSB needs to learn a thing or two about false balance

Who?

Who is Rita Palma?

Rita Palma is a parent in New York who had her request for a religious vaccine exemption turned down by Bayport-Bluepoint School District in New York in 2008.

“About two years ago I hit a wall with it,” she said. “I said I was going to listen to my inner voice. The whole vaccination process is based on fear of getting diseases but I would rather put my faith in God to heal diseases.”

Rita Palma on More Families Are Shunning Inoculations

Since then, she has been selling a step-by-step guide and instructions that teach parents how to “craft a unique and honest letter that is religiously based so it fits perfectly with the law.”

A unique and honest letter to do what?

Get a religious vaccine exemption because they “hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary” to getting vaccinated and protected.

“After reading the book, if you need to retain my services for letter-writing purposes, please contact me for fees.”

She also has vaccine exemption workshops, in which she can apparently teach you what your genuine and sincere religious beliefs are and why you need an exemption based on those genuine and sincere religious beliefs, even though extremely few religions are actually against vaccines.

But didn’t they just pass a law in New York ending religious exemptions for vaccines?

I imagine that’s going to cut into her business of teaching folks to abuse religious exemptions

As the media gives these folks attention, they should make sure they give the full story.

More on Rita Palma

Who Is Arthur Caplan?

Plenty of folks claim to be experts on vaccines.

Some are experts because they study epidemiology, others because they study immunology or infectious disease.

And then there are the experts in vaccination ethics.

Who Is Arthur Caplan?

With a Ph.D. in the history of philosophy of science, Dr. Art Caplan went on to co-found The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute.

Arthur Caplan does a good job of calling out folks who push anti-vaccine misinformation.
Arthur Caplan does a good job of calling out folks who push anti-vaccine misinformation.

He has since written dozens of books and nearly a thousand articles in peer-reviewed journals, working most recently at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, where he is the founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics.

“When politicians ignore the evidence, fail to cite appropriate medical authorities, and rely on hearsay and rumor, with the result that people — out of ignorance or error — don’t vaccinate their children, we can and should deny them elective office. When a doctor does so, we should demand that he forfeit his right to use his medical degree to misinform, confuse or lie.”

Arthur L. Caplan on Revoke the license of any doctor who opposes vaccination

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Art Caplan has a lot to say about vaccines.

“Faulty ethical thinking is to blame. We are elevating parents’ rights to make misinformed decisions over the rights of children to get important vaccines. Infants and young children are blocked from receiving their routine childhood immunizations by parents who espouse an aberrant ideology of choice or are being duped by anti-vaccine groups. In so doing, they are violating children’s rights to health, welfare and equal opportunity.”

Arthur L. Caplan and Peter J. Hotez on Anti-vaccine misinformation denies children’s rights

He also has a lot to say about measles, other vaccine-preventable diseases, and how to get control back before these outbreaks turn into true epidemics.

“What should we be doing to protect our communities, our children, and ourselves? We should halt the spread of anti-vaccine misinformation and take steps to stop nonmedical vaccine exemptions. We need to restore vaccines and vaccinations as the “new normal” in America.”

Arthur L Caplan on Let’s Treat Measles Seriously

Are you still thinking about skipping or delaying your child’s vaccines?

After reading some of Dr. Caplan’s work, you should know that it’s not safe, has no benefits, and isn’t the ethical thing to do.

More on Arthur Caplan and Vaccine Ethics