Tag: choice

Were Hundreds of Medically Vulnerable Children Expelled from School in New York?

Why do some people think that hundreds of medically vulnerable children were expelled from school in New York?

Hundreds of medically vulnerable children were not expelled from school in New York with valid medical exemptions.

The usual suspects…

Were Hundreds of Medically Vulnerable Children Expelled from School in New York?

So what’s the real story?

A new vaccine law in New York eliminated religious exemptions so that students with non-medical exemptions would not be able to continue to go to school if they were missing one or more vaccines.

As the law continues to allow medical exemptions, it should be clear that as others got caught up on their immunizations, this helps make sure that those who are truly vulnerable are now at less risk of being exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease.

“If a child has a medical exemption to immunization, a physician licensed to practice medicine in New York State must certify that the immunization is detrimental to the child’s health. The medical exemption should specify which immunization is detrimental to the child’s health, provide information as to why the immunization is contraindicated based on current accepted medical practice, and specify the length of time the immunization is medically contraindicated, if known.”

Dear Colleague letter regarding guidelines for use of immunization exemptions

And those kids who do not have a valid medical exemption?

It is very important to understand that their parents have a choice to get them vaccinated and protected so that they can continue go to school.

Unfortunately, some parents and even a few doctors remain confused on what it means to have a valid medical exemption.

Especially in states that have strengthened their vaccine laws, a valid medical exemption must meet certain criteria and follow “current accepted medical practice standards as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.”

That doesn’t mean there can’t be exceptions, but it also doesn’t mean that a child would typically get a medical exemption for any reason simply because someone thinks they should, even if that someone is a doctor, unless the exemption is for an immunization that is “contraindicated based on current accepted medical practice.”

Were hundreds of kids in New York denied medical exemptions?

It is certainly possible when you hear parents tell stories about being denied exemptions for things like autism, ADHD, food allergies, epilepsy, clotting disorders, diabetes, psoriasis, autoimmune disorders, PANDAS, Tourette’s, or MTHFR gene mutations.

Were hundreds of kids in New York denied valid medical exemptions?

No, they weren’t.

More on New York Vaccine Laws

Whose Rights Are Taken Away By Vaccine Mandates?

Why do some people continue to bring up anti-vaccine talking points and act like they are asking some profound questions?

What about my choice to send my kids to school and not worry about their being exposed to measles or another vaccine-preventable disease? #JustAsking
What about my choice to send my kids to school and not worry about their being exposed to measles or another vaccine-preventable disease? #JustAsking

I’m just asking…

Whose Rights Are Taken Away By Vaccine Mandates?

Do they not realize that these anti-vaccine talking point have been refuted a thousand times already?

For example, while ‘where there is a risk, there should be a choice” makes a catchy slogan, it is obvious that these folks only care about the rights, risks, and choices of those who don’t want to vaccinate their kids.

Remember that parents nearly always have a choice on whether or not to vaccinate their healthy kids, even if they live in a state without non-medical exceptions.

You don’t have that choice if your child can’t be vaccinated though.

And they very obviously only care about their imagined right to send their intentionally unvaccinated child to school, where they pose a risk to those who can’t be vaccinated and who have immune system problems.

Don’t parents who vaccinate and protect their kids have rights?

What about their right to send their kids to school and not have to worry about being unnecessarily exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease?

That’s especially important if their child can’t be vaccinated or can’t be fully vaccinated, including those with immune system problems or cancer, who may be immunodeficient because of chemotherapy.

More Anti-Vax PRATTS

What about the $4 billion in payouts from VAERS?

That’s actually from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund, during a time when billions and billions of doses of vaccines have been given. And while the the great majority of those vaccines are given safely, since vaccines are not 100% safe, we have the Vaccine Court to help folks get compensated if they do suffer a vaccine injury.

But folks should be concerned that there are 200 new vaccines in the pipeline right?

Nope.

In fact, the “200 vaccines” in the pipeline include:

  • 124 for infectious diseases, including 36 to prevent or treat HIV, 25 to prevent influenza, including new nasal flu vaccines, 8 for RSV, and 8 for ebola
  • 105 for cancers
  • thirteen for allergies
  • eight for neurological disorders
  • seven for other conditions

So the only concerning part is that most won’t make it out of the pipeline and few are actually new vaccines to treat infectious diseases…

Of course it is also very concerning that they continue to push this kind of misinformation that scares parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Why isn’t the media covering that more?

How about covering the fact that anti-vaccine folks continue to push the idea that vaccines are not tested against placebos, against saline placebos, aren’t tested together, and aren’t tested in long-term studies, despite the fact that they are?

Do We Need Vaccine Mandates?

It might surprise some folks, but vaccine mandates aren’t new.

What is relatively new are all of the exemptions that were added to the very effective vaccine mandates that helped eliminate measles in the United States.

Bob Sears warned us these measles outbreaks were coming. Of course, many people blame him for stoking those fears that made parents avoid the MMR...
Bob Sears warned us these measles outbreaks were coming. Of course, many people blame him for stoking those fears that made parents avoid the MMR…

It should be clear that we now need vaccine mandates without non-medical exemptions as too many people have been abusing these vaccine exemptions.

It’s a big part of the reason why we are seeing a rise in measles and outbreaks of other diseases.

How many will be enough?

Do we have to wait until more kids are dying before we get your attention?
Do we have to wait until even more kids are dying before we get everyone’s attention? Do we have to go back to the pre-vaccine era?

Do we need to wait until more kids are dying before we strengthen our vaccine mandates?

Or better yet, how about we put an end to spreading anti-vaccine propaganda and encourage more people to get vaccinated and protected so that we don’t need mandates?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are very obviously necessary.

And for what it’s worth, science isn’t something that gets “debated in an open court of law.”

Debating science in the court room got us The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes or the Scopes Monkey Trial, which made it unlawful to teach evolution in schools.
Debating science in the court room got us The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes or the Scopes Monkey Trial, which made it unlawful to teach evolution in schools.

Neither should laws be made simply because our legislators are influenced by a very vocal minority of people who want to take away the choices and rights of everyone else so that they can send their intentionally unvaccinated kids to school.

More on Parental Rights and Vaccine Mandates

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

Did New York’s New Vaccine Law Kick 26,000 Students Out of School?

A lot of people seem to think that New York’s new vaccine law ended up kicking 26,000 students out of school.

New York's new vaccine law didn't kick 26,000 students out of school.
New York’s new vaccine law didn’t kick 26,000 students out of school.

What else do they think?

That's their choice - keeping their kids out of school because they don't want to vaccinate and protect them.
That’s their choice – keeping their kids out of school because they don’t want to vaccinate and protect them.

No medical exceptions? Have they read the new law?

New York’s New Vaccine Law

Of course, none of what these folks believe is true.

Let’s look at a timeline of what did happen in New York.

On June 13, lawmakers in New York passed A02371A, which “Relates to exemptions from vaccinations due to religious beliefs; and repeals certain provisions relating to exemption from vaccination due to religious beliefs.”

And the bill was quickly signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Public Health Law 2164 and Section 66-1.4 of the regulations require that a child shall not continue to attend school for more than 14 days (30 days may be granted for children from out of the state or out of the country) unless the school has received a certificate of immunization, documentation that the child is “in process,” or a medical (exemption).”

School Survey Instruction Booklet Questions and Answers

What is not in New York’s new vaccine law?

There are no forced injections.

Everyone still has a choice on whether or not to vaccinate their kids. They simply can no longer to choose to send their intentionally unvaccinated kids to school if they don’t have a valid medical exemption anymore.

What about adults? There are no plans for mandates for most adults, besides maybe the requirements for flu vaccines for some health care providers.

Yeah, but the part about 26,000 kids being kicked out of school must be true, right?

Actually no, it isn’t.

That number is simply the count of kids with religious exemptions in 2017-18, over a year before New York’s new vaccine law went into effect.

But they would all have been kicked out of school if they didn’t get vaccinated, wouldn’t they?

Sure.

“While some parents who had religious exemptions plan to unenroll their kids, more are expected to bring their kids into compliance with the vaccine schedule. Karen LaCelle, a community health nurse with the Tompkins County Health Department, said their vaccine clinic has been busier than usual this summer as kids get caught up with requirements.”

More than 200 kids in Tompkins impacted by New York’s vaccine requirement change

But many did get vaccinated.

“In Saratoga Springs, the district excluded 66 students as of Sept. 20 but that number was down to about 10 students by Oct. 10, according to a district spokeswoman.”

Holding fast to vaccine objections, families grapple with unplanned homeschooling

And stories of kids leaving to be homeschool are few and far between.

“In Schenectady, over 300 students showed up at the start of the school year without all of their vaccines, and more students have joined the district since the start of school without all of the vaccines. But most, if not all, of those students have since fulfilled the vaccine requirements, said district spokeswoman Karen Corona.”

Holding fast to vaccine objections, families grapple with unplanned homeschooling

Anyway, it wasn’t Governor Cuomo or any other politician that would have been keeping these kids out of school.

The police aren't keeping this child out of school, her parents and their vaccine choice are.
The police aren’t keeping this child out of school, her parents and their vaccine choice are.

Parents have the choice to get them vaccinated and protected if they want to keep them in school.

Did New York’s New Vaccine Law Kick 26,000 Students Out of School?

Still, no where near 26,000 kids have been kept from going to school this year in New York because of their new vaccine law.

So how many were affected?

Although no official numbers have been released, it will almost certainly be closer to 260 or 2,600 than 26,000.

It seems that most parents in New York ended up vaccinating and protecting their kids and keeping them in school.

More on New York’s New Vaccine Law