Tag: clusters

Which Part of the Herd Gets Protected by Community Immunity?

You are a part of the herd.

“I don’t care that you call people a herd. And I don’t care that some people consider themselves to be part of a herd. I am not in a herd. I am not a farm animal.”

Del Bigtree

Of course, we are talking about herd immunity.

Which Part of the Herd Gets Protected by Community Immunity?

What if you aren’t vaccinated and protected?

Del Bigtree is a "free thinking human being," who whether he appreciates it or not, benefits from herd immunity protections.
Del Bigtree is a “free thinking human being,” who whether he appreciates it or not, benefits from herd immunity protections.

Then you are protected by those who are!

“A situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely. Even individuals not vaccinated (such as newborns and those with chronic illnesses) are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.”

CDC Vaccine Glossary of Terms

That’s what herd immunity is all about.

In a community, “the herd” includes those with immunity and those trying/needing to “hide in the herd:”

  • those with natural immunity
  • folks who are vaccinated and protected
  • some people who are too young to be vaccinated or fully vaccinated
  • the people who’s vaccines didn’t work
  • anyone who can’t be vaccinated, because they have a medical contraindication

And it also includes those who are intentionally unvaccinated. The free-riders. Those who could be vaccinated, but simply choose not to, often because they have been scared by things they have heard or read about vaccines.

Baby deer need protection from the adults in the herd, but that doesn't mean that they aren't a part of the herd too.
Baby deer need protection from the adults in the herd, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a part of the herd too.

This all makes even more sense when you think about it as community immunity, the term that is more commonly used today.

Don’t want to think that you are in the herd?

That’s OK.

The herd still protects you. At least it does if enough folks in the herd are vaccinated and protected.

More on Community Immunity

Did the AAP Say That Vaccines Cause Severe Brain Injury?

Bob Sears is telling folks that the American Academy of Pediatrics says severe brain injuries are caused by vaccines.

Bob Sears doesn't mention that measles is much more likely to cause severe brain injury and death, or more recent studies that counter his post.
Bob Sears doesn’t mention that measles is much more likely to cause severe brain injury and death, or more recent studies that counter his post.

Did the AAP say that?

“A causal relationship they say.”

Bob Sears

No, they didn’t.

The researchers in Pediatrics didn’t even say that…

Did the AAP Say That Vaccines Cause Severe Brain Injury?

What did they say?

“This clustering suggests that a causal relationship between measles vaccine and encephalopathy may exist as a rare complication of measles immunization.”

Weibel et al on Acute Encephalopathy Followed by Permanent Brain Injury or Death Associated With Further Attenuated Measles Vaccines: A Review of Claims Submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The study was about reports to VAERS

Over 23 years, the researchers (in 1998) found reports of 48 cases of acute encephalopathy among about 75,000,000 children who were vaccinated, some clustered in the second week after they received a measles containing vaccine.

Does that mean that those measles containing vaccines caused the encephalopathy?

“In the absence of a specific test to determine vaccine causation, these 48 cases may include some nonvaccine cases representing background rates.”

Weibel et al on Acute Encephalopathy Followed by Permanent Brain Injury or Death Associated With Further Attenuated Measles Vaccines: A Review of Claims Submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

No, it doesn’t.

It was a signal that got some attention though.

And as it has been further investigated, there has been no evidence that measles containing vaccines cause encephalitis, at least not above 1 in a million background rates.

What does cause encephalitis?

“About 1 child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) that can lead to convulsions and can leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability.”

Complications of Measles

Measles.

Measles, a life-threatening vaccine-preventable disease, causes encephalitis.

Are your kids vaccinated and protected with two doses of MMR?

More on Vaccines and Severe Brain Injury

Are There 6 Reasons to Oppose SB276?

Not surprisingly, folks are pushing misinformation in trying to get support in their efforts to oppose SB276, the California bill that will help stop doctors from writing fraudulent medical exemptions.

Are There 6 Reasons to Oppose SB276?

It also shouldn’t be a surprise that none of their “reasons” hold water.

There are no good reasons to oppose SB276.
There are no good reasons to oppose SB276.

Are the guidelines for writing medical exemptions too limited under SB276?

If you consider that true medical exemptions to getting vaccinated are not common, then no, they are not.

Remember, medical exemptions for vaccines should be for kids who can’t be vaccinated, not just because you’re scared or don’t want your child to be vaccinated.

What about the high rates of vaccination and low rates of exemptions in California?

Uh, what about the schools in California where 30 to 50% of students have medical exemptions? These clusters of unvaccinated kids with medical exemptions are the concern, not the overall rates of vaccination and exemptions in the state.

And it is only the doctors writing excessive medical exemptions that will trigger an investigation.

What about the Medical Board of California?

While the system that they have in place has allowed them to investigate some doctors, it has mostly failed. While they do have the authority to investigate physicians, for some reason, they can’t get medical records unless a parent cooperates.

“Ms. Simoes provided background on Senate Bill (SB) 277, which passed in 2015, eliminating the personal belief exemption from the requirement that children receive specific vaccinations for certain infectious diseases prior to being admitted to any school or daycare center. She explained that after the passage of SB 277, the Board has had a difficult time investigating complaints related to medical exemptions since an authorization of medical records needs to be signed and many parents or guardians do not want to sign the authorization since it would identify the doctor that provided the medical exemption. She explained that this causes a barrier to investigation since most medical exemption cases cannot be subpoenaed and medical records are needed to conduct an investigation.”

Discussion and Possible Action on SB 276 (Pan) Immunizations: Medical Exemptions

And the Medical Board of California supports SB276.

Who else supports SB276?

In addition to the Governor of California, supporters include the AAP, California Medical Association, California State PTA, Children’s Defense Fund of California, County of Los Angeles, Infectious Disease Association of California, and the March of Dimes.

What to Know About Reasons to Oppose SB276

It should be clear that there is no reason to oppose SB276, unless you don’t want your kids immunized and you want to find a doctor to write them a fake medical exemption.

More on SB276

Vaccines and Homeschooling Myths

Do many parents homeschool their kids because they don’t want to get them vaccinated and comply with vaccination laws?

Vaccines and Homeschooling Myths

Opponents to a vaccine law in California that removed personal belief vaccine exemptions, SB277, claimed that it would lead all children currently receiving personal belief exemptions to leave those schools and become homeschoolers.

One problem with this idea is that even though 32 states don’t allow personal belief vaccine exemptions, avoiding vaccines laws is not a top reason for why most parents choose to homeschool their kids.

“Parents cite a number of different reasons for choosing to homeschool, including concerns about the school environment and desires to provide religious/moral instruction.15 In fact, a Department of Education study says that 38.4 percent of respondents claim they are homeschooling for religious reasons,16 while Christopher Klicka suggests in his book, The Right to Home School, that it is closer to 85 percent.”

Khalili et al on Off the grid: vaccinations among homeschooled children

Instead, most parents homeschool because of:

  • academic reasons – thinking they can provide a better education for their kids at home and dissatisfaction with public or private school
  • family reasons – such as a child with special needs, not being able to get into the right school, transportation issues, or simply wanting more family time
  • religious reasons – including providing religious instruction at home
  • social reasons – including negative social activity and exposures at public and private schools

The availability of virtual education, cyber schools, and charter homeschools has likely also been a factor in some parents choosing to homeschool their kids.

What about vaccines?

In one article, Homeschooling parents’ practices and beliefs about childhood immunizations, only five parents (4%) included a desire not to vaccinate children as a reason for homeschooling.

Also, homeschooling rates are about the same in every state, just over 3% of students. A few outliers include Delaware (2.1%), North Carolina (7.7%), Pennsylvania (1.1%), West Virginia (4.6%), and Wisconsin (1.6%).

Of these states, only West Virginia doesn’t allow non-medical exemptions. But neither does Mississippi, which has very average homeschooling rates (3%).

Are Anti-vaxxers Turning to Homeschooling?

If anti-vaxxers are truly turning to homeschooling to avoid getting their kids vaccinated, we might have expected to see it happen in 2015, when California passed SB 277. That law eliminated non-medical vaccine exemptions and has been in effect since the 2016-2017 school year.

Orange County was the site of several large measles outbreaks before SB 277 took effect.
Orange County was the site of several large measles outbreaks before SB 277 took effect.

Although California is dealing with fake medical exemptions, there has not been a lot of evidence that many folks are homeschooling, leaving schools, or leaving the state after SB277 because they now have had to vaccinate and protect their kids.

“The law, however, does not apply to children who are home-schooled, a loophole that parents seem to be increasingly exploiting. Over the past three years, the number of kindergartners who were home-schooled and did not have their shots quadrupled, according to a Times analysis of state data.”

Parents who won’t vaccinate their kids turning to home-schooling in California, data show

While there were more homeschoolers last year in California (3%), the rise in homeschooling in California is also being seen in many states without new vaccine laws.

“Home-schooling mothers were concerned about SB-277 but did not report that it was directly impacting their children, their vaccine decisions, or reason to home school.”

McDonald et al on Exploring California’s new law eliminating personal belief exemptions to childhood vaccines and vaccine decision-making among homeschooling mothers in California

And, according to the Los Angeles Times, only “1.2% of the state’s kindergartners were home-schooled and unvaccinated in the last school year.”

The Homeschool Vaccine Loophole

It is also important to note that many states already have laws requiring homeschooled students to be vaccinated!

So yes, it is correct to say that the parents who are switching to homeschooling to avoid vaccinating and protecting their kids are exploiting a loophole.

“Submit proof of vaccination and receipt of any health services or examinations as required by law.”

Home Schooling in Tennessee

Interestingly, North Carolina, with one of the highest rates of homeschoolers, requires that homeschooled children be vaccinated.

Is being able to homeschool without vaccines a loophole that will have to be closed?

“And though most of their schooling may take place at home, many are part of programs that meet several times a week with other students. If one contracted a disease such as measles, they could still spread it at the park, or the grocery store, or anywhere they come into contact with other people, said Dr. James Cherry, a UCLA expert on pediatric infectious diseases.”

Parents who won’t vaccinate their kids turning to home-schooling in California, data show

It will likely depend if we end up seeing outbreaks among clusters of unvaccinated homeschoolers…

“During the six weeks after the gathering, a total of 34 cases of measles were confirmed. Of the patients with confirmed measles, 94 percent were unvaccinated, 88 percent were less than 20 years of age, and 9 percent were hospitalized. Of the 28 patients who were 5 to 19 years of age, 71 percent were home-schooled. “

Parker et al on Implications of a 2005 measles outbreak in Indiana for sustained elimination of measles in the United States.

Few people will remember the 2005 measles outbreak in Indiana that occurred mostly among intentionally unvaccinated homeschoolers and cost over $167,000 to contain. At the time, it was “the largest documented outbreak of measles in the United States since 1996.”

And it is likely that few people know about the two unvaccinated homeschooled kids in Oklahoma who got tetanus in 2012, including an 8-year-old who was in the ICU for 18 days…

What to Know About Vaccines and Homeschooling

Parents who homeschool their kids should get their kids vaccinated and protected on time and on schedule and follow all of the other AAP recommendations for preventative health care.

More on Vaccines and Homeschooling Myths