Tag: exemptions

More Anti-Vaccine Protest Signs

Anti-vaccine folks think that they have come up with a winning tactic, especially as they get kicked off of more and more social media platforms.

They are taking it to the street, literally, to protest their kids needing vaccines to protect them from life-threatening vaccine-preventable diseases and attend school.

More Anti-Vaccine Protest Signs

Fortunately, like their signs, this is a very black and white issue.

Just like other anti-vaccine signs we have seen, these signs are made up of classic anti-vaccine talking points and misinformation that we have refuted a thousand times.

First things first though.

Why are these protestors dressed up like they are about to head to a 50’s sock hop?

That’s easy.

They still think kids only got 3 to 5 shots in the 1950s and 1960s.

5 in 1962? Have you looked at an immunization schedule from the 1960s?

Although kids did get many more vaccine doses than they imagine back then, most of these folks likely long for days when kids still got measles, pneumococcal meningitis, epiglottitis, mumps, and all of the other now vaccine-preventable diseases.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these other signs are just as easy to explain and debunk…

  • 4 Billion Paid by Us Government for Vaccine Injuries and Deaths – yes, $4,060,857,713.42 has been paid by the Vaccine Court for 6,355 compensated claims for vaccine injuries since 1989, during which time billions of doses of vaccines have been given
  • Vaccine Ingredients Animal Blood Pig Gelatin Monkey and Dog Kidney Rabbit Brain Insect Cells Human DNA + More – scary stuff until you learn what’s really in our vaccines
  • Keep the Road to Informed Consent and Medical Freedom Open – these signs are a perversion of the idea of informed consent, as they not only misinformed people about vaccines, but they also leave out all of the risks of not getting vaccinated and protected
  • Understand the Risks Allergies Seizures Brain Damage Paralysis Autoimmunity ‘Classic’ Vaccine Reactions – folks should understand both the real risks of vaccines and the risks of delaying or skipping vaccines and getting a vaccine preventable disease, which can be life-threatening
  • The Same Industry That Has Half The Nation Addicted To Opioids Wants To Mandate Vaccines – it shouldn’t be surprising that many of these signs simply reflect ideas about Big Pharma conspiracy theories
  • The CDC Vaccine Schedule Is Turbo Charged. Do Your Research.turbocharged to protect us from 16 vaccine preventable diseases that used to kill our kids?
  • Pharma Profits Should Not Outweigh Individual Rights – more Big Pharma
  • No Shots No School Not True. Get an Exemption. – yes, all states allow medical exemptions for vaccines and some allow non-medical exemptions, but that leaves your kids unvaccinated and unprotected
  • Vaccine Makes Are Exempt From Liability – this is not true
  • Vaccine Science Is Not Settled. It’s Corrupt. – more Big Pharma
  • Parents in the Driver’s Seat on Vaccines. Not the Government. – since there are no forced vaccinations, parents always make the ultimate choice on whether or not to vaccinate their kids
  • Sounding the Alarm on Vaccine Science. Science is Never Settled. – sure, let’s replace vaccines science with anti-vaccine pseudoscience
  • Vaccines Can Cause Injury and Death – although possible, it is extremely rare for vaccines to cause serious, life-threatening injuries
  • Get Charged Up About Protecting Medical Freedom. Forced Vaccines Are Not American. – since vaccine mandates don’t actually force anyone to get vaccinated, this sign doesn’t really make sense
  • Ready… Set… Know… Vaccines Are Not Placebo Safety Tested. – except for all of those times when they are, including saline placebos
  • Vaccines Reactions Are Not Rare. They are Rarely Reported. – while mild vaccine reactions may not be rare and may be under-reported, serious vaccine reactions are very rare.
  • Put the Brakes on Vaccine Mandates. – if these folks weren’t out scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids, we wouldn’t need new vaccine laws and mandates!
  • Aluminum. Good for Cars. Not for Vaccines.aluminum salts in vaccines work as an adjuvant so that we can use fewer antigens and still get a good immune response.

If you see any of these signs, now you will know what they really mean.

Put the brakes on misinformation about vaccines.

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

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Do Anti-Vaccine Pediatricians Lose Millions Not Vaccinating Kids?

Paul Thomas is upset…

He thinks that Willamette Week, an alternative weekly newspaper in Portland, is trying to discredit him.

How are they using their platform “to try to discredit an ethical top Pediatrician in the community?”

An “ethical top pediatrician” who made up his own immunization schedule???

Paul Thomas was barred from the Vaccines for Children Program.
Paul Thomas was barred from the Vaccines for Children Program.

Willamette Week published a story about how Paul Thomas was kicked out of the Vaccines for Children Program.

“VFC (Vaccines for Children) does not provide any funding (no real dollars) just free vaccines for the underprivileged. What I lost was the ability to provide this free federal program to my patients who qualify for this program. This is simply a major inconvenience to those affected. Financially it is neutral to me.

My clinic had actually stocked the vaccines Rachel mentions – we just didn’t comply in a timely manner, so you got this part right “I didn’t jump through their hoops fast enough.”

Paul Thomas

To make a long story short, he got kicked out of the Vaccines for Children Program because he didn’t follow the rules of the program.

What about the idea that he “just didn’t comply in a timely manner?”

This all started over two and a half years ago???

Although Paul Thomas says in his post that his “clinic had actually stocked the vaccines Rachel mentions,” the order kicking him out of the VFC program says otherwise.

“Dr. Thomas submitted a Declaration signed under penalty of perjury stating his office does not keep stock of HPV vaccines and instead sends patients to pharmacies.”

Default Order Terminating Integrative Pediatrics from VFC

He also did not have any rotavirus vaccine in his office.

Not exercising medical judgement in accordance with accepted medical practice? Where is the Oregon Medical Board???

To get to the point of being terminated and which Paul Thomas characterizes as “I didn’t jump through their hoops fast enough,” actually involved:

  • ignoring an offer for a probationary agreement (August 2018)
  • asking for a contested case hearing (October 2018) which was scheduled for July 12, 2019
  • withdrawing his request for a contested case hearing on July 10, 2019

I’m surprised they gave him that much time!

Did he lose Medicaid funding?

I’m not sure he even takes Medicaid, but he did lose the ability to give his patients vaccines that he didn’t have to pay for.

“One huge misconception, and I see the comments on this, is that pediatricians don’t make money on vaccines or that they are not financially incentivized to vaccinate. There are profits from vaccine mark-ups and huge profits from vaccine administration fees. The average admin fee is about $35 per vaccine. For the 715 patients born into my practice who have refused to give any vaccines (each child would have had 28 vaccines by age 2 and over 60 vaccines in their childhood) amounting to income of $700,000 for the 2 years and $1.5 million over their childhood. Those are real dollars lost for Integrative Pediatrics. The money lost when considering that we serve over 15,000 patients, with most being selective about how they vaccinate would have driven most practices out of business.

There are also built in incentives in many contracts with health plans. Vaccines are a quality measure (if your practice does not reach a bench mark in numbers vaccinated) you loose a % on all services provided to patients under that insurance contract.

Is it any wonder most of my peers discharge patients from their practices who won’t follow the CDC schedule? Often these patients are told to call Dr. Thomas (Integrative Pediatrics).

Let us be clear. It is not a good business decision to allow families not to vaccinate or to permit selective vaccination.”

Paul Thomas

Let us be clear. He certainly doesn’t understand vaccine administration fees…

Some things he gets wrong?

  • pediatricians might charge $35 as an admin fee, but they are lucky if insurance companies pay them 1/3 or 1/2 that or even less. Your average vaccine administration fee is only going to be $35 if you don’t take insurance and can set your own fees!
  • you get a lower vaccine administration fee for the second vaccine component given (you use a different CPT code – 90461) vs the first (90460), and it pays less, so doctors make less when they give multiple vaccines at the same visit. Is that why many vaccine friendly doctors recommend giving one vaccine at a time?

And he misses the whole point behind vaccine administration fees.

It costs pediatricians money to order, stock, monitor, and give vaccines!

“This study shows that the variable costs of vaccine administration exceeded reimbursement from some insurers and healthplans.”

Glazner et al on Cost of Vaccine Administration Among Pediatric Practices

Do they make any money?

Hopefully they do, as health care is a business in the United States, but they certainly aren’t making millions in net profit as Paul Thomas suggests. And if they aren’t very careful, after considering all of the factors that go into giving a vaccine, it is very easy to lose money.

How Do Anti-Vaccine Pediatricians Make Money?

Which brings us back to the business decision of being a pediatrician who scares parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Is there any money in that?

Paul Thomas doesn't mention that he gets a big cut of the sales for a "free" summit that costs $197 as he promotes his anti-vaccine lecture.
Paul Thomas doesn’t mention that he gets a big cut of the sales for a “free” summit that costs $197 as he promotes his anti-vaccine lecture.

Books, seminars, supplements, essential oils – there are lots of things to sell parents who don’t vaccinate their kids.

Compared to these pediatricians in California, Paul Thomas is a bargain at just $295/year.

Don’t forget the annual membership fees that many of these pediatricians charge for the privilege of skipping or delaying vaccines and at extra risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease.

And the vaccine exemptions that some of them sell…

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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.

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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.

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