“Any lawmaker who votes yes on SB 276 will have blood on their hands. It’s up to each of them to decide if they will be accessories to the real human cost of this lethal legislation. How much is a life worth? Will lawmakers sacrifice children for political purposes or will they acknowledge and act according to the truth?”
Lethal legislation? Yes, that’s how the anti-vaccine movement describes a bill that the AAP, California Medical Association, California State PTA, Children’s Defense Fund of California, County of Los Angeles, Infectious Disease Association of California, the March of Dimes, and many other organizations supports.
Bob Sears, as he fights for kids to be allowed to get fake medical exemptions, is also routinely promoting the efforts of consultant, Jonathan Lockwood of Oregon, who has been described as an “out-of-state political operative known for provocative campaigns.”
And despite the fact that legislators have been getting death threats for years, Bob Sears hasn’t called on folks to stop making them. He even promoted the failed effort to recall Dr. Pan.
And while this is all kind of interesting, no one should be surprised.
More on Bob Sears Ignores Death Threats Against Dr. Pan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…