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.
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.”
Are the police blocking her, keeping her out of school as the photo suggests?
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.
“A total of 654 cases were confirmed, with rash onsets between September 30, 2018 and July 15, 2019. Serious complications included hospitalization (52), intensive unit care (19) and pneumonia (34). Multiple international importations of measles introduced into a community with prevalent delays in vaccination among young children propagated this outbreak.”
2019 Health Alert #26: Update on Measles Outbreak in New York City
Of course not!
The New York State Department of Health advises that on all suspected measles cases, “Viral specimens (nasopharyngeal swaband urine) and serology (IgM and IgG) should be obtained for diagnostic testing and confirmation.”
Were these cases all caused by vaccine strain measles, as Larry Palevesky suggests?
Although anti-vax folks often focus on the measles strain when there is an outbreak, all it really helps you do is figure out where the imported cases came from.
Even though health officials didn’t tell us the specific strains involved in the outbreaks, guess what, they did tell us the sources of the outbreak, so it is basically the same thing.
The cases were imported from Israel, UK, and Ukraine.
And the CDC has told us that “All measles cases this year have been caused by measles wild-type D8 or B3.”
“We have to stop blaming, accusing, targeting, ostracizing, condemning unvaccinated children as a health risk, which would then make this subject completely moot.”
What else do we know about the measles outbreak in Brooklyn?
it began in October 2018 “with an unvaccinated child from Brooklyn who acquired measles in Israel”
it included 15 neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with most concentrated in Williamsburg, Borough Park, and Sunset Park
the majority of cases were in children, including at least 91 cases in infants less than 12 months old
the great majority of cases were unvaccinated, with only 27 cases fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR
there were 52 hospitalizations, including 16 ICU admissions
And the outbreak cost over $6 million to control!
The Rockland County measles outbreak is still ongoing.
So why do they think they are a hoax?
“There were over 800 kids who the New York State and New York City Department of Health have said were confirmed cases of measles. The real question is, were these really confirmed as per the CDC recommendations. We do not have that data. In fact, anecdotally, New York State told the physicians not to do the tests.”
Is this about the strains again? Is this about the fact that once you know you are in the middle of a huge measles outbreak, you might be able to start diagnosing kids clinically?
“New York State lied when they said that there were confirmed cases. We don’t know what kind of illnesses the kids had. And there’s a set of papers in the literature that specifically state that if the children are found by analysis to have a measles virus infection that is consistent with a side effect of the vaccine, it is important for the Department of Health to alert the public that it was a vaccine strain that caused the outbreak, because a vaccine strain illness should not be equated with a public health emergency. [Applause]”
Yes, it is about the strains…
“So the reality is that when there is a vaccine strain measles outbreak, meaning that the vaccine itself was not properly attenuated, meaning it was more active and virulent than just simply giving an antibody response in the body, when that occurs an outbreak is almost always very very close to the vest, meaning that would explain why it was only seen in two communities out of 62. And if New York state had done the proper testing of the vaccine to see if it was too virulent and of the children who had the measles infection to see what type of measles virus they had, then in all likelihood this was a vaccine strain measles infection which is known to be a side effect of the vaccine and not a public health emergency.”
Is any of that true?
Since we have never had an outbreak of measles from an MMR vaccine that wasn’t properly attenuated, I’m guessing no, it isn’t. Also remember that to control the outbreak, they gave lots and lots of MMR vaccine to unvaccinated folks in those communities…
What about his explanation for why we only saw outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland Counties? Well, for one thing, we didn’t. Other areas of New York and of course, around the country have seen a rise in measles. And the outbreaks in Brooklyn and Rockland Counties were caused when unvaccinated folks traveled to Israel, UK, and Ukraine and returned to an area with low immunization rates. They weren’t caused by a bad batch or mutant strains of measles in the MMR vaccine.
“So the New York State Department of Health failed to do their job and instead they lied and said the cases were confirmed and they didn’t do their due diligence to actually evaluate all the possible reasons that an outbreak could have occurred. It’s very strange that two communities where there are lots of people moving through those communities that are non-Jewish, that are outside of the state that are coming through and why just those communities got the illness. That should have raised the red flag that something else was going on and your state failed us.”
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?
Surprisingly, not all of the members of the American Academy of Pediatrics are on the side of advocating for vaccines!
Who Are the Anti-Vaccine Pediatricians?
Sure, except for a few outliers, most of the members of the AAP are typically strong advocates for vaccines.
In fact, one of the very first actions of the AAP was to establish the Committee on Immunization Procedures in 1936. They soon published the first vaccine recommendations for kids in the 1938 pamphlet, Routine measures for the prophylaxis of communicable diseases.
So what happened?
How did we end up with anti-vaccine pediatricians?
In 1954, Dr. Roger L. J. Kennedy, the president of the AAP, declared that he would not allow his own children to get Salk’s polio vaccine during the Polio Pioneer trials.
Since none of the polio vaccines produced directly by Jonas Salk caused any problems, no, Kennedy wasn’t right and could have put the whole trial at risk if folks had listened to him.
We next saw Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, a pediatrician who was against many standard practices, including ultrasounds in pregnancy, “water fluoridation, immunization, coronary bypass surgery, licensing of nutritionists, and screening examinations to detect breast cancer.”
He appeared on Donahue in the early 1980s, making claims that “The greatest threat of childhood diseases lies in the dangerous and ineffectual efforts made to prevent them through mass immunization.”
Mendelsohn also appeared as an “expert” in Vaccine Roulette, falsely calling the pertussis vaccine “probably the poorest and most dangerous vaccine that we now have.” Of course, none of the claims against the DPT vaccine ended up being true, but we are still left with the DTaP vaccine which is less effective.
Although he wasn’t the last anti-vaccine pediatrician, he was the last to be formally called out by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Jay Gordon, a celebrity pediatrician in California and Fellow of the AAP, appeared on Good Morning America with Cindy Crawford in 2000, saying afterwards that “They edited the segment to make me sound like a vaccination proponent. We also have to understand the impact of a person as well-known as Cindy Crawford delaying vaccines for over six months.”
Since then, he has continued to push the idea that kids should get vaccines on a slower schedule, perhaps only getting one or two at a time.
Although the AAP hasn’t formally called out today’s disease friendly pediatricians by name, they have repeatedly stated that there are no alternative immunization schedules.
“There is no ‘alternative’ immunization schedule. Delaying vaccines only leaves a child at risk of disease for a longer period of time; it does not make vaccinating safer.
Vaccines work, plain and simple. Vaccines are one of the safest, most effective and most important medical innovations of our time. Pediatricians partner with parents to provide what is best for their child, and what is best is for children to be fully vaccinated.”
Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, Executive Director, American Academy of Pediatrics
And the AAP has said that the views of pediatricians who push alternative immunization schedules “are counter to scientific evidence and clearly they do not reflect Academy policy or recommendations.”
“No alternative vaccine schedules have been evaluated and found to provide better safety or efficacy than the recommended schedule, supported by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC and the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the AAP (the committee that produces the Red Book).
Pediatricians who routinely recommend limiting the numbers of vaccines administered at a single visit such that vaccines are administered late are providing care that deviates from the standard evidence-based schedule recommended by these bodies.”
Countering Vaccine Hesitancy
Are there others?
Unfortunately, there are.
“Most of my patients make the educated decision not to give one vaccine-hepatitis B – to their infants. This is because you catch hepatitis B from sex and IV drug use so if a child is born to a mother that does not have hepatitis B, the child is at no risk of getting this disease. Preschool and young school-aged children are not at risk for hepatitis B, which is why most countries in the developed world only recommend this vaccine for at-risk groups and not for everyone.”
Paul Thomas is another pediatrician and Fellow of the AAP who has written a book about vaccines that pushes his own alternative vaccine schedule.
Then there is Larry Palevsky, the pediatrician “who utilizes a holistic approach to children’s wellness and illness…”
Some folks are likely wondering how Larry Palevsky still has a medical license after the things he said at the so-called vaccine symposium in Rockland County this year. Yeah, that Rockland County with the longest active measles outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was declared eliminated.
“The pediatrician who spoke on Monday night, Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, is regularly cited in pamphlets circulated in New York City that urge women not to get their children vaccinated. His views have no basis in science, experts said.”
Despite Measles Warnings, Anti-Vaccine Rally Draws Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews
Most others who are familiar with things he has said in the past aren’t surprised by his statements though. After all, he was an “expert” for the anti-vaccination movie The Greater Good.
And they are familiar with other holistic and integrative pediatricians who are obviously anti-vaccine.
What Makes a Pediatrician Anti-Vaccine?
Although none consider themselves anti-vaccine, preferring to think of themselves as pro-safe vaccine, pro-vaccine choice, or pro-informed consent, as they continue to push myths and misinformation about vaccines, it should be clear who they are and what they are doing.
No, a pediatrician isn’t anti-vaccine just because some of their patients follow a non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedule. They are anti-vaccine if they encourage parents to skip or delay vaccines, scaring them away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics is dedicated to the principle of a meaningful and healthy life for every child. As an organization of physicians who care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults, the Academy seeks to promote this goal by encouraging and assisting its members in their efforts to meet the overall health needs of children and youth; by providing support and counsel to others concerned with the well-being of children, their growth and development; and by serving as an advocate for children and their families within the community at large.”
preamble to AAP Constitution
It’s time that more pediatricians call them out, even if they aren’t members of the AAP, as we see more outbreaks and more parents following their advice, leaving more kids unvaccinated, unprotected, and at risk to get vaccine-preventable diseases.