Tag: medical exemptions

A California Pediatrician Who is Not a Hysterical Anti-Vaxxer Wrote a Letter to the Governor…

Did you think it was over, now that SB 276 has been passed and Governor Newsom said that he would sign it, as long as a companion bill with a few added amendments also gets passed?

I'm glad Elisa Song vaccinates some of her kids, but I wonder how many exemptions she has written since SB 277 passed...
I’m glad Elisa Song vaccinates some of her kids, but I wonder how many exemptions she has written since SB 277 passed…

Of course, it’s not…

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

While many of us wanted Governor Newsom to sign SB 276 in its original form, as he had promised, without the added amendments that weaken the law, most see it it as an acceptable compromise.

And then there are the anti-vaccine folks who want Newsom to veto SB 276 so that kids can continue to get inappropriate medical exemptions and remain unprotected and at risk against vaccine preventable diseases.

“I am a pediatrician trying to do the best I can for the children in my practice. And the best is not simply repeating that vaccines are “safe and effective.” Because they’re not 100% safe. Because they’re not 100% effective. Because parents are asking questions. Because parents are afraid and want to do the best for their children. And because we, as primary care physicians, need to be able to practice the art and science of medicine to the best of our abilities, for the child sitting in front of us, without bureaucratic handcuffs and fear of retribution.”

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

No one says vaccines are 100% safe and effective, but they are very effective with few risks.

Parents are afraid because of the anti-vaccine rhetoric and misinformation they see and read on the Internet and sometimes from holistic type doctors who pander to their fears.

“SB 276 continues to place the decision regarding an individual child’s vaccine risk/benefit assessment and whether or not that child qualifies for a vaccine medical exemption in the hands of the government.”

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

This is not true.

SB 276 simply says that you can’t make up your own reasons for why kids can’t get vaccinated and protected.

“SB 276 continues to too narrowly limit the criteria for “appropriate” vaccine exemptions to those contraindications detailed by the CDC, AAP and ACIP. These criteria do not take into account the emerging field of vaccinomics pioneered by the Mayo Clinic and the latest research on increased risk for various chronic illnesses including autoimmunity after vaccination in certain vulnerable populations. Epigenetics is making it increasingly clear that the one-size-fits-all CDC schedule will not work. “

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

As other states have done, SB 276 and SB 714, set rules on what counts as a medical exemption.

“SB276 continues to essentially eliminate all medical exemptions, even those consistent with the CDC, ACIP or AAP guidelines. By arbitrarily limiting the number of medical exemptions a physician may write to 4 in any calendar year before triggering investigation, SB 276 will deter physicians from writing ANY exemptions for fear of irreparable damage to their professional reputation, financial security, and emotional trauma, even if ultimately found innocent. How will a physician decide which 4 children are “deserving” of medical exemptions each year, in order to prevent an automatic investigation once they write that 5th exemption?”

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

Since few children should actually need a true medical exemption, the limits in SB 276 are hardly arbitrary. And since what counts as a true medical exemptions is rarely arbitrary either, doctors who write five or more true medical exemptions in a year will have nothing to fear when those exemptions are reviewed.

“A Harvard study has found that 2.6% of people vaccinated will have a vaccine injury. California’s current medical exemption rate of 0.7% falls far below this number, implying that there are many children whose vaccine injuries could have been avoided if an appropriate medical exemption were written by their physician.”

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc. report did not find “that 2.6% of people vaccinated will have a vaccine injury.”

It actually found possible reactions in 2.6% of vaccinations. And I hope that everyone is aware that a possible reaction is not the same as a vaccine injury…

Also, in addition to the fact that current rate of medical exemptions in California is far higher than 0.7%, it is the clusters of medical exemptions in many schools that are the problem.

“Until such time when vaccine risks and benefits can be clearly defined in broader terms that take into account personal and family history and epigenetics, this risk needs to be taken on by each parent and each child. And where there is risk, there must be choice. And where there is uncertainty, the BEST person to help that parent navigate vaccines is the person who knows that child’s medical and family history best – THEIR PHYSICIAN.”

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

Elisa Song talks a lot about the risks of vaccines, or at least what she thinks puts kids at risk, including family history and epigenetics.

“I believe in public health, yet I care for individual children and families who sit across from me everyday, trusting that I am giving them valid, scientific, evidence-based information that will keep their individual baby safe and healthy, and believing that I am providing them with true informed consent.”

Elisa Song’s Letter to Governor Newsom

It would be great if she truly were giving her patient’s “valid, scientific, evidence-based information” and “true informed consent.”

She’s not…

“I learned how to integrate conventional pediatrics with functional medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbal medicine and essential oils – and it changed my life!”

Elisa Song

Notice anything missing?

$267 for a home remedy kit filled with homeopathic treatments???

She never talks about the risks of getting a vaccine-preventable disease.

And she overstates the risks of vaccines.

“While the media and common public opinion are quick to say that the link between vaccines and autism has been absolutely disproved, they have not done their due diligence research.”

Measles: Know the Facts by Dr. Elisa Song, M.D.

It is hard to make a truly informed decision when your doc downplays the risks of natural disease, makes you afraid to get vaccinated, and tries to sell you natural therapies that we know won’t prevent infections and won’t actually boost your immune system.

More on Anti-Vaccine Pediatricians

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

Reactions to SB 276 Passing the Assembly

On the same day that the LA Times wrote what some are calling a false balance about Bob Sears, SB 276 passed the California Assembly and Gavin Newsom called for the addition of amendments that would protect doctors who have been writing an excessive amount of medical exemptions.

Gavin Newsom's proposed amendments could weaken SB276.
Exempting individual medical information on exemptions from the Public Records Act is not a bad idea.

Coincidence?

Reactions to SB 276 Passing the Assembly

As the amendments only serve to weaken SB276, Governor Newsom should consider backing off on his request to change the bill, especially as he had previously said he would support it.

Protecting kids from vaccine preventable diseases is unethical and evil???
Protecting kids from vaccine preventable diseases is unethical and evil???

While the amendments will protect those who have been writing inappropriate medical exemptions, they won’t appease most people who are against SB 276.

Who is talking about forcibly injecting people with vaccines? Remember, mandates don't force anyone to get vaccinated and protected...
Who is talking about forcibly injecting people with vaccines? Remember, mandates don’t force anyone to get vaccinated and protected…

Especially as most of those folks still don’t understand exactly what SB276 does!

SB 276 does not eliminate all medical exemptions.
SB 276 does not eliminate all medical exemptions.

What silent loophole are these folks talking about?

The nephew of California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez is immunocompromised.

“His doctor said no, he can’t have live vaccines, so no, he can’t be immunized against measles or chicken pox. Every time he is not in the hospital, he wants to be in school, but those diseases could kill him. Definitely put him back in the hospital. These are the children, the truly medically fragile children that we are trying to prevent from getting these diseases and why it’s so important.”

California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Assembly Floor Session, Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

He has a medical exemption to getting vaccinated.

Unless the medical exemption is to all vaccines and not just live vaccines, he won’t lose his exemption and won’t need a “silent loophole.”

Having a “known severe immunodeficiency” is a well known contraindication to getting live vaccines, including MMR and the chickenpox vaccine.

Not only would his exemption be allowed, it not be one of only 5 exemptions that his doctor is allowed to make!
Not only would his exemption be allowed, it would not be one of only 5 exemptions that his doctor is allowed to make!

SB276 also doesn’t limit the number of medical exemptions that doctors can write. It just states that if a doctor writes 5 or more exemptions in a calendar year, then those exemptions will be reviewed by a medical panel to make sure that they are legitimate.

Why do 5 exemptions trigger a review? Because the average doctor will likely not need to write that many medical exemptions, as there are very few true medical reasons to avoid or skip vaccines. What if a doctor writes 10 or 15 legitimate medical exemptions? If they are reviewed and found to be legitimate, then 10 or 15 of their patients will have medical exemptions!

How will they revolt - because they don't want to vaccinate and protect their kids?
How will they revolt – because they don’t want to vaccinate and protect their kids?

Are Newsom’s amendments going to stop folks who are talking about revolutions?

Wait, which amendment is she talking about???

Is it going to protect kids from those who might continue to get unnecessary, permanent exemptions until the protections of SB 276 finally do take effect?

More on SB276

Will SB276 Revoke Legitimate Medical Exemptions?

Bob Sears has already said that SB276 will eliminate medical exemptions and stop doctors from writing medical exemptions.

ITP after MMR is not a reason to get a medical exemption for all vaccines…

What is he saying now?

Will SB276 Revoke Legitimate Medical Exemptions?

Bob Sears is saying that SB276 will revoke legitimate medical exemptions from children who have had “seizures, nerve injuries, and severe allergic reactions after vaccines.”

He also says that they “will be forced to continue just to stay in school.”

To be clear, neither SB276 nor any other vaccine law in the United States forces anyone to get vaccinated.

Yes Bob Sears, what do you mean forced to stay in school?
Yes Bob Sears, what do you mean forced to stay in school?

Although implying forced vaccination is a common anti-vaccine tactic, even his own followers called him out on it…

What else can you see from reading the comments to Bob’s post?

Some medical exemptions might be revoked under SB276, but it isn’t because they are legitimate.

ITP would not be a reason to get a medical exemption to all vaccines.
ITP would not be a reason to get a medical exemption to ALL VACCINES.

A rash that turned in ‘purple blobs’ after the MMR vaccine sounds like it could be ITP, which is actually a table injury.

Since the ACIP lists that as a precaution to getting another dose of MMR, you would almost certainly get a medical exemption, but not to all vaccines!

While scary for parents, ITP typically goes away on its own without treatment in about two weeks to six months.

Anyway, SB276 doesn’t revoke legitimate medical exemptions.

If you actually read SB276, as amended, what it does do is trigger a review by medical professionals to “identify those medical exemption forms that do not meet applicable CDC, ACIP, or AAP criteria for appropriate medical exemptions” if:

  • a school’s immunization rate drops below 95%
  • a doctor writes five or more medical exemptions in a single year (although that doesn’t sound like a lot, keep in mind that true medical exemptions are not very common, so the average doctor who is only writing medical exemptions for their own patients likely won’t write that many each year)
  • a school doesn’t report it’s immunization rates

And once reviewed, inappropriate medical exemptions can be revoked, although that process can be appealed by a parent who thinks that their child does indeed have a legitimate medical exemption.

Keep in mind that just because a doctor writes more than 5 exemptions in a single year, that doesn’t mean that they will automatically be revoked. That simply triggers a review. Even if the doctor writes 10 or 20, if they are legitimate exemptions, then they will be allowed.

Again, SB276 doesn’t revoke legitimate medical exemptions.

Why does Bob Sears think that it does?

Maybe because many of things that Bob Sears considers to be legitimate medical exemptions actually aren’t, which is why he is already under investigation, even before SB276 is enacted…

More on Legitimate Medical Exemptions