Tag: SB277

V is for Vaccine

The California Assembly Appropriations Committee votes Friday on SB276. Today anti-vaccine folks in Californians who oppose this bill gathered at the state capitol encouraging legislators to continue to allow doctors to write fake medical exemptions.

There was plenty of violent imagery on display at the V for Vaccine rally. How many times did RFK, Jr mention guns and homicide?

In addition to the anti-vaccine propaganda signs that we are getting used to seeing, folks got to hear from the usual suspects.

V is for Vaccine Rally

Surprisingly, Robert F Kennedy, Jr started things off.

Why is that a surprise?

Well, he’s not from California…

He does do a good job of pushing anti-vaccine misinformation.

And it’s all stuff we have heard before.

But he added some new stuff that was suprising.

“They are saying that… any child who is unvaccinated has ever passed measles to another child in a school since 1963. No evidence.”

Robert Kennedy, JR

What?

Although the first measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, it took some time before measles was brought under control and the endemic spread finally eliminated in the United States (2000).

Who was his pediatrician?

No evidence indeed!

He goes on about the MMR being a failed vaccine and that no one should be worried about the unvaccinated if they are vaccinated and protected.

Kennedy even claimed that he read a protocol from Johns Hopkins and not only does it not say anything about immunocompromised people staying away from the unvaccinated, but he says it warns about shedding from the recently vaccinated!

“The increased risk of disease in the pediatric population, in part because of increasing rates of vaccine refusal and in some circumstances more rapid loss of immunity, increases potential exposure of immunodeficient children. The immunosuppressed subject is particularly at risk in crowded living conditions because of the spread of these diseases by aerosol droplets or through the oral-fecal route.”

Medical Advisory Committee of the Immune Deficiency Foundation. Recommendations for live viral and bacterial vaccines in immunodeficient patients and their close contacts

I don’t know what protocol from Johns Hopkins he might have read, but maybe he should have read the Medical Advisory Committee of the Immune Deficiency Foundation. Recommendations for live viral and bacterial vaccines in immunodeficient patients and their close contacts. It clearly warns about the risks of being around someone who is unvaccinated.

Next up was Joshua Coleman.

“These are all undisputed facts. Everyone should know these things.”

Joshua Coleman

Coleman is talking about the “facts” on his anti-vaccine propaganda signs.

He basically hit every anti-vaccine talking point that there is…

We also heard about hot lots and Vaccine Court compensation claims.

“Cesar Chavez did this. We are the new Cesar Chavez generation.”

Latinos for Medical Freedom

Cesar Chavez did not work to put kids at risk for life-threatening vaccine preventable diseases!

Who did the V is for Vaccine Rally end with?

Del Bigtree.

Is he anti-vaccine?

He says that he is against forced vaccination, which makes you wonder why he is there, as there is no forced vaccination in the United States.

He also says that he has debunked the idea of herd immunity!

“Gavin Newsom if you can hear me, please, please ask yourself, what is the need for this law?”

Del Bigtree

What’s the need for SB276?

How about all of the abuse of medical exemptions that has led to clusters of unvaccinated kids in California schools?

To be very clear – SB276 doesn’t eliminate medical exemptions.

It stops doctors from writing inappropriate medical exemptions.

“My concern with this bill, is that it’s going to take every exemption I’ve ever done under those guidelines, which are not restricted to CDC contraindications – under those old guidelines, they can now review every single one of my exemptions I’ve done and disqualify each and every one of them and kick those kids out of school. They are sort of retroactively changing the guidelines – so all of the exemptions that I’ve ever done, and other physicians have ever done, and to me that’s a very very concerning precedence for a government to go back like that and negate years of medical care that’s been done legally and properly under the guidelines of 277.”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

SB276 is needed because too many doctors took advantage of SB277.

And because too many parents are scared to vaccinate their kids because they listen to folks like Del talk about mercury in vaccines, VAERS, 400 deaths a year from vaccines, vaccinated vs unvaccinated studies, placebo studies, infant mortality rates, and the rise in childhood illness because our kids get 72 vaccines.

“What else needs to be said?”

Del Bigtree

It should be clear what else needs to be said…

The Catholic Church teaches that it is lawful to get vaccinated to protect "our children, public health, and the common good."
The Catholic Church teaches that it is lawful to get vaccinated to protect “our children, public health, and the common good” and that we have a “moral obligation to protect the life and health of their children and those around them.”

Stop listening to these folks and their misinformation.

Anti-vax folks will never win if they try to talk about science, but they will lose even faster if they use people to push their agenda.
Anti-vax folks will never win if they try to talk about science, but they will lose even faster if they use people to push their agenda.

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

More on the V is for Vaccine Rally

Who is the Controlled Opposition in the Anti-Vax Movement?

Anti-vax folks are big on conspiracy theories.

How far do they go?

They think that some anti-vax folks are part of a controlled opposition.

Who is the Controlled Opposition in the Anti-Vax Movement?

Controlled opposition?

“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

Vladimir Lenin

Have folks who support getting kids vaccinated and protected actually become leaders of the anti-vaccine movement?

Robert Kennedy, Jr is the only one in his family to ever come out against vaccines...
Robert Kennedy, Jr is the only one in his family to ever come out against vaccines…

Why would they do that?

One reason might be to control the opposition. Get them to do what you want. Another might be to do things that are so outrageous that you make the opposition look bad.

Getting arrested for pushing Senator Pan?

Is Kenneth Austin Bennett a part of the controlled opposition?
Is Kenneth Austin Bennett a part of the controlled opposition?

That guy must be part of the controlled opposition!

Wait, is Austin Bennett controlled opposition or is it Joshua Coleman?
Wait, is Austin Bennett or Joshua Coleman the controlled opposition? Is WAKEsheep alerting folks that Andrew Wakefield is being controlled?

Lose a lawsuit to repeal SB 277.

The lawyer must be a part of the controlled opposition!

Who organized the march?
Who organized the march?

Is everyone in the anti-vax movement a part of the controlled opposition?

Who started the infighting between Larry Cook and Brandy Vaughan?
Who started the infighting between Larry Cook and Brandy Vaughan?

Is there anyone in the anti-vax movement that you think vaccine supporters are controlling?

Is there a conspiracy theory that this guy doesn't believe? Have nanobots in vaccines turned him into a member of the controlled opposition without him knowing???
Is there a conspiracy theory that this guy doesn’t believe? Have nanobots in vaccines turned Chris Kirckof into a member of the controlled opposition without him knowing???

Does this whole idea just seem silly?

I’m sure that’s what “they” want you to think!

More on Conspiracy Theories in the Anti-Vax Movement

Does SB 276 Eliminate Medical Exemptions?

Why do some folks think that SB 276, a new vaccine bill in California, will eliminate medical exemptions to getting vaccinated?

SB 276 will not eliminate medical exemptions.
SB 276 will not eliminate medical exemptions.

Oh, more misinformation from the usual suspects…

Does SB 276 Eliminate Medical Exemptions?

To be clear, SB 276 does not eliminate medical exemptions.

So what does California’s new vaccine bill do?

“This bill pressures doctors into giving more vaccines to a child you may know might have a severe reaction, and that’s a tragedy.”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Despite Bob Sears‘ testimony when he appeared as an expert witness for anti-vaccine folks and gave testimony against SB 276, it basically helps to stop some doctors from writing fake medical exemptions.

“I would imagine a lot of you would not want to give your child more doses of the vaccine if they had a seizure, or a nerve injury, or severe eczema, or any other kinds of dozens of other severe reactions. So that’s all under SB 277 and that’s how I’m practicing now.

My concern with this bill, is that it’s going to take every exemption I’ve ever done under those guidelines, which are not restricted to CDC contraindications – under those old guidelines, they can now review every single one of my exemptions I’ve done and disqualify each and every one of them and kick those kids out of school. They are sort of retroactively changing the guidelines – so all of the exemptions that I’ve ever done, and other physicians have ever done, and to me that’s a very very concerning precedence for a government to go back like that and negate years of medical care that’s been done legally and properly under the guidelines of 277. “

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Legally and properly?

Another complaint has been filed against Bob Sears with the California Medical Board for writing inappropriate medical exemptions.

I would imagine that a lot of parents are scared into thinking that seizures, nerve injuries, and severe eczema are vaccine reactions.

And that’s why some of them might not want to keep vaccinating their kids in these situations.

So that kids aren’t put at risk to get a vaccine-preventable disease though, it’s incredibly important to understand that these aren’t typically vaccine reactions, except maybe if a child has febrile seizures. But even then, having febrile seizures wouldn’t usually be a reason to stop getting vaccinated.

“It’s incredibly important to understand what those CDC guidelines are and that the Senator did answer that the only CDC family history guideline is if a mom or dad, a first degree relative, has a severe immune deficiency, and that the children might have that. And that only exempts you from MMR and chickenpox vaccine.

That’s the only family history factor in all the guidelines that are in this bill.”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Since severe immunodeficiences, like SCID, can be inherited, it is important to know about a family history of a severe immune system problem before a child gets a live virus vaccine, like MMR or the chicken pox vaccine.

Fortunately, we typically do know about these conditions by the time a child is ready to get these vaccines. And no, it’s not just by asking about the child’s family history. These types of immune system problems cause severe symptoms that have usually showed up well before a child gets these vaccines.

“There’s a small family history factor about seizures. If someone’s had seizures, you can’t get this one brand of vaccines, but you can get other brands that qualify, so that doesn’t work.”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

What is he talking about?

“A personal or family history of seizures is a precaution for MMRV vaccination; this is because a recent study found an increased risk for febrile seizures in children 12-23 months who receive MMRV compared with MMR and varicella vaccine.”

Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP

The warning is about febrile seizures and ProQuad, the combined MMR and chickenpox vaccine. You can safely get the vaccines though, as the separate MMR and chickenpox vaccines.

This works well!

And parents should know that if their child is having seizures, they will easily qualify for a temporary medical exemption.

“Vaccination should be deferred for persons with a moderate or severe acute illness. This precaution avoids causing diagnostic confusion between manifestations of the underlying illness and possible adverse effects of vaccination or superimposing adverse effects of the vaccine on the underlying illness.”

Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the ACIP

In addition to not giving the DTaP vaccine to a child with a progressive neurological disorder or uncontrolled epilepsy, the general guidelines about deferring vaccination for children with moderate or severe acute illness would likely mean that they wouldn’t get other vaccines either.

“So there’s only one family history factor. So you guys have to realize for example, I’ll see a family, the mom had a seizure after vaccines, her first child had a seizure after vaccines — and she has a new baby and she doesn’t want to give that baby vaccines. And as her doctor, I would agree. That’s a good family history reason not to vaccinate that child — or maybe do we delay them, or do we wait until years later, I don’t know. Maybe it’s temporary exemption because they’re a baby.

There is no single CDC guideline that would allow me to write that exemption under this new law. There is no family history involved whatsoever that that would justify me writing and exemption for that family because that is not in the CDC or the AAP or the ACIP guidelines.

And I appreciate that that the assembly members have asked a lot about family history. You have to realize how narrow that is. This new amendment did not broaden that in any way except for the select few as in the ladies example. Right, so there’s so many – but I mean I could list so many severe reactions I’ve seen moms or dads have or their first kids have after vaccines that I will use as legitimate family history to write an exemption for new baby in that family that will all go away under this new bill – those will all be disqualified. I think that’s important for you guys to understand that…”

Bob Sears SB 276 Assembly Health Committee Testimony

Why does he think “that’s a good family history reason not to vaccinate that child” and leave them at risk to get a vaccine preventable disease?

What are all of these severe reactions he has seen?

Is 6th nerve palsy a vaccine injury?
Is 6th nerve palsy a vaccine injury?

Does he see a lot of serious reactions after vaccines because he thinks everything is a vaccine injury?

There is a reason that having a family history of a vaccine reaction shouldn’t be a reason to skip or delay your child’s vaccines. It certainly shouldn’t be a reason for a doctor to write a medical exemption.

And that’s simply because the risk of having a severe vaccine reaction, even if a family member has had a severe vaccine reaction, is very low.

While Dr. Bob might think a family members having seizures after they were vaccinated is a legitimate reason to put a baby at risk to get one or more vaccine-preventable diseases, it isn’t.

Not only is a family history of an adverse event to a vaccine not a contraindication to getting vaccinated, it is commonly listed a false contraindication!

These are the type of medical exemptions, only those based on invalid criteria, that would be eliminated under SB 276.

“Of the cases that the Board has investigated to date, there have been no fraudulent medical exemptions found. The idea of rampant fraud is a scare tactic to advance SB 276, and a fantasy.”

Mary Holland on SB 276 Will Violate the Doctor-Patient Relationship by Eliminating Medical Exemptions

Interestingly, Bob Sears, who is already on probation, is still under investigation by the California Medical Board for writing fraudulent medical exemptions. So are many other doctors. Why hasn’t any fraud been found? The California Medical Board has had a hard time getting medical records to prove their cases! SB 276 will change that.

More on SB 276 and Medical Exemptions

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