Instead, we have just been seeing more and more cases of measles.
The VACCINES Act
Well, we might finally be getting a new Federal vaccine law, but it isn’t the kind of law that will force people to get vaccinated that anti-vaccine folks have been warning us about.
Instead, the Vaccine Awareness Campaign to Champion Immunization Nationally and Enhance Safety (VACCINES) Act, which was recently introduced by Representative Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) will simply help to increase public awareness of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
“Vaccines were one of the greatest medical accomplishments of the 20th century and have been proven safe and effective at preventing diseases that once killed or greatly harmed people around the world.
As a pediatrician, I understand that parents want to do what they think is best for their children and some do not vaccinate because of unfounded fears. We are now seeing outbreaks of diseases like measles, which was considered eliminated 19 years ago, in part because of an anti-vaccine campaigns around the country. This bill will make sure that parents have access to facts about vaccines, so they can make an informed decision.”
Rep. Kim Schrier
The VACCINES Act will:
provide for a national system for surveillance of vaccine rates
And trust me, we don’t want to surpass any records beyond that!
If we do break those records, reaching thousands of cases this year, then we will reach epidemic levels of measles.
And many of us who know what that means, remembering that there were 55,622 cases of measles and 123 deaths in the United States between 1989 and 1991, a time when we had good nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, and health care…
What else did we have?
A lot of unvaccinated kids!
But we learned our lesson, got more kids vaccinated, and eliminated the endemic spread of measles.
We even got to a record low of measles cases, just 37 cases in 2004!
Why Should Medical Exemptions Be Based on CDC Contraindications?
As many people know though, some people have been taking advantage of the fact that medical exemptions weren’t clearly defined in California’s vaccine law.
Are there just a few doctors taking advantage of the California law?
“But at 105 schools in the state, 10% or more of kindergartners had a medical exemption in the school year that ended last month, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of state data.”
Pushback against immunization laws leaves some California schools vulnerable to outbreaks
Is 10% a lot?
In one recent report, Vaccination Coverage for Selected Vaccines, Exemption Rates, and Provisional Enrollment Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2016–17 School Year, the median rate of medical exemptions in the US was just 0.2%, with a range of <0.1 to 1.5%.
In West Virginia and Mississippi, states that don’t allow non-medical exemptions and where criteria for medical exemptions are fairly strict, the rates were 0.1 and 0.3% respectively.
So yes, 10% is an awful lot and that’s a good sign that it is more than just a few doctors taking advantage of the law.
“If a child has a medical exemption to immunization, a physician licensed to practice medicine in New York State must certify that the immunization is detrimental to the child’s health. The medical exemption should specify which immunization is detrimental to the child’s health, provide information as to why the immunization is contraindicated based on current accepted medical practice, and specify the length of time the immunization is medically contraindicated, if known.”
Dear Colleague letter regarding guidelines for use of immunization exemptions
Why do most other states have so few medical exemptions?
Mostly because there are very few true medical reasons to skip or delay a child’s vaccines!
They include, but aren’t limited to, the contraindications and precautions listed in the package insert for each vaccine (the contraindications and warnings sections…) and by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
They don’t include many other things that are “incorrectly perceived as contraindications to vaccination,” such as things in the family medical history of the child, eczema (unless they are getting the smallpox vaccine), colic, sleep apnea, or being a picky eater.
Bob Sears doesn’t seem to like that more states are having to strengthen their vaccine laws, making it harder for kids to skip or delay their vaccines.
That seems rather ironic, as many parents likely were scared away from vaccinating and protecting their kids because of the misinformation folks like him continue to push.
Are Vaccine Laws a Form of State Sponsored Segregation?
What the latest?
The idea that vaccine laws are a form of state sponsored segregation…
“If you don’t see the historical parallels, and if it doesn’t concern you that State and now Federal Legislators think that discrimination and segregation are OK again, and you don’t realize that this is all a carefully-crafted PR campaign to sell the idea that some children are dirty and dangerous, when decades ago all kids were considered equal, then you are blind.”
Bob Sears isn’t the first to try and conflate skipping vaccines into a civil rights issue, but he is certainly the one being the most obvious about it…
Now when were all kids really considered equal in the United States?
Was it the late 1980s, when Bob thinks everyone had it so great?
Remember, that was just before the big measles outbreaks from 1989 to 1991, when 123 people died. During those three years, there were also 28 deaths from pertussis, 6 deaths from mumps, 13 deaths from rubella and 77 cases of congenital rubella syndrome!
Life was good?
Is this the worst thing Bob has ever posted?
Well, there is that time he talked about unvaccinated kids wearing yellow stars…
“…So I tell them they don’t have to whisper. They can say it loud and clear, with confidence. Ya, I guess you don’t want to advertise it around the neighborhood – that will come soon enough. Scarlet “V” anyone? No, not scarlet. Let’s make it yellow. And not a V – a star would be better. That way everyone can know at first glance who is safe to be around and who is not. That way, if your old doctor and his children are walking down the street, they can easily identify your kids and quickly cross to the other side before they get too close.
Ask your Assemblyperson which color and shape they think would be most appropriate.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended as a reference to a holocaust. Rather, it’s intended to raise the issue of prejudice and discrimination. Others have likenend vaccine injury to a holocaust. Instead, we are talking about families who choose to not vaccinate. No holocaust here.”
Dr. Bob Sears on The Vaccine Whisperers
So which historical parallel is Bob talking about this time?
“Although we give vaccines in my office every day, I oppose HB 3063. As you consider HB 3063, I thought you should have the real-world data from the largest pediatric practice in Oregon with the most patients who will be affected by your proposed bill.”
Paul Thomas goes on to explain why his patients haven’t received all of their recommended vaccines.
One reason is that he doesn’t even offer the rotavirus vaccine, although he doesn’t mention that. But how do you make an informed choice about a vaccine when the vaccine isn’t even available to you?
“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.”
Since he doesn’t think they are at any risk when they are younger, does Dr. Thomas advocate that his patients catch up on their hepatitis B series when they are older? Does he mention that until we switched to a universal vaccination program, some infants were missed and developed perinatal hepatitis B? Or the risks of needle sticks, etc.?
“These are the kinds of details and nuances that we must discuss with every vaccine. Whether we are talking about vaccines, antibiotics, ADD medication, or even a surgical procedure, we spend a good deal of time with our patients providing what we in medicine call “informed consent.” We explain the risks and benefits of the recommended medical intervention, the risks and benefits of not doing the intervention, and the alternatives. These conversations are best had in the privacy of a doctor’s office, not in the state legislature. As each child is different, we do not believe there should be any one-size-fits-all medicine. “
“Finally, I am also concerned that thousands of families will either leave Oregon-as tens of thousands of families have left California – or leave the public school system and homeschool instead. While I have nothing against homeschooling, I believe this would result in a large and unfortunate loss of revenue for Oregon’s already underfunded public schools. “
It’s a good reminder that the one lesson Oregon can learn from California is to make stricter rules on what counts as a medical exemption…
“We all have the same goal, which is to help Oregon’s children survive and thrive. No one wants a recurrence of infectious diseases in Oregon or anywhere in the United States. “
If Paul Thomas’ real motivation was to stop the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease and keep states from passing new vaccine laws, then maybe he should stop scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.
“I hired an independent data expert, Dr. Michael Gaven, MD, to analyze the outcomes from my practice as part of a quality assurance project. Dr. Gaven studied the outcomes for those patients born into my practice during the past decade, since I opened my doors on June 1 2008.”
What outcomes? Is it how many of the kids in his practice developed vaccine-preventable diseases unnecessarily?
No, Paul Thomas published data that he thinks says that his unvaccinated kids get less autism than everyone else, except that there is a lot of bias in the numbers, we don’t know how many kids left his practice (especially any who might have developed autism), or even what criteria he uses to diagnose kids with autism. The numbers likely aren’t even statistically significant.
So while you are thinking about whether or not your state legislators should be taking away your personal belief vaccine exemption, a better question would likely be why they added them in the first place.
“The Franklin quote he nodded to on Tuesday, ironically, means the opposite of what Paul was arguing. When Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” he was opposing the Penn family’s attempt to carve out an exception for themselves from the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s attempt to tax their lands for the collective good of frontier defense. The liberty Franklin was defending was the liberty the rest of us deserve now, too — liberty to choose to protect ourselves.”
Saad B Omer on Rand Paul is wrong: Vaccines are no threat to liberty
It should be clear that Ben Franklin’s quote shouldn’t be used to attack vaccine mandates. If anything, it can be used to attack free-riders and those who skip or delay vaccines and try to hide in the herd!
“It is a quotation that defends the authority of a legislature to govern in the interests of collective security. It means, in context, not quite the opposite of what it’s almost always quoted as saying but much closer to the opposite than to the thing that people think it means.”
Benjamin Wittes onBen Franklin’s Famous ‘Liberty, Safety’ Quote Lost Its Context In 21st Century
Interestingly, Benjamin Franklin did famously talk about vaccines, or at least smallpox variolation.
“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”
He got a little temporary safety, avoiding the side effects of variolation, but what were the consequences? What did he lose?