Home > Parent Perspective, Policy > Personal Freedoms Protected with CA Bill AB2109

Personal Freedoms Protected with CA Bill AB2109

This week, as our country celebrated our independence, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to our personal freedoms.   These freedoms include – but are certainly not limited to – how we raise and care for our children.

In addition to protecting our freedoms, our government is also tasked with protecting us from harm.   Yet, when it comes to public health and state mandated immunization requirements, there has been a great deal of discussion regarding how these mandates may interfere with our personal freedoms.

In order to understand the role the government has in protecting us, we must ask ourselves, several questions.  Do we feel that it’s our responsibility, as a society, to do our best to protect one another?  Do we consider it a valid role of our government to ensure protection to us as citizens?   And should people who do not follow government mandates, thereby bringing injury or illness upon others, be held responsible?

I can’t help but refer to these questions in evaluating California Bill AB 2109. This bill, which is currently making it’s way through the state Senate, continues to allow students in the state to obtain personal immunization exemptions, but is seeking to add a requirement that parents speak with a licensed health professional first.

It’s clear that state immunization requirements exist to prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases from spreading among a vulnerable population (children) in a public place (school) where extended hours of close contact present an ideal environment where contagious diseases can quickly and easily become a public health threat.   This is how the state works to protect us.

Unfortunately, the fact remains that there are some people who have medical contra-indications to certain vaccines.  In these cases, a child who can’t be vaccinated can receive a medical exemption.  But, these children must rely on “community immunity”, which exists when a high percentage of people in a population are effectively immunized, which thereby reduces their chances, as an unimmunized person, from falling victim to a vaccine preventable disease.  This is how we – as a society – work to protect one another.

However, there are some people who – for various reasons – don’t want to vaccinate their children.  They may feel vaccines are unnecessary because they haven’t personally witnessed these diseases.  They may believe that their child’s immune system can effectively fight off any diseases, without the need for vaccines.  They may not believe that these illnesses are dangerous, and therefore not feel the need to prevent them.   Some may even question the safety of the vaccines – recognizing that vaccines carry risk, but failing to understand the greater risks that come from the diseases we are trying to prevent.  There are even some parents who do not have the time or means to bring their child for the necessary shots.  And maybe some who would rather their child not have to deal with the pain of a needle.

Whatever their reasoning, the simple fact that personal exemptions exist in almost every state is what continues to afford people with the freedom to refuse vaccinations for their children and yet still send them to public school.

So how is it that those who oppose CA Bill AB2109 feel that their personal freedoms are being threatened?  The bill doesn’t eliminate their choice to get an exemption.   It only changes the way parents would have to file for the exemption. 

It appears that the bill seeks to eliminate the exemptions that come as a matter of convenience – from parents who find it easier to just sign an exemption form as opposed to scheduling and taking their child in for an immunization.   In other words, why should it be easier to get an exemption from a mandate than to actually follow the mandate?

Parents who feel strongly about not vaccinating should actually welcome this bill because it ensures that their freedoms are protected.  They should consider that if people continue to exempt their children as a matter of convenience than public health officials and health care providers may recognize the serious risk this presents to the community immunity that protects even the unvaccinated.  This may encourage them to suggest laws that eliminate personal exemptions all together.  (In fact, this was suggested as a future possibility in VT’s recent exemption debates.)

Sadly, many parents who completely refrain from immunizations admit that they only care about protecting their own children.  They often express a great deal of distrust towards the government and don’t typically see eye to eye with the majority of medical professionals.  But they also claim that there are plenty of medical professionals that share their opinions about immunizations.  Therefore, it shouldn’t be difficult for them to adhere to the new requirements and while it may require an extra step, it’s a small price to pay to retain their personal freedom of choice.

On the other hand, those parents who are uncertain about their decision to immunize their child or not will hopefully use this opportunity to meet with an expert who can answer their questions and help them make an informed decision that can have important implications on the health of their children.

Even though I don’t live in California, I feel that I have a vested interest in this bill – as both a parent and a citizen.  Diseases have no boundaries.  Therefore, anywhere there are growing numbers of unimmunized children is a concern to me – not just because unvaccinated children are more likely to fall ill and spread disease (even to my vaccinated children), but mainly because I care about all children – not just my own.  I don’t want to see any children suffer or die from vaccine preventable diseases.  If this bill can help prevent that from happening, without restricting someone’s freedoms and personal choice, than it seems like a win-win for all.

  1. July 6, 2012 at 5:17 am

    The choice of words is interesting… “In other words, why should it be easier to get an exemption from a mandate than to actually follow the mandate?” Is there a vaccine mandate? Doesn’t the word mandate indicate that you have no choice? Who decides if your child has medical contra-indications to vaccines? AB2109 does not require the physician to allow the exemption after you have been educated. AB2109 creates the mandate implied in this article. You know your child better than I do. You know your child better than your senator, your assemblyman, your school nurse, your pediatrician, and Christine Vara (author). I don’t just care about all children, I care about all parents. Parents love their children and leap insurmountable hurdles to protect and do what’s best for them. That doesn’t mean that we should set up more hurdles. I support you, the parent.

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  2. Lawrence
    July 6, 2012 at 5:35 am

    @Amy – doesn’t our responsibilities as a parent include making responsible choices for our children? Doesn’t it include becoming educated by real experts & our chosen pediatrician, instead of listening to Playboy Bunnies and surfing random sites on the Internet?

    If you follow your own advice, then why would you turn around and listen to another group of people (like the folks at AoA or the NVIC) that also know “nothing” about your child?

    This bill allows for parents to receive factual and relevant information before deciding whether or not to pursue vaccinations. Why is that such a threat?

    When I see my children’s pediatrician, I feel it is my duty as a parent to ask questions, listen to the answers provided and together, make the best decision for my children. This bill is such a threat to the anti-vaccination crowd, because they realize that parents will be provided with the real risks and benefits of vaccines – not the apocalyptic vision they themselves have tried to sell.

    And if you so against government mandates – go ahead & get rid of your child safety seats (government mandates), or don’t wear a seatbelt (government mandate) – this isn’t a mandate for anything other than getting educated – again, why is that such a threat?

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  3. Christine Vara
    July 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

    @Amy – Perhaps my choice of wording (“mandate”) confuses the issue a bit. The point I was trying to make is that school immunizations are a requirement, unless of course a parent can provide the school administration with an exemption form (medical, philosophical or religious). Each state has different laws governing this and some exemption forms can be completed simply by the parent signing the form right then and there at the school. Yet, to adhere to the policy, parents need to make immunization appointments for their children, take time off of work to bring them to the appointment, and then return to the school with the appropriate immunization record to prove that the shots are up-to-date.

    When it is easier for parents to file an exemption than to actually adhere to the policy/mandate/requirement (or whatever you want to call it), than we will continue to have some parents filing exemptions as a matter of convenience (not as a matter of conviction). That is the concern here. If parents feel strongly about not vaccinating their children than they should have to go through the same process as everyone else. Then parents who may have just used the exemption as a matter of convenience will be required to visit the doctor anyway and will probably just get their child vaccinated. This all helps to contribute to our community immunity, which is ultimately what helps protect even those children whose parents don’t want to immunize them with the actual vaccine.

    Additionally, the way I understand these exemptions, is that the doctors don’t have to “approve” the exemption, they simply have to sign the form indicating that they have provided the parent with information regarding the risks of refusing the vaccine and the benefits of protecting a child through vaccination. Perhaps that’s another way in which parents are being mislead by those who are arguing against this bill.

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  4. lilady
    July 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Why should we believe anything that Amy Mccay believes…when she links to her Facebook page, which links to the “NVIC” the “Ho-Po Living Section” and the “Gardasil Kills” websites as the sole science research sites that she reads on the internet?

    Stop playing semantics with the word “mandate” Amy. Try looking at the California State Education Law, the California Health and Safety Code and the California Administrative Code for clarification about the immunization requirements for school entry.

    Also read AB 2109 through your own eyes…not the interpretation you read at notorious anti-vaccine websites.

    “Who decides if your child has medical contra-indications to vaccines? AB2109 does not require the physician to allow the exemption after you have been educated. AB2109 creates the mandate implied in this article.”

    A licensed health care provider who knows which specific medical contraindications apply to which specific vaccines…makes that decision and it is not based on “mommy intuition” or the pseudoscience anti-vaccine opinions of the “journalists” who write for the notorious anti-vaccine websites.

    The physician “does not allow” the (non-medical) exemption Amy. Where did you read that in AB 2109? The law doesn’t not abridge any parent’s right to “opt out” of immunizations, after they have received information from their child’s physician about immunizations and the serious, sometimes deadly, consequences of not immunizing the child.

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  5. ella
    July 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Amy,
    Your points were extremely well-taken. The doctor should not have the right to decide whether or not to grant the exemption requested. The parent should not have to do more than sign a form that says he or she does not wish to have their child vaccinated, end of question. The law MUST provide that if the parent doesn’t want the shot, the doctor MUST sign a form granting an exemption. Vaccines have damaged and are continuing to damage millions of children, many of us have learned this the hard way. Other parents certainly have the right to learn from our experience, and if they choose to take their chances with the natural diseases rather than vaccine damage, they have every right to do so, and should not be hassled in any way.
    The parent’s primary responsibility is to their own child. Vaccine damage is extremely real and often devastating or even deadly. Bills like this one in California are designed to make it much more difficult for the parent to exercise their right to make decisions for their child as to whether or not to allow intrusive, dangerous medical interventions on their child. No, parents do not have the obligation to damage their own child to possibly protect other people’s children.

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  6. ella
    July 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Lawrence,
    Many of the parents posting at Age of Autism, as well as Barbara Loe Fisher of the NVIC, have vaccine-damaged children, which gives us very much of a right to inform other people about the damage our children have suffered, hoping to spare other parents and children the same hell. Jenny McCarthy is not the only one talking about her son who developed autism after the MMR, only the easiest cheap target. We have no money riding on our attempts to inform the public, unlike the medical industry.

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  7. ella
    July 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Lillady,
    If Amy is an activist in promoting awareness of the fact that Gardasil kills, this is to her credit, and you should be ashamed of hoping to trash her post by accusing her in insulting language of being aware of the dangers of vaccines.
    48 out of 50 states allow parents to take a religious exemption to the vaccine mandate, so anyone who believes God is very unhappy at millions of his children having their immune systems screwed up for life is certainly entitled to take it. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only two exceptions, and they both have bills pending that would allow a religious exemption there to, as the public everywhere is now extremely and rightfully wary of vaccines.

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  8. Lawrence
    July 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    @ella – given the very small actual number of people that post at AoA, they don’t represent the vast majority of parents out there, who should be receiving actual, factual information about vaccines & not the tired pack of lies that Barbara and her ilk spread.

    Why are you so frightened of parent’s talking to their pediatrician about vaccines? My wife and I both have a great relationship with our kids’ doctor and feel very comfortable having those types of conversations with her – of course, we never believed the anti-vaccine myths, but it still behooves us to be educated.

    When the true causes of autism are found, you and your friends are going to look extremely foolish…..I can only hope that day comes long before vaccine-preventable diseases become major problems again.

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  9. ella
    July 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Lawrence,
    You are insulting as well, summing up those wary of vaccines as moronslistening to the militantly attractive Jenny McCarthy and as surfing random websites. If you read the books supported by hundreds of citations to scientific and medical studies, by Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Randall Neustaedter, Cynthia Cournoyer, Wendy Lydall, Hilary Butler, and the articles in Vaccine Epidemic, you will learn a lot of factual information fully supported by the evidence that would make anyone think at least twice before getting a vaccine.

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  10. Lara Lohne
    July 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    When I was a child, there were several times that I was removed from school because there was an outbreak of some disease (typically measles) for which I was not vaccinated against. My mom was adamant about not vaccinating us and allowed the system to take us out of school. Of course she taught us to view it as discrimination, that they were not allowing us access to something we had a right to. When I was in 9th grade, a group of anti vaccine people even attempted a law suit against the county for removing us from school, stating they were being denied the right to free, public education for their children which their tax dollars helped pay for. One of the prominent fathers claimed his children had measles already, therefore didn’t need the vaccine. His children had been removed due to the father refusing to allow a titters test to be done to confirm immunity and also refusing the free vaccine that the county was providing to those who could not provide proof of immunity. I asked my mom why he refused, if his children had had measles already why did it matter. My mom told me they hadn’t had measles, they also were unvaccinated for it, but that didn’t matter, as it was the principle of the thing. That just taught me that people involved in the fight against vaccines were liars.

    In 1987, there was another outbreak threatening in our area and they again were providing free MMR vaccines to those who were not vaccinated. My mom took us out of school and took us to the county health clinic to get those free vaccines so we couldn’t be removed from school again. After all my life time up to that point of being told how evil vaccines were I was terrified that my mom was going to subject me to the dangers of vaccination. After all, she had fought it so vehemently before, railed against vaccines at home and had us all believing what she believed about vaccines, why all of a sudden did she change her mind? And if vaccines were as dangerous as she said they were, why would she put us through that danger if she cared so much about us? I was dragged kicking and screaming in to get my shot, and what I honestly believed would be my death.

    When nothing happened, my entire perspective on vaccines became confused. When I was older and expecting my own children, I was able to do my own research into VPDs and vaccines and began to understand why vaccines were available and why they were a requirement to attend public school. Those who were not vaccinated were removed from school, not as a punishment to them, but as a protection to remove them from the public in a clumsy attempt to quarantine them as much as possible from public exposure and potentially the disease that was out there threatening us. The confusion persisted through much of my first pregnancy, but I knew I needed to come to some kind of decision prior to my child being born.

    After reading everything that I read about vaccines and about the diseases, as well as recalling my own personal experience with VPDs (mumps and pertussis myself and I watched my little sister deteriorate over 6 months of time fighting meningitis to come out permanently and completely deaf in her right ear) I knew the best choice for my own children was vaccination. Knowing that they were as protected as they could be, allowed me to worry less when they were at school, and I also knew their education would not be interrupted by any outbreak that might threaten our area. My children would not be removed from school, but those who were unimmunized were still, regardless of personal or philosophical or even medical exemptions from vaccination. This was never meant to be any punishment or discrimination against these children, as my mom led me and my brothers and sisters to believe it was, but rather it was to protect them by removing them from the most likely source of exposure; public school.

    I do believe that there are many parents who don’t vaccinate and get a personal exemption simply because it is easier. My older sister was one who was going to do this, however in our school district they had pretty strict guidelines they followed before allowing a child to attend public school. If there was not an exemption in place, they gave the parents until mid January of the child’s kindergarten year to get their vaccines current. If they didn’t to that, the child was removed from school and not allowed to return until vaccinations were current. Medical exemptions and philosophical ones had to be signed by a medical professional or a religious head before the school would accept them. Philosophical exemptions were probably easier to get then medical ones as there had to be an actual medical reason the child could not be vaccinated before a doctor would sign off on that. When my sister learned about this exemption policy, she decided she would home school her children. That didn’t turn out so well and two years later her oldest son was fully vaccinated and enrolled in public school a year behind where he should have been. All this because she didn’t want to take the time to get him vaccinated on schedule, not because she was particularly against vaccines in general.

    I can understand why public school ‘mandates’ might make a parent feel their rights or freedoms regarding vaccination choice is being removed, however, as a public institution, there are going to be great risks that go along with attendance. As a public school, the safety of all the students attending needs to be taken into consideration. If there are those who are not vaccinated for any reason, they are going to be a significant minority compared to those who are vaccinated. The chance that these minority few can contract a VPD is significantly higher then one of the vaccinated students contracting the same disease, and in the case of an outbreak, it’s easier to remove the few from school to protect everyone involved then to remove the majority, and who knows which one of those unvaccinated children might end up coming into contact with someone who is part of the outbreak of the disease, contracting it and spreading it to others before they are even aware they are sick. One child infected can expose hundreds of other children and adults. Even in the vaccinated, although the chance is much smaller, the disease can spread and take hold in the population through the school children who are exposed at school. That is how my oldest son brought chickenpox home, one little boy at school had it and exposed the entire kindergarten class. All those who hadn’t had it before (two thirds of the class when all was said and done, not to mention the classes of older siblings or neighbor children who were in a different class but got exposed at home, etc) and all my other children at home, because at that time, there was not a vaccine against varicella.

    There are many things that are put into place to protect everyone, including those who choose not to vaccinate. But one thing about rights and freedoms, they end when they infringe on another’s rights and freedoms. That being the case, should you choose to send your child to school unvaccinated, against public school mandates, be prepared to have your child removed from public school should an outbreak of a VPD occur, because your right to not vaccinate should not come before my child’s right to not be exposed to potential deadly disease simply because he attends the same school as your child.

    P.S. Sorry this is so long.

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  11. Lawrence
    July 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    @ella – since you live in the echo-chamber of “AoA” and only listen to evidence that supports your flawed proposition that vaccines cause autism, nothing I say or do is going to change your mind – especially in light of still promoting Andrew Wakefield, despite all of the evidence that not only did he have a HUGE conflict of interest in his work, but also committed outright fraud at the same time.

    It gets tiresome to continue to refute the same old anti-vaccine lies over and over again – I would recommend to anyone with questions to sit down and actually talk to their pediatrician and get the facts – not listen to raving lunatics.

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  12. lilady
    July 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    @ Ella: Have you and Amy McCay actually read the law?

    Here it is for your perusal:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ab_2101-2150/ab_2109_bill_20120223_introduced.html

    See the existing law…

    “Existing law exempts a person from the above-described
    immunization requirement if the parent or guardian or other specified
    persons file with the governing authority a letter or affidavit
    stating that the immunization is contrary to his or her beliefs.
    However, whenever there is good cause to believe that the person has
    been exposed to one of the diseases, a person may be temporarily
    excluded from the school or institution, as specified.”

    See the new provision as specified in AB 2109….

    “This bill would require, on and after July 1, 2013, the
    above-described letter or affidavit to be accompanied by a form
    prescribed by the State Department of Public Health that includes a
    written statement signed by a health care practitioner, as defined,
    that indicates that the health care practitioner provided the parent
    or guardian of the person, or the person, if an emancipated minor,
    who is subject to the immunization requirements with information
    regarding the benefits and risks of the immunization and the health
    risks of specified communicable diseases. The bill would also require
    the form to include a written statement by the parent, guardian, or
    person, if an emancipated minor, that indicates that he or she
    received the information from the health care practitioner.”

    I stand by my statement above, based on AB 2109, that the child’s physician does NOT provide the exemption and only provides an affidavit that information was provided to the parent/guardian about immunizations and the diseases that vaccines prevent. The parent then provides his/her own written statement that he/she has been provided information from the child’s health care provider…and wishes to “opt out” of vaccines.

    Not only are you both ignorant about immunizations and the diseases they prevent, you have also put your own “spin” on what AB 2109 contains. Nice try…but unsuccessful.

    I won’t even dignify your off-topic defense of Amy McCay and your snide remarks directed at me.

    I will state, that I find your “sources” to be unreliable from *practitioners* of pseudoscience and from a disgraced doctor whose medical license was removed by the licensing board in the U.K. Wakefield was found guilty of inflicting grievous medical harm to the 12 children in his study, by the ordering of and conducting of invasive medically-unwarranted-painful procedures on these defenseless developmentally disabled children.

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  13. lilady
    July 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    @ Ella: Here’s a report from the MMWR about a measles outbreak in San Diego

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm57e222a1.htm

    The index patient was an unvaccinated boy aged 7 years who had visited Switzerland with his family, returning to the United States on January 13, 2008. He had fever and sore throat on January 21, followed by cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis. On January 24, he attended school. On January 25, the date of his rash onset, he visited the offices of his family physician and his pediatrician. A diagnosis of scarlet fever was ruled out on the basis of a negative rapid test for streptococcus. When the boy’s condition became worse on January 26, he visited a children’s hospital inpatient laboratory, where blood specimens were collected for measles antibody testing; later that day, he was taken to the same hospital’s emergency department because of high fever 104°F (40°C) and generalized rash. No isolation precautions were instituted at the doctors’ offices or hospital facilities.

    The boy’s measles immunoglobulin M (IgM) positive laboratory test result was reported to the county health department on February 1, 2008. During January 31–February 19, a total of 11 additional measles cases in unvaccinated infants and children aged 10 months–9 years were identified. These 11 cases included both of the index patient’s siblings (rash onset: February 3), five children in his school (rash onset: January 31–February 17), and four additional children (rash onset: February 6–10) who had been in the pediatrician’s office on January 25 at the same time as the index patient. Among these latter four patients, three were infants aged <12 months. One of the three infants was hospitalized for 2 days for dehydration; another infant traveled by airplane to Hawaii on February 9 while infectious.

    Two generations of measles cases were identified. The first generation (eight cases) included the index patient's two siblings, two playmates from his school, and the four children from the pediatrician's office. The second generation cases included three children from the index patient's school: a sibling of a child from the first generation and two friends of one of the index patient's siblings (Figure)."

    The seven year old boy, the index case, was a patient of Dr. Bob Sears who encourages parents to follow his "Alternative Vaccine Schedules". So much for your hero worship of a disgraced former doctor and Dr. Bob's "Alternative Vaccine Schedules".

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  14. July 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I don’t want my kid sick. If my kid does get sick, I don’t want her to make your kid sick. She was up to date on her vaccines until we noticed a pattern. There is a clear line that we can draw with regards to her health, growth, and happiness. Then we tried to determine if vaccines had any influence.

    OK?

    This was before we heard about “disgraced British physicians,” “playboy stripper bunnies,” “recovering childhood actors,” “sophomoric comedians,” “NVIC (what’s wrong with ‘show us the science, give us the choice?’)” or whatever new inventive pejorative someone wants to shame our questions with as if we didn’t have a brain or have had actual experience designing, conducting, and evaluating scientific experiments. (I mean, come on! I didn’t pay any attention to Jenny McCarthy when she was firing off snot rockets on MTV. Why would I pay any more attention to her when she’s answering softball questions on Larry King?!)

    Herd Immunity – After scouring medical/scientific sources, I asked several experts, who believe in vaccines, for the seminal studies that establish herd immunity. Scientifically, it seemed a remarkably high standard to achieve. I assumed somebody had done the work of actually comparing populations, measured all possible explanations, and had studies that clearly established the ‘herd’ hypothesis. Remarkably, they don’t exist. Not even the experts could show me a study that had even been attempted. Sure, there are studies that show a correlation of outbreaks and vaccine exemptions in selected instances. But, there are also studies that show outbreaks in highly vaccinated populations. One of the experts said, “It is widely believed . . .” when explaining the lack of actual bench science.

    Isn’t it reasonable to have some scientific basis (rather than a community of ‘belief’) before we make wide assumptions that ____% have to be vaccinated in order to protect everybody else? And then have that percentage change depending on what a particular expert believes?

    Outbreaks – Just as an example–because it seems to be a popular example–how many kids were sick from the San Diego Measles “epidemic?” According to the CDC . . . 12. How many of those kids are chronically ill? According to the CDC . . . none. How did the labeled “index case” contract measles in the first place? According to the CDC . . . no explanation provided. It is assumed that he contracted the disease from the unvaxed masses abroad. But, we really don’t know. And shouldn’t there be some apples-to-apples comparison to vaccine injured cases? Number of deaths caused by vaccines to children under the age of 3 since Jan 2011? According to VAERS . . . 150! And–according to the CDC–what percentage of actual vaccine injury cases are reported to VAERS? . . . 10%!

    Physician expertise – our pediatrician is a fine fellow. A competent, conscientious professional. How does he keep up on the latest, most up-to-date information on vaccine research and safety (to borrow bill author Dr. Pan’s language)? . . . He trusts the experts. Who are these experts? . . . Vaccine-maker employees. (Nope, nothing to question there, eh?)

    AB2109 – I have never before followed a piece of legislation as it matriculated through. I’m shocked! There has been no trier of fact. Extraordinary claims are made and not challenged. The bills author is allowed to stump endlessly without challenge. There is no debate. There is no evaluation of evidence. The Senate Health Committee brief on the matter truncated over 400 letters of opposition into a half page. The process does NOT work. It looks all but certain AB2109 will pass–so parents will be informed. Of course, this is the same legislature that passed AB499–so that parents won’t be informed when their children are given Gardisil shots at school.

    You might think the process works because the outcome meets with your approval. But, it’s only a matter of time before the same process is used to bring about an outcome that disgusts you.

    “He who trades freedom for security deserves neither” -Benjamin Franklin

    “America is experiencing a slow motion coup d’etat. The American empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying” -Chris Hedges

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  15. lilady
    July 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    @ Jeff Simon: I provided you with the MMWR link for the investigation of the San Diego measles outbreak. Why do you “assume” that the report is incomplete and why did Dr. Bob Sears attempt to defer criticism of his “alternative vaccine schedule” and to weasel out of his culpability for the San Diego outbreak, when questioned on his Ho-Po blog about the passage of California AB 2109?

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/03/27/dr-bob-sears-vs-seth-mnookin-measles-out/

    You still have questions about how the investigation determined who the “index case” was and how epidemiologists determined that?

    Here’s the CDC Case Surveillance Manual-Measles, so that you can see for yourself the tracing back of the “index case” during any measles outbreak. It is all based on science and laboratory tests, as well as “field” investigations to find out where and when exposures took place. Based on the complete investigation, it was determined and proven that Dr. Sears’ patient who was deliberately not vaccinated, was the “index case” who got infected while in Switzerland, who returned to San Diego and, who, in turn caused the measles outbreak.

    http://www.cdc.gov/VACCINES/PUBS/surv-manual/chpt07-measles.pdf

    It has already been explained on this blog that the VAERS reporting system is contaminated with all sorts of ridiculous reports from parents and their lawyers. Your statement about deaths from vaccines are based solely on some “statistics” that you read on non-reliable anti-vaccine websites.

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  16. Chris
    July 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Mr. Simon:

    Herd Immunity – After scouring medical/scientific sources, I asked several experts, who believe in vaccines, for the seminal studies that establish herd immunity.

    Knock yourself out. Perhaps you should take a couple of college level courses in epidemiology to actually understand the mathematics (which a bow to Dr. John Snow and Dr. Richard Ross). I would also suggest you read Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story, and do some research on the 1990s diphtheria epidemic in the former Soviet countries. Plus do some research on the resurgence of measles in the USA between 1989 and 1992, and the recent increase of SSPE in Europe. Good luck with that.

    Here is some additional reading (sorry, you ask a complicated question you get a complicated answer, and it does not help that you are approaching it with a closed minded bias):

    Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):247-53.
    Lack of association between childhood immunizations and encephalitis in California, 1998-2008.

    Pediatrics Vol. 126 No. 2 August 1, 2010 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1496)
    Lack of Association Between Acellular Pertussis Vaccine and Seizures in Early Childhood

    Pediatrics. 2010 Jun;125(6):1134-41.
    On-time vaccine receipt in the first year does not adversely affect neuropsychological outcomes.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400.
    Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.

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  17. July 11, 2012 at 7:23 am

    @Lara – Your story is so heart wrenching Lara. I can’t imagine the turmoil your mother faced dragging you kicking and screaming to what you thought was your death. I wonder if your sisters injury contributed to her change of heart. That must have been just as difficult for her as it was for you. I wonder if people blamed her for your sisters disability because she didn’t vaccinate her children. I wonder if she tried to talk to you about it but youth and fear prevented you from hearing or remembering her words.
    I fully support your decision to do what you feel is best for your child. I sincerely hope that your family never deals with any of these diseases again. I can’t help but be skeptical however, about your herd immunity concerns. Your story doesn’t indicate that you, your husband, or any of your parents are vaccine protected. We now know that vaccines do not grant lifelong immunity. I’ve seen 2-10 years on one and 8 years on another. That means my vaccines (I got all 10 of them) have not granted me any protection for more than 20 years. Likewise, my parents have been unprotected by their 6 vaccines for 45+ years. These diseases are not limited to children. If you only had one vaccine than you are definitely not a protected member of the herd. I’m not asking you to go get any boosters or stop hugging your kids. I do hope that you will reconsider your theories on herd immunity though, and not insist that every child be injected with medications that you and most of the world have not taken.

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  18. July 11, 2012 at 7:48 am

    @lilady I have considered your comments and your measles post. I quote the CDC, “Once ubiquitous, measles now is uncommon in the United States. In the prevaccine era, 3 to 4 million measles cases occurred every year, resulting in approximately 450 deaths, 28,000 hospitalizations, and 1,000 children with chronic disabilities from measles encephalitis. Because of successful implementation of measles vaccination programs, fewer than 100 measles cases are now reported annually in the United States”
    So pre-vaccine 450 out of more than 3 million cases result in death. After vaccines fewer than 100 cases of measles per year. During the Health Commitee hearing, Pan, author of AB2109 said he personally saw and attended 6 children who died of measles. How have we gone from 450 deaths in more than 3 million, to 6 deaths in 100?

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  19. lilady
    July 11, 2012 at 8:56 am

    “During the Health Commitee hearing, Pan, author of AB2109 said he personally saw and attended 6 children who died of measles. How have we gone from 450 deaths in more than 3 million, to 6 deaths in 100?”

    I believe you are wrong. I have read a similar claim on some of the notorious anti-vaccine websites, including the NVIC. The only reference I am aware that Dr. Pan made, was to outbreaks that took place during 1990-1991, specifically an outbreak in Philadelphia, where more than 6 people died from measles:

    http://www.vaccineinformation.org/measles/qandadis.asp

    “Beginning in the latter part of the 1980s, the incidence of measles increased due to large outbreaks in many U.S. cities. From 1989 to 1991, 55,622 cases were reported with a total of 123 measles-associated deaths. Half of the cases and deaths were in children younger than five years of age. The most important cause of this epidemic was low vaccination rates among preschool-age children.

    Due to extensive vaccination efforts, the number of reported measles cases began a rapid decline during the 1990s. By 2004, only 37 cases were reported—a record low. However, new cases continue to be reported, primarily in populations that have refused vaccination for religious or personal belief reasons. In 2008, CDC received reports of 140 measles cases from 19 states and the District of Columbia—the highest number since 1996. Of the 127 cases in U.S. residents, 120 had not been vaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown. Ninety-nine of these individuals were children whose parents chose not to have them vaccinated. Fifteen of the patients, including four infants, were hospitalized.

    In addition, measles is still common in many other countries and can be easily imported or contracted when traveling.”

    BTW, a common misconception about the 2nd dose of measles vaccine is that it is a “booster” shot…it isn’t. After these outbreaks of measles resulting in 55,622 cases and 123 measles-associated deaths, and after enhanced case surveillance and research, it was determined that a 2nd measles vaccine should be given to stimulate the immune systems of the 2-5 % of people who were non-responderers to a single dose of the vaccine:

    “The first dose of MMR vaccine produces good immunity to measles (95–98%), mumps (97%), and rubella (95%). The second dose of MMR is intended to produce immunity in those who did not respond to the first dose, but a very small percentage of people may not be protected even after a second dose.”

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  20. Lawrence
    July 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

    @lilady – I also believe that total mortality figures were historically underreported as well.

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  21. lilady
    July 11, 2012 at 9:10 am

    @ Amy Mccay: Would you like to provide us with some further explanations to your statements?

    “We now know that vaccines do not grant lifelong immunity. I’ve seen 2-10 years on one and 8 years on another. That means my vaccines (I got all 10 of them) have not granted me any protection for more than 20 years.”

    Please provide specifics about which ten vaccines you are discussing and how “we now know…..”

    “Likewise, my parents have been unprotected by their 6 vaccines for 45+ years. These diseases are not limited to children. If you only had one vaccine than you are definitely not a protected member of the herd.”

    Which six vaccines that your parents received 45 plus years ago, are you referring to Amy?

    “I’m not asking you to go get any boosters or stop hugging your kids. I do hope that you will reconsider your theories on herd immunity though, and not insist that every child be injected with medications that you and most of the world have not taken.”

    Again we need to know which vaccines you are referring to, in Lara’s particular case…and exactly which vaccines you think Lara might need a “booster”.

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  22. Chris
    July 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Ms. McCay, how many annual measles deaths would you consider a minimum to make the MMR vaccine worthwhile? How many babies with CRS born each year do you think is acceptable, and how many kids becoming deaf and blind should we have before you consider the MMR worth the risk? Since about one in ten with measles ends up in the hospital, how high should hospitalization costs go before you think the MMR is worth it?

    Sorry, I think of these questions when someone seems to bring up that “only 450” died per year before the measles vaccine arrived in the 1960s. Because measles, mumps and rubella also cause distress, disability and high hospital costs.

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  23. Lara Lohne
    July 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Amy,

    I will admit that I am not fully vaccinated, but since I have become an adult I have gotten what are considered ‘boosters’ even though I never had the childhood vaccines for them (with the exception of the MMR). There are some that are not easily accessible to adults from my understanding, and it is also difficult to find a doctor that takes my concerns about my own lack of vaccine coverage as serious as I do. Not to mention medical coverage doesn’t always cover adult vaccinations, which I think is a personal insult.

    My partner is as fully vaccinated as his medical coverage will allow (state health care only covers vaccines for children, not for adults) but he suffers from agoraphobia, among other disorders, so rarely leaves the house if he can at all avoid it. The chances of him contracting a VPD are rare seeing as how even when he is out, he doesn’t come into close contact with anyone because being in public terrifies him so, and being around people in particular. My mother died six and a half years ago, my father lives in a different state and I don’t have any contact with the rest of my family, for reasons I’m not going into here. The same is true of my partner and his family so regardless of any of their vaccine status, it does not affect us.

    I doubt that my sister’s deafness is part of why my mother decided to get us vaccinated that one time, seeing as how my younger sister was 12 – 18 months when she suffered from meningitis (I was four) but it wasn’t until 12 years later that she took us to get vaccinated. I don’t know why she made the choice then when she had fought it so vigorously before. My mother actually had us vaccinated against the advice of her family, parents, brother, sister, aunts and uncles, who she cloistered herself around and were extremely anti-vaccine all being part of a huge chiropractic family.

    Your statements that most of the world does not vaccinate may be true, seeing as how many poor countries lack for this essential health service, but if you look world wide, you will also see a huge concern for VPDs in these unvaccinated areas, but in areas that have a high vaccine coverage, that story does not repeat. While it is true that most vaccines do not confer life long immunity (which has been known for a while, this is not new information), I myself would much prefer to get the booster vaccine then suffer through the disease, sometimes for a second time. Have you had mumps? Pertussis? Not fun. Those are only the ones I can remember.

    Herd immunity, when it is present, keeps those who are unvaccinated for whatever reason from succumbing to the diseases they prevent. When herd immunity wanes, those who are unvaccinated get sick and some die (pertussis in infants, measles in children, teens and adults, etc.) Measles is no longer endemic in the US, meaning every case of the disease came from a source outside the US, either someone from the US traveling over seas to a measles prone area and contracting the disease, or someone from one of these areas coming to the US. In most of these cases, the infected were unvaccinated totally, their vaccine series was incomplete or they had unknown vaccine status. If we had been able to keep MMR vaccine coverage high enough, it may have been possible to wipe it out completely, like we have for small pox with the vaccine, thus eliminating the need for the MMR vaccine. A lower percentage of vaccine coverage in any population, even if it’s only 2 or 3 percent difference, can be just enough to allow this virus a foothold and time to spread. Measles remains the most infectious VPD that is out there, and it can disable and kill, along with rubella and mumps. And let’s not forget about the pain that comes along with these diseases, even if the victim survives unscathed, that is a lot of suffering that didn’t have to happen.

    All that aside, the question here is not about how effective vaccines are, or herd immunity or any of the points you have bought up, but about this California legislature, which will make it slightly more difficult or inconvenient for a parent to get a personal exemption from vaccines, but will also give them access to information they may not currently have, which in many cases can help them to understand how vital vaccines really are. My point was not meant to be heart wrenching, but to show the side of a child who was not vaccinated and how my parents’ choice affected me. How it affected my sister when she didn’t get her children vaccinated due to it being inconvenient, but when home schooling turned out to be more inconvenient for her, she got her children vaccinated so they could attend public school. And also to explain that I can understand how a person may feel this particular bill may force them to make a choice against their own personal philosophies, but if taken in the light it was intended, that is not the intent at all, but to give an opportunity for education and understanding, and to make it slightly more difficult to get an exemption then it currently is, meaning many who are currently under a personal exemption just because it’s more convenient then keeping a doctor’s appointment to get their child a shot, may change their minds and get their children vaccinated once they understand the risk involved for everyone concerned, by them not being vaccinated. A parent will still be allowed to get a personal exemption if they wish it, once the professional has signed off that they spoke to them about vaccines and the dangers of VPDs, but then they should not be surprised when one of these VPDs shows itself in their area that their children are removed from public school to protect them from the most likely place of exposure, in an attempt to minimize the spread of the disease. The point I was trying to make: go ahead and exercise your right to choose not to have your child vaccinated, but don’t get upset when your child is removed to protect those children who’s parents thought their children’s health was more important then ‘personal freedoms’.

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  24. lilady
    July 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Amy McCay made a number of statements here about vaccines and I posed some questions to her at #21 above…and she has not replied

    Amy’s Facebook page indicates that her sources for vaccine information are the Ho-Po and the NVIC:

    http://www.facebook.com/amy.mccay.7

    I again am requesting Amy to offer clarifications to her statements about vaccines and reply to my questions.

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