Just like Mississippi. The legislature takes up a bill a bill to make it easier for parents to keep their children from getting vaccines while California experiences an outbreak of measles. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning:
Health and school officials in California are racing to stem the spread of a measles outbreak that began at the Disneyland Resort last month and has renewed a debate about a growing trend of opting out of vaccination.
Students lacking measles vaccination are being sent home from schools where the disease has been identified, and health officials are sounding the alarm about the importance getting immunized.
“The safety of students on all of our campuses is our top priority and we will follow all recommendations and necessary guidelines to guarantee their safety,” said Greg Plutko, superintendent of the Huntington Beach Union High School District, where unvaccinated students were sent home until Jan. 29 after a student was diagnosed with measles earlier this month.
The latest outbreak has affected at least 59 people in California and seven others elsewhere in the U.S.
State health officials cautioned on Wednesday that people who haven’t been immunized should avoid public spaces with large crowds, such as theme parks or airports, as part of efforts to control the spread. It is standard protocol to send unvaccinated children home from school when there has been a measles case there, they said.
Officials believe those with vaccinations are safe to go to such places.
Seven of Disneyland’s 27,000 or so employees have been diagnosed with measles, park officials said Thursday, and four of them have been cleared to return to work. Staff have been offered free vaccinations and immunity tests. Attendance at the Anaheim, Calif., resort hasn’t been affected, officials said....
Measles, a highly contagious respiratory disease that begins with a fever, cough and runny nose and evolves into a red rash, can be more disruptive to daily life than other infectious diseases such as chickenpox. In some cases it can lead to severe complications like pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccination rates are high nationally; 94.7% of kindergartners in the 2013-2014 school year were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, according to a survey by the CDC in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The vaccine is more than 99% effective, according to California health officials.
But public-health experts are concerned about communities where many families opt out of immunizations for their children. One case of measles can spread quickly in such groups.
These parents fear vaccines can have harmful effects on their children, with some believing that they are linked to autism—concerns that public-health officials and most scientists reject as unfounded.
Most states allow parents to opt out of vaccination for their children for reasons of personal belief or religion.
A study published this month of the electronic health records of roughly 154,000 children in northern California found that vaccine refusal by parents, or the choice not to have all 17 recommended shots, has risen in recent years and occurs more frequently in certain pockets of the population.
The percentage of children who didn’t receive all recommended shots in the study climbed to 12.4% in 2010-2012, up from 8.1% in 2002-2005.
“There’s pretty good evidence that where there are clusters of children who don’t receive all their vaccines, those communities are at higher risk of preventable diseases like measles than other communities,” said Tracy Lieu, director of Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research in northern California.
While measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000—meaning it is not circulating regularly—there have been some severe outbreaks in recent years. From 2001 through 2011, there were 16 outbreaks with more than 10 individual cases each, the largest topping out at 34 cases. In 2013, there were 58 cases in one outbreak in New York; and in 2014, an outbreak among an Amish community in Ohio totaled 383 cases, according to Jane Seward, deputy director at the division of viral diseases at the CDC.
“This California instance is a fairly large outbreak in the post-elimination era,” said Dr. Seward, who described the number of cases nationally in recent years as alarming......
Meanwhile, the Clarion-Ledger reported a bill was introduced in the legislature that will make it easier for parents to withhold such vaccines from their children:
Mississippi already allows medical exemptions requested by a state-licensed doctor, but it sometimes has denied them, prompting politicians to get involved on parents’ behalf. “What we really have is a political waiver,” said state Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, who introduced the bill.The co-founder of Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights, Mary Jo Perry, said
In its opposition, the state Department of Health cites the overwhelming success of immunizations in worldwide disease reduction and lack of scientific evidence that they cause autism or other serious issues.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs said he understands parental concerns but called the effort led by Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights misguided and dangerous. “We are sympathetic to parents, and we certainly are willing to work with everyone,” Dobbs said. “But in states with weaker laws, the public pays the price.”
Dobbs pointed to a recent resurgence of diseases that had all but disappeared until parents stopped vaccinating their children. He noted a rise in whooping cough cases in Michigan and said Mississippi could be next if it allows more exemptions.
All states have medical exemptions that allow an unvaccinated or under-vaccinated child to attend daycare or school, but only Mississippi and West Virginia lack either religious or philosophical/conscientious waivers, according to the National Vaccine Information Center.
Michigan allows medical, religious and philosophical/conscientious exemptions.
On denial of medical exemptions, Dobbs acknowledged the Health Department had exempted only children with specific contraindications to vaccines and denied the rest.
But that recently changed.
“We have made the medical exemption process easier lately, leaving decisions between patients and doctors,” he said. “No request was denied in 2014, and we had a 140 percent increase in vaccine exemptions since 2007.” Article
she hears countless similar stories. Immunizations can trigger not just autism, she said, but Type 1 diabetes, asthma, heart problems and other lifelong complications.No scientific proof. No doctor's reports. Just an assertion not backed up by anything but what she hears from others. The article includes one heartbreaking story about one mother whose child developed autism:
Lauren Lynch helplessly watched her happy, healthy toddler transform overnight into an inconsolable stranger who stopped talking, shunned affection and spent hours just rolling on the floor.
Eight years later, Lynch’s son, Wiatt, still hasn’t fully recovered from the symptoms she believes childhood immunizations caused.
“He was perfect when we took him in there,” Lynch said, “and he was not when we left.”.....
Lynch has read the medical research and heard the reassurances from doctors like Dobbs, but she can’t shake the haunting memory of what happened to her son. To her, that trumps everything.
“I never once questioned anything — nothing — until I saw it happen with my own eyes,” she said. “Prove to me that vaccines didn’t cause this. You can’t.”
Flip the question in reverse: Can anyone prove the vaccines did cause this? Maybe we should give them what they want: No vaccines. Maybe we need a new generation of kids becoming paralyzed, dying, or merely suffering from polio, measles, and other diseases. Then everyone can be happy. This post will end with a chart from today's Journal: