Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Washington *#&$: Mississippi does something right

The vaccine bill passed the House Education Committee yesterday but was gutted and grants only medical waivers.  The Washington *#&$ praised Mississippi for its mandatory (for schools) vaccine law:

Credit: New Yorker

 It’s tough being a child in Mississippi. The state has the nation’s worst rates for infant mortality and low-weight newborns. Its childhood poverty rate ranks as the nation’s second worst. Overall, the residents of Mississippi are the unhealthiest in the country.

But there is one notable exception to these dour health stats: Mississippi has the highest vaccination rate for school-age children. It’s not even close. Last year, 99.7 percent of the state’s kindergartners were fully vaccinated. Just 140 students in Mississippi entered school without all of their required shots.

 Compare that with California, epicenter of the ongoing Disney measles outbreak, where last year almost 8 percent of kindergartners — totaling 41,000 children — failed to get the required immunizations against mumps, measles and rubella. In Oregon, that number was 6.8 percent. In Pennsylvania, it was nearly 15 percent, or 22,700 kindergartners. And each of these states has suffered measles outbreaks in the last two years....

 Daniel Salmon, associate professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-authored a study that found states offering personal belief exemptions had higher rates of whooping cough — a vaccine-preventable disease. A similar effect was seen in states that made those exemptions easy to obtain.

Use arrow keys on keyboard to move left and right on chart.

But, Salmon said, he doesn’t oppose all nonmedical exemptions. The exemptions just needed to be narrow, and parents should be educated about the risks of not vaccinating.

“This is a balancing act,” Salmon said. “There are important policy implications [to allowing parents to make decisions about their children’s health]. But it shouldn’t be easy — the path of least resistance.”....

 In the early 1970s, the CDC found that states with school vaccine mandates had about half the measles rate of states without the laws. By 1980, every state had a law on its books. But over the years, more and more states added exemptions.....

 In 1979, the Mississippi Supreme Court wrote a strongly worded defense of the state program, “Is it mandated by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that innocent children, too young to decide for themselves, are to be denied the protection against crippling and death that immunization provides because of a religious belief adhered to by a parent or parents?”

The push to change the law has heated up in recent years, led by a group called Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights. State lawmakers now are considering a bill carving out personal belief exemptions to the state vaccination law. While similar bills in previous years stalled in a state legislature health committee, this year’s initiative is being considered by a state education committee. And public health officials are watching this with alarm.

“We’re hopeful,” said Mary Jo Perry, co-director of the vaccine rights group. “I think what we’re asking is reasonable.”

Perry, who lives outside Jackson, Miss., is not the stereotypical anti-vaccine activist. All three of her children are completely immunized. But her youngest child suffered seizures after a whooping cough vaccine when he was young. She wished she could have delayed or skipped the shot.
In other states, she might have had that right.

“I think Mississippi has been exploited by its reputation for ignorance,” she said.

But Currier, who runs the state health department, said the lack of exemptions is important. Mississippi faces enough health challenges without worrying about measles or whooping cough....

To prove the point, West Virginia health officials love to pull out a chart. It’s a Council on Foreign Relations map showing several years of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. The outbreaks are listed as colored dots — brown for measles, green for whooping cough and so on.

The face of the United States looks like it’s suffering from a severe case of chicken pox. But the complexions of Mississippi and West Virginia are clear. The colored dots stop at the states’ borders. Gupta pointed out that a measles epidemic last year in Columbus, Ohio, which infected 377 people not far from West Virginia, never made it into the Mountaineer state.

“Immunizations work,” Gupta said. “It’s not rocket science.” Rest of article


Anonymous said...

I am sure our state will manage to fuck this up, like we do with pretty much every good thing.

Anonymous said...

KF, there's a medial waiver from a state licensed physician currently so I'm a bit confused .

How is the bill that got out of the Education Committee different?

What wasn't gutted? How does it change existing law?

Anonymous said...

Pls post the names of any anti-vaccination legislators so we can take them to the woodshed.

Anonymous said...

Should read" medical waiver". I have trouble with sufficient pressure on keyboards.

I agree with 9:13 am

I want to donate money to whomever is running against these yahoos.

Anonymous said...

7:14, under current law the Dept. of Health can refuse to issue a medical waiver, although they say as a matter of policy they always approve waivers issued by doctors. The bill was changed to put into law that the Dept. of Health must approve medical waivers issued by physicians.

Anonymous said...

5:52pm Thank you.
Does the bill still read " state licensed physicians"?

I would not want a loophole where physicians who have lost their license due to drugs or mental illness or incarceration able to use this as a money making opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some who characterize parents wanting to have the right to evaluate which vaccines their kids receive didn't know: Congress established a "death & disability" tax on childhood vaccines more than 25 years ago when the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Comp Program (VICP). When you pay for a vaccination the cost is taxed and the money goes into a special fund to compensate those whom vaccines seriously injure or kill. As of Nov 1, 2013, more than $2.5 billion was paid out of the fund for thousands of injuries & deaths caused by vaccines. Numerous cases are still pending. Awards were issued for permanent injuries such as learning disabilities, seizure disorders, mental retardation, paralysis, and numerous deaths, including many that were initially misclassified as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Perhaps you who are so critical of MS doing what 31 other states have done might want to research some of the injuries.
Health Resources and Services Administration. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Anonymous said...

10:21, A measles outbreak ALONE could cost the US $175 BILLION. Add in whooping cough and other easily preventable diseases that KILL EN MASS, and you've got trillions of dollars in medical expenses in a small fraction of the 25 years of the VICP. Most of that money has gone to allergic reactions, which are a MINUSCULE percentage of those getting vaccinated.

since you want to talk money, tell me again which is a lesser risk ?

"During 2000-2013, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths worldwide."

Anonymous said...

The reason for the VICP is so companies are willing to make vaccines. The antivaxers believe their is a PHARMA conspiracy behind vaccine mandates, but actually the big drug companies would make a lot more money on drugs to treat diseases than on vaccines to prevent them. The vaccine business is not so lucrative, so the threat of law suits would shut down production without the compensation fund.

Anonymous said...

Go to CNN Money to see who is, like our Tea Party, paying to go back to 1850.

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