Could California Law To Boost Vaccine Uptake End Up Reducing It?

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Ah, California. Hotbed of vaccine refusal, home to vaccine “exemption clusters” that might have been at the root of the 2010 pertussis outbreak in that state. Marin County CA, for example, can boast a high frequency of parents claiming exemptions from vaccinating their children because of “personal belief,” which doubled there from 2005 to 2013. In some schools in that county, as many as three-quarters of entering kindergartners enroll with a personal belief exemption.

Alarmed at this growing resistance to prevention of deadly infectious disease, public health officials in California sought a change to the exemption. The California Assembly passed a bill requiring parents opting out of vaccinations to obtain a healthcare professional’s signature confirming that the parents had first received information about the risks and benefits of vaccines. A legislator-pediatrician authored the bill, which received broad support from medical entities in California, according to Bruce Pomer, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California, writing in an op-ed at Capitol Weekly.

But, there was a hitch, and now some public health experts are deeply concerned that a loophole in the new exemption language could actually end up boosting opt-outs.

The loophole, included at the direction of California Governor Jerry Brown, is a religious exemption that would allow parents to evade seeing a medical professional. The evasion is as easy as checking a box [PDF] declaring that one’s religion precludes one from seeing said medical professionals. Which religions that might be is unclear; those that appear to be most common in, say, Marin County, don’t tend to prohibit adherents from turning to licensed healthcare practitioners.

Written By: Emily Willingham
continue to source article at forbes.com

11 COMMENTS

  1. I really feel strongly about the first amendment and allowing people to believe what they will as long as doesn’t intrude on the rights of others. In this case I can’t stand by someone saying that for religious reasons they will not vaccinate their children. The problem I have with it is that by not vaccinating your children you could potentially infringe on the rights of others. When people don’t vaccinate their children and then their child contracts whatever illness the vaccine was meant to stop their child now becomes an incubator for that illness. If enough people get it the disease could mutate and become virulent even to people who were vaccinated. These people don’t realize that their decision doesn’t affect just them but could possibly affect those around them.

  2. I wonder how many anti-vaccination people would refuse to have smallpox immunisation if smallpox was still around? Small only in name, smallpox killed and disfigured countless millions.

  3. At times like this I say, “Man is a recent experiment. It looks like it will fail. Better it fails before it takes the rest of the species of earth with it.”

    It is counter survival to allow other members of your species to seriously, deliberately endanger your health, no matter what cock-eyed excuses they give.

  4. Parents should have the right not to vaccinate, but I think those who choose to vaccinate should also weigh the risks on a per vaccination bases. You are all getting so worked up about the religious aspect you are failing to recognize educated people may choose not to immunize their children for many reasons, many of the immunizations given to children are new untested and for non life threatening diseases. Our society is obsessed with over medicating, all parents should educate themselves on the cost and benefits of each chemical cocktail injected into their children.

    • In reply to #7 by Puck:

      Parents should have the right not to vaccinate, but I think those who choose to vaccinate should also weigh the risks on a per vaccination bases. You are all getting so worked up about the religious aspect you are failing to recognize educated people may choose not to immunize their children for many reasons, many of the immunizations given to children are new untested and for non life threatening diseases. Our society is obsessed with over medicating, all parents should educate themselves on the cost and benefits of each chemical cocktail injected into their children.

      No they shouldn’t. If you don’t immunise your child for pertussis (whooping cough) the level of immunity in the community (herd immunity) goes down. As a result babies, who are too young to be immunised, get pertussis and die. It’s not just about the effect on your child.

      Michael

    • In reply to #7 by Puck:

      You are all getting so worked up about the religious aspect

      No. The reason the religious aspect is focused on here is because there are sometimes legitimate medical reasons not to vaccinate, and those reasons should be respected. Non-medical “religious issues” should not be given the same respect, as they endanger those who cannot be vaccinated and must rely on herd immunity.

      Actually, I doubt most anti-vax ijits really have a religious reason for not having their kids vaccinated. They just use religion as an excuse.

    • In reply to #7 by Puck:

      Parents should have the right not to vaccinate,

      Why, shouldn’t it be someone who knows what they’re talking about?

      but I think those who choose to vaccinate should also weigh the risks on a per vaccination bases.

      What risks? Choosing vaccines individually on a case by case basis is a good way to let thousands of people who can’t and shouldn’t be making those decisions have to make them without all the information or understanding. That’s why I can’t decide whether I’d like the brakes on my car or just hope for the best.

      You are all getting so worked up about the religious aspect

      No that’s what the article is about, you’re OT.

      you are failing to recognize educated people may choose not to immunize their children for many reasons,

      No one is failing to recognise there are good reasons to not to vaccinate. Making this statement not only shows your lack of understanding but also damages the argument for the people that actually can’t be vaccinated.

      many of the immunizations given to children are new untested and for non life threatening diseases. Our society is obsessed with over medicating, all parents should educate themselves on the cost and benefits of each chemical cocktail injected into their children.

      Is this a deliberate lie or have you been under a rock for years?

      Everything in the world is made of chemicals or chemical compounds, I like H20 and O2 but that list is long. Your failure to understand what the words you are using mean is impeding your communication and comprehension in addition to damaging those who you have talked to.

      If anyone asks anyone for a medical opinion and the answer isn’t go see your Doctor then the answer is wrong. Medicine is no place for happy amateurs and silly statements about “chemicals”!!

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