6/16/15 On 2/19/15 California State Senators Richard Pan (a pediatrician) and Ben Allen introduced SB 277, called by some the Mandatory Vaccination Bill, which requires all children in both public and private schools, with the exception of certain types of homeschools (those that do not have classrooms as part of the curriculum, but most homeschools do have classrooms) to be fully vaccinated with more than 40 doses of 10 different vaccines in order to attend school (and attending school is mandated by California law).
I have previously written about this bill here. Please read https://drrandybaker.com/2015/04/17/measles-hysteria-and-california-sb-277/ first if you have not read it yet for an overview of this important and complex issue.
This post is an update, as there have been some important developments since my previous blog post. On 5/14/15 the California State Senate passed SB 277 by a 25 to 10 vote. On 6/9/15 SB 277 was considered by the State Assembly Health Committee. Hundreds of concerned citizens attended the hearing and voiced their opinions, with those opposing it (including many doctors, scientists and teachers) outnumbering those in favor by at least 5 to 1. There was extensive testimony by experts both in favor and against the bill, the most notable expert against it being Dr. Jay Gordon. While those who testified against the bill made many valid points as to why this bill is unnecessary and unlikely to significantly have any positive impact on public health, the testimony of citizens and scientists appeared to make no impact upon the Assembly members, who apparently already had their minds made up, and the Committee voted yes by a 12-6 margin along party lines (the Democrats voting yes and Republicans no). That means that the State Assembly is likely to vote on the bill next week (probably on 6/25) and the odds of it passing appear quite strong, given the strong majority of Democrats in the Assembly.
I was rather amazed when Senator Pan said at the Assembly Health Committee hearing (with a straight face) that “Thimerosal has been studied and found to be safe.” Even though this is a side issue, as thimerosal has been largely removed from vaccines and aluminum and other adjuvants are currently of greater concern, I wanted to examine the science on this and was stunned to see that in a sense Pan does have a leg to stand on. Remarkably, the CDC claims that thimerosal is safe, despite dozens of studies in the peer-reviewed medical literature demostrating its toxicity. This excellent journal article from 2014 explains why the CDC makes this claim and is another great example of why the CDC, unfortunately, can not be trusted due to its many conflicts in interest: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/247218/
Below is a letter that I co-wrote with some other doctors who oppose SB 277 and SB 792, a bill mandating vaccination for all workers in all private and public school early childhood education programs (Headstart, Private preK and preschools), family daycares and daycare centers) addressed to our State Assemblymen:
Dear California Elected Officials,
I write to you as a member of a coalition of Medical Doctors who believe in Medical Freedom, which is why we are joining to oppose SB 277 & SB792. We operate under the American Medical Association Code of ethics that states: “the patient should make his or her own determination about treatment… Informed consent is a basic policy in both ethics and law that physicians must honor…” The mandatory vaccine interventions being proposed in this legislation violates our code of ethics as medical professionals.
Furthermore, we are not in a current state of epidemic. The Disneyland Measles outbreak affected only 24 out of the 6.7 million school-aged children in California. This equates to just 18% of the total 134 cases of measles. The outbreak was not centered in schools and there was not a single documented transmission of the disease in a school setting. The majority of cases occurred near the epicenter and where measles spread to communities removed from the epicenter it was well contained with a small handful of cases per county. On April 17, 2015 the measles outbreak was declared over and did not result in any deaths. Does mandating 10 different vaccines for every child attending public school in response to this minor outbreak seem justified?
There is no current nor forseeable public health crisis related to vaccine-preventable diseases. Currently about 2.5% of students entering kindergarden have parents who filed a Personal Belief Exemption (PBE) . This number has steadily declined since the introduction of AB2109 just last year. Most of those who file a PBE are partially vaccinated but have parents who opt out of particular vaccines such as the Hepatitis B vaccine that have little scientific justification. OUR CURRENT SYSTEM IS WORKING and there is no public health rationale for the draconian measure of mandating vaccines.
Vaccination does not come without risk. Every year, almost 4000 severe reactions are reported to the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS), which result in prolonged hospitalization, permanent disability, or death. Since VAERS is a passive reporting system, many reactions aren’t even reported. The FDA says that as few as 1% of serious adverse reactions are reported while the CDC and American Association of Physicians and Surgeons both state that about 10% of serious adverse reactions after vaccination are reported. It is clear that there are tens of thousands of serious adverse reactions to vaccines each year. The Supreme Court has ruled that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” Over 3 billion dollars have been paid out to victims of vaccine reactions while many others who have suffered serious reactions have been denied compensation by the poorly-designed and run Vaccine Court. Knowing this, how can we take away a parent’s right to choose in the absence of any real public health crisis?
The main argument by proponents of SB 277 is that it will protect those who can not be vaccinated because they are immunocompromised. However, a child who is immunocompromised is at substantially greater risk of becoming seriously ill from a classmate with a cold, flu or stomach virus than from vaccine-preventable diseases transmitted by a classmate who is not fully vaccinated. Thus, most children who are seriously immunocompromised stay home from school.
Even if one believes that the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks (which, surprisingly, has NOT been scientifically proven), many of the vaccines mandated by SB 277 make absolutely no sense from a public health perspective. For example, tetanus is not a transmissable disease. The Hemophilus influenzae Type B (HiB) vaccine is only recommended by the CDC for children through the ages of 59 months. An excellent case can be made for the benefits of this vaccine in young children but there is no good reason to force a child entering elemetary or junior high school who has not received this vaccine to get it. However, a 12 year old who has not previously had the HiB vaccine will be forced to get it, risking serious adverse reactions for no significant benefit. Another required vaccine is for Hepatitis B, which is only transmissable through blood contact such as sharing needles and certain unsafe sexual practices. There is no good reason to mandate this for entrance to elementary school.
Doctors take an oath to “First, do no harm.” It is our responsibility to protect the interest of our patients, first and foremost. The ethical principle of informed consent to medical risk taking must be respected, especially when the procedure has been legally classified as “unavoidably unsafe.” We should not take a “one size fits all” approach when we know some individuals are at greater biological risk than others for suffering vaccine reactions. Ultimately, medical decisions for children should be made between a parent and doctor.
This country was founded in the spirit of freedom. Let’s not allow fear motivate us to begin chipping away at our most basic freedom to choose what medical procedures are best for ourselves and our children. Please protect a parent’s right to choose, and oppose SB277 & SB792.
Sincerely, Randy Baker MD
Since I co-wrote this letter, much to my dismay and disappointment, on June 8th the AMA voted in favor of new policy that “recommends that states have in place an established decision mechanism that involves qualified public health physicians to determine which vaccines will be mandatory for admission to schools and other public venues. States should only grant exemptions to these mandated vaccines for medical reasons.”
Obviously I disagree with this policy that violates informed consent. I am not optimistic about the prospects of stopping SB 277 from passing, but if our representatives in the Assembly are inundated by calls, letters and faxes by constituents asking them to vote no perhaps they will reconsider.
For another well-written commentary please see http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/why-vaccine-mandates-are-dangerous-to-democracy#ixzz3Wn8WaYTd
Addendum on 6/17/15:
The current Vaccine Schedule is set by the CDC and most doctors trust the CDC as an impartial authority that has the public’s best interest at heart. Unfortunately, while that is the way it once was as well as, of course, the way it should be, it is no longer the case.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently said
“”There are four federal studies that have looked at CDC and said the vaccine program at CDC is a cesspool of corruption.”
On 5/15/15 one of the most respected medical journals in the world, the British Medical Journal, published a very important article which received scant media attention,
“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: protecting the private good?”
by Jeanne Lenzer an associate editor of the Journal.
Quoting from this article:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes the following disclaimer with its recommendations: “CDC, our planners, and our content experts wish to disclose they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products . . . CDC does not accept commercial support.”
The CDC’s image as an independent watchdog over the public health has given it enormous prestige, and its recommendations are occasionally enforced by law.
Despite the agency’s disclaimer, the CDC does receive millions of dollars in industry gifts and funding, both directly and indirectly, and several recent CDC actions and recommendations have raised questions about the science it cites, the clinical guidelines it promotes, and the money it is taking.”
For the full article see http://cfstreatment.blogspot.com/2015/05/conflict-of-interest-cdc-accepts.html