California’s kids receive more than 50 childhood vaccinations. However, not all parents agree with the aggressive vaccination schedule and opt out.
But this option will no longer be a choice, now that a new state law has been passed. AB 2109 states that children will not be allowed to attend public school without proof that parents have been counseled, and children vaccinated.
In the 1960′s, children received only four vaccines: Smallpox, measles, polio and mumps vaccines. Now, children could receive as many as 24 shots by 2 years of age and five shots in a single visit, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
There is a growing belief among parents that the dramatic rise in autism is directly related to the increase in childhood vaccinations. Many parents don’t want the state taking the decision to vaccinate or not, away from them.
AB 2109 will require parents of public school children to either get their children vaccinated, or acquire a waiver from a doctor or nurse saying they have been counseled about the benefits and risks of immunization. But acquiring this waiver is not as easy as it sounds. Many parents testified at the legislative hearings that they had been “fired” by their pediatricians for daring to question the vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control admits that as many as 30,000 adverse reactions to vaccinations are reported every year. And between 3,000 and 4,500 severe vaccine reactions, up to and including death, occur every year in the United States. Some doctors say that the numbers of severe reactions to vaccinations are much higher than the CDC’s numbers.
The committee hearings about AB 2109 were full of emotion and drama. Debate over the vaccine bill was highly contentious, with Democratic legislators largely ignoring parental concerns.
No vaccinations, no public school
AB 2109 is by Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who is also a medical doctor.
The issue at the root of Pan’s bill is the influx of children from other countries into California’s public schools, who bring with them new strains of measles, mumps, chicken pox and flu bugs, among other communicable diseases. Children who have recently traveled out of the country also bring home infectious diseases. Instead of dealing with the root of the problem, with the stroke of a pen, the Legislature and governor decided that every child must get vaccinated.
Doctors do battle
According to Dr. Pan, “California is one of only 20 states that allows for a personal beliefs, or philosophical exemption, to school or childcare immunization requirements. Under current law, to exempt the child from the immunization requirements, a parent or guardian must only provide a signed written statement or sign their name to a two-sentence standard exemption statement on the back of the School Immunization Record. While parents do have a choice to exempt their children, they are not required to document their concerns about vaccines or affirm that they have reviewed fact-based, accurate information regarding the risks and benefits of vaccines and the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”
According to Dr. Bob Sears, a pediatrician in Orange County and opponent of AB 2109, who testified at the hearings, “The largest study done to date on this issue (Dismissing the family who refuses vaccines: A study of pediatrician attitudes, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Oct. 2005) reveals that 39 percent of American pediatricians state they will dismiss patients from their office for non-compliance with vaccinations.”
National Vaccine Information Center
“Dr. Pan misled his colleagues into believing that that forcing parents to pay for a doctor’s appointment to beg a hostile pediatrician or medical worker to sign a personal belief exemption form is all about education,” the NVIC wrote on its website.
“Medical trade associations that helped Dr. Pan lobby the state legislature included the California Medical Association, Health Officers Association of California, California Immunization Coalition and the American Academy of Pediatrics. In public hearings this year, educated, articulate mothers and fathers stood up to these powerful medical groups and defended their parental and informed consent rights.
In a syndicated Associated Press article, Dr. Pan lashed out at families sending their children to private schools and accused them of becoming too educated about vaccination. Dr. Pan said: “In private schools, these are people who have money, who are upper middle class, and they are going on the internet and seeing information and misinformation.”
Parents and Chiropractors oppose AB 2109
“This bill is a complete violation of human rights and parents rights to choose what they feel are best health care practices for their children,” a mother and chiropractor wrote on the bill website. “There is no research that shows what happens to vaccines and all the ingredients once they are injected. Without this knowledge, one cannot conclude that vaccines do not cause things such as neurological damage, autoimmune disorders, increased allergies and toxic overload.”
She wrote exactly what many parents and Chiropractors tried to convey at the hearings, but were not allowed time to speak.
However, support for AB 2109 by traditional medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies and associations was nearly universal. The California Medical Association, the California Pharmacy Association, the Association of Physician Assistants, the California State Employees Association, the County Health Executive Association, as well as the doctors and dentists’ unions, testified in support of AB 2109 at the hearings.
And they brought in many young doctors and medical students to show support for the bill, all offering assurances that they would sign a waiver form for parents opting out of vaccinations.
“Could it be that doctors with financial ties to medical trade associations, vaccine manufacturers and government health agencies are lobbying so hard to severely restrict or get rid of all vaccine exemptions because, every day, there are more and more Americans, who know somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again?” the NVIC asked.
AB 2109 appeared to gather a life of its own during the process. No matter how many parents and doctors showed up at committee hearings to oppose it, Democratic committee members appeared deaf to their concerns, as if operating on a strict agenda. Even if legislators disagree with the claim that vaccinations cause autism and other health problems in children, the more disturbing aspect was their willingness to throw parents’ rights out of the window.
The bill was sponsored by the California Immunization Coalition, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Medical Association, and the Health Officers Association of California.
The California Immunization Coalition Board of Directors is made up of primarily public health doctors, pharmacologists, and medical industry consultants and lobbyists, and is a perfect example of special interests pushing a bill from which they will greatly benefit.
“When you follow the money, you realize that vaccine makers are the ones pulling the political strings to eliminate vaccine exemptions,” the NVIC explained. “Make no mistake about it, it’s the Pharma-funded medical trade associations and state and federal health agency employees that are lobbying in state legislatures for non-medical vaccine exemptions to be removed, and it has everything to do with maximizing profits, and nothing to do with protecting people’s health from every disease under the sun.”
(Katy Grimes is a longtime political analyst, writer and journalist, and CalWatchdog’s news reporter. Originally posted on CalWatchdog.)