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BREAKING NEWS: Very early this morning it was announced by my hometown paper that, according to CNN, the head of the FDA wants states to mandate that more schoolchildren get vaccinated or the federal government will step in. (I don’t have to tell you what this is or how quickly this could spiral out of control. And not to any of our benefit.)

In a recent interview, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb (erroneously) said that because of exemption rates, some states are “creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications.”1 Something Dr. Brian Hooker disagrees with, “Pushing vaccination rates up even higher with an ineffective product is not the answer. As the editor of the journal Vaccine, Dr. Gregory Poland of The Mayo Clinic stated in 1994, “…as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons.” An MMR vaccination rate of 75% has been reported for the recent measles cluster in Rockland County, New York.”3

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However, because of this incorrect views on vaccination, Gottlieb- who is reportedly “deeply skeptical” of all exemptions except medical ones2 – stated that if “certain states continue down the path that they’re on, I think they’re going to force the hand of the federal health agencies,”2 although he was vague on exactly when and what action the federal government would take. Terrifying, nonetheless.

“Forty-seven states allow parents to opt out of childhood vaccines for religious reasons. Of those, 17, including Washington, allow parents to opt out because they feel that vaccines violate their personal or philosophical beliefs.”2

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On Tuesday, Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and state senator in California- famous for his role in the passage of SB277– sent a letter to US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams essentially asking him to ramp up efforts to scare (or threaten?) vaccine-hesitant parents:

“As our nation’s doctor, I urge you to issue a call to action on vaccine hesitancy in the United States and make this crisis a public health priority. Our nation requires your leadership to stop this attack on our nation’s health by addressing the spread of vaccine misinformation causing unwarranted vaccine hesitancy.”

(The SB277 experience in California, where personal belief exemptions were struck down in 2016, has not led to 100% vaccine compliance even within the school system. Removal of personal belief exemptions has served to alienate parents leading to an exodus from the school system (1.2%), as well as from the state, and placing the school districts in the untenable role of “vaccination enforcers.” An additional 1.4% within the school district are still unvaccinated due to Federal Individualized Education Programs, medical and other exemptions. SB277 did not change the minds of non-vaccinating parents. Instead, it pushed families out of school and created lost income to school districts.3)

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For his part, Adams, who is himself a champion of vaccines, told CNN that “states with broader exemption laws have higher numbers of unvaccinated residents, which predisposes them to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.”1 However, according to Dr. Hooker, “… vaccination does not guarantee immunization and infectious diseases routinely break out in highly vaccinated communities.”3Case in point, “When the measles vaccine was first introduced, most people over the age of 15 who had wild measles had lifetime immunity. In developed nations, like other communicable infections, measles was no longer dangerous except in rare circumstances because of inadequate nutrition, poor sanitation, and/or lack of healthcare. Because having the measles was a routine part of childhood, teens, adults, parents, and grandparents were immune. And because of maternal passive immunity, infants were protected. The death rate due to measles in Washington State in the four years prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine was 1.4 in 10,000 cases and approximately 2 in 1,000,000 in the general population.”

If the federal government mandates vaccines for all school-aged children, what will you do?

SOURCE:

  1. RTV6, ABC
  2. CNN
  3. HNN