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In the age of Donald Trump, vaccine policy is becoming politicized, with potentially deadly consequences (revisited)

The usual stereotype of an antivaxer is a hippy dippy left wing granola cruncher. The case of Texas shows that increasingly the antivaccine movement is right wing. Worse, it’s becoming more political and harder for Republican legislators to ignore. I fear vaccine science is becoming as politicized as climate science, with results disastrous for public health.

As I sat down to lay down my daily (or at least week-daily) dose of Insolence last night, my thoughts kept coming back to vaccines. Sure, as I pointed out in yesterday’s post, we seemed to have dodged a bullet in that President Trump appears on the verge of appointing someone who is actually competent and pro-vaccine as director of the CDC. Of course, none of that changes the issue that Donald Trump’s proposed budget takes a meat axe to public health programs, including vaccines, and that if Republicans succeed in dismantling the Affordable Care Act a large chunk of money going to vaccine programs at the CDC will disappear. While it’s true that the budget was declared “dead on arrival” in Congress, the very fact that Trump proposed it lets you know what his priorities are and that they aren’t public health or medical research—or, for that matter, medical care. I joked that Trump has betrayed the antivaccine movement, having built up their hopes that he would launch bogus “investigations” into the CDC or appoint a presidential commission to look into vaccine safety, but then, like Lucy pulling the football away as Charlie Brown tried to kick it, he’s basically done nothing. Indeed, he even appointed an honest-to-goodness pharma shill whose only redeeming feature to me (that he’s pro-vaccine) is anathema to antivaxers.

Indeed, what surprised me the most about news of the appointment of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald as CDC Director is how quiet the antivaccine movement has been about it. Sure, I cited Ginger Taylor’s appeal on Facebook to call the White House to oppose her appointment (with a hilarious response of one of her readers urging that Trump appoint antivax physician Suzanne Humphries instead and another asking what happened to his “vaccine safety commission” and lamenting his proposals to slash Medicaid that would harm special needs children) and, of course, The Gnat. Interestingly enough, one of the most rabid antivaxers, Mike Adams, is also a rising star in the alt-right and an equally rabid trump supporter. I searched his website for Dr. Fitzgerald’s name and found…nothing. Nada. Zip. News of the potential appointment broke roughly a week ago. Normally one would expect Mr. Adams to have gone on a full scale rant about Dr. Fitzgerald’s history of very strong pro-vaccine advocacy since she took over running the Georgia Department of Public Health. For any other administration, Adams would be going ballistic, with hit pieces on Fitzgerald dragging her name through the mud for her pro-vaccine advocacy.

Come to think of it, despite his having attacked Scott Gottlieb as a pharma shill ten years ago (one of the rare times he actually made some valid points), Adams has been equally quiet when it comes to Trump’s appointment of Dr. Gottlieb as FDA Commissioner. Maybe I should rub his face in these appointments. I’m not a fan of Gottlieb, but he was definitely the “least bad” option, given the libertarian free market-worshiping fairy dust sniffers who were also under consideration for the position.

Even though we’ve dodged a couple of bullets as far as vaccines are concerned, that was at the federal level. While it might give me great schadenfreude to see Ginger Taylor ranting about Dr. Fitzgerald or to contemplate the cognitive dissonance Mike Adams must be feeling as he keeps his trap shut over his hero Donald Trump’s betrayals, there is plenty going on elsewhere to give cause for concern. In my talk at NECSS a week ago, I used the example of Texas because I had written about it before, first about how it’s likely to be the next big state with large outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases due to its increasing number of personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates, and secondly about how it’s a case study in the politicization of school vaccine mandates to a level we’ve never seen before. The situation there, however, is worse than I thought. Somehow I missed this article from a couple of weeks ago (which would have been perfect for my talk) on how the Texas legislature reached a deadly stalemate on vaccines:

It was mid-April, more than halfway through the legislative session, and Texans for Vaccine Choice was finally getting the fight it had been spoiling for. On April 11, a bill to require schools to report the number of unvaccinated kids had been heatedly debated in a House committee. Doctors, public health experts, parents and others had testified in favor of House Bill 2249, calling it a transparency measure that would simply provide information about vaccination rates at individual schools. The matter was pressing, they said, because more and more parents were opting their kids out of vaccinations using a “reasons of conscience” exemption created by the Legislature in 2003. Without action, recent high-profile outbreaks of mumps and measles in Texas would only grow worse.

But Texans for Vaccine Choice has a radically different frame. While the pro-vaccination crowd appeals to legislators on the basis of science and public health, the anti-vaxxers have their own funhouse mirror version. Vaccines contain toxic chemicals, they say. They cause autism. They overwhelm the immune system. But more than that, the activists, many of them mothers, framed their position as one of parental choice and personal freedom — a message that commands attention at the Texas Legislature.

“The responsibility for my son does not fall on the state or any other family,” said one woman at the committee hearing. “And I would never rely on the herd to keep my son safe.”

Two days later, Texans for Vaccine Choice held a “Freedom Fight” rally on the South Steps of the Capitol. The event featured two prominent members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, Jonathan Stickland and Bill Zedler, close allies of the anti-vaccination activists.

I’ve written about this bill before, which antivaxers effectively quashed this year.

Notice how the reporter, Alex Hannaford, refers to the “radically different frame.” It’s a frame that has shown up in antivaccine arguments and propaganda for a long time. Indeed, in my talk, I showed images from over 100 years ago that used very similar language. However, in the era of the Tea Party and now Donald Trump, that frame appears to have become—dare I say?—radically more effective than it was even a decade ago. That frame is to cloak antivaccine ideas in the mantle of “parental choice,” “individual rights,” and “personal responsibility.” It’s a frame that has given antivaxers plausible deniability in a way that is less transparently bullshit than the frame of “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine’; I’m a vaccine safety advocate.” It’s a frame that appeals to small (and anti-) government conservatives, libertarians, and, of course, Donald Trump supporters, some of whom are also drawn to him because of his long, sordid history of spewing antivaccine pseudoscience. (Certainly, the aforementioned Mike Adams loved this aspect of Trump.).

For example, Jackie Schlegel, executive director of Texans for Vaccine Choice has said:

Our message resonates with people. Texans value parental rights. We have a message of liberty. We have a message of choice.

She’s not wrong. At least, she’s not wrong about how framing school vaccine mandates as an issue of choice, liberty, and parental rights resonates with people of a conservative political bent, even those not inclined to antivaccine beliefs. That’s because it’s a misleading frame that completely ignores community. Thanks to the success of this frame, the stereotype of the typical antivaxer as a bunch of hippy dippy, granola-crunching left wingers is increasingly at odds with reality, if it ever jibed with reality in the first place. Increasingly, the face of the antivaccine movement is conservative and libertarian. At least the public face is, because that’s where the loudest voices are coming from right now, groups like Texans for Vaccine Choice and, in my state, Michigan for Vaccine Choice and the Michigan Vaccine Freedom PAC. Some of these are funded by powerful conservative causes. Texans for Vaccine Choice, for instance, receives support from Empower Texans, which is using the antivaccine conspiracy theorists who run the group as cannon fodder, or a “foot in the door,” in the service of their larger battle to decrease government regulation and promote far right wing causes.

In Texas, at least, this unholy alliance has produced results. Basically, Texans for Vaccine Choice has stymied nearly all efforts by the legislature to address the rising rate of personal belief exemptions. As I wrote before, it basically killed the proposed law that would have mandated school level reporting of exemption rate. (Funny how antivaxers are all for “transparency” and “more information” except when the numbers might embarrass them or when it’s information that pro-vaccine parents would like to have to help them choose a school).) Meanwhile, legislators sympathetic to the group have been introducing a flurry of bills designed to enhance “choice”:

The anti-vaxxers’ legislative agenda reflected this emphasis on “choice.” One bill, HB 1124, would’ve made it easier for parents to obtain exemptions from immunization for children in public school, reducing what was a weeklong process involving a signed affidavit to an instantly available online form.

Another proposal would’ve penalized health care providers who refuse to treat patients who won’t get vaccinated. And a third aimed to require health care providers to give parents what’s known as “vaccine excipient information” — a technical list of vaccine ingredients which, without context, can be misleading or worrisome.

Only one of the six antivax bills got a full committee hearing. Specifically, HB 1124, a bill authored by Matt Krause, a far-right member of the House Freedom Caucus from Fort Worth, would have made it easier for children to claim exemptions to immunization. Currently, a parent who wants a personal belief exemption for her child in public school must apply in writing for an exemption affidavit from the Department of State Health Services, which takes up to a week to process. HB 1124 would have eliminated the requirement for the written request by letting parents print out a blank exemption form from the health agency’s website.

Public health advocates were not wrong when they criticized the bill as a way of increasing exemption rates due to parents claiming them out of convenience. The experience in California and Michigan, as well as other states, have consistently shown that making exemptions harder to get decreases exemption rates. Indeed, in Michigan, we’ve had considerable success decreasing exemption rates by requiring parents requesting them to go to the local county health department and sit through an education program before a personal belief exemption will be granted, as well as eliminating the use of non-approved form in favor of a state-required form that acknowledges that by claiming an exemption the parent knows she might be endangering her child and others. Not surprisingly, our “freedom-loving” conservatives are trying to reverse this rule legislatively. They tried (and failed) during last year’s legislative session. They tried (and failed) this year, helped by the governor saying he would not support the bill. I’m sure they’ll try again next year. What frightens me is that one of these times they might well succeed.

Antivaxers in Texas appear to be doing the same sort of thing, and if you don’t think these are antivaxers behind the bill, check this out:

Lakshmanan [Rekha Lakshmanan, of the nonprofit Immunization Partnership] said it was astonishing that the authors of all the anti-vaccination bills were from North Texas, scene of the worst measles outbreak in years, and that three — Bill Zedler, Krause and Fort Worth Senator Konni Burton — are from Tarrant County.

Joe Lastinger, whose daughter died in 2004 after contracting influenza, told the committee, “just like restaurant workers have to wash their hands, there are lots of common-sense things we do … and anything that weakens our vaccine safety net for convenience is a mistake.”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Zedler replied. “It’s entirely different from washing your hands — that doesn’t negatively impact anybody. But people do die as result of adverse reactions to vaccinations. And as far as flu is concerned there are people who get a flu shot and who get flu.”

“If [the flu vaccine] was as good as other vaccinations, it would be a dream come true,” Lastinger answered. “It’s imperfect but better than doing nothing.”

Krause’s bill died in committee, but pro-vaccination forces also found their proposals stuck in a legislative logjam.

Stay classy, Mr. Zedler. Stay classy.

It’s gotten really bad, too:

In the final days of the 85th legislative session, it looked like the pro- and anti-vaccine lobbies were going to have to make do with a draw. But at the 11th hour, a discussion over a bill authored by Representative Gene Wu, D-Houston, requiring Child Protective Services to give new children in its custody medical exams, suddenly turned into a feverish argument about vaccines.

Urged on by Texans for Vaccine Choice, Zedler proposed a surprise amendment that would exclude vaccinations from those checkups. Vaccines, he insisted, “do not qualify as emergency care.” He was joined by several Republican members of the Freedom Caucus, with Representative Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, arguing that it was an “issue of liberty.”

A plea from Representative Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, a cancer survivor, failed to move the majority of Republicans. Davis proposed a measure that would at least require foster children to be vaccinated against cervical cancer. Her proposal was defeated in a 74-64 vote. Zedler’s amendment, meanwhile, was adopted 74-58.

Though Wu’s bill died in the Senate, a similar version of Zedler’s amendment found its way onto another child welfare bill and was signed into law by Governor Abbott.

Texans for Vaccine Choice considered the session a victory, so much so that they held a victory party.

Here’s what worries me. Traditionally state vaccination policy and school vaccine mandates have been as close to a nonpartisan issue as we have in this country. There has usually been broad bipartisan support for such mandates and the idea that children should be vaccinated as a requirement to be able to attend school. It’s a consensus that has served the country well for many decades now and resulted in the near-elimination of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases. What I fear is that this consensus is breaking down, and—even worse—school vaccine policies are becoming a partisan issue, every bit as bitter and divided as many others.

Here’s how that could happen:

Pro-vaccine lobbyist Jason Sabo is anxious that mainstream Republicans, who might ordinarily have voted against potentially harmful anti-vaccination legislation, now see it as a primary issue.

“Only the extreme of the extreme show up to vote in the primaries: the anti-vaxxers, the pro-gun people, and the anti-annexation guys. Get four or five of these groups together and you have a bloc. And it’s really smart,” Sabo told the Observer. “So next session we have a choice: We either do the same thing and get the same results, or we come back with a different strategy.”

Exactly. As antivaxers cloak their message in the rhetoric of “freedom” and opposition to “government overreach” and “government mandates,” they’re pushing the frame under which the debate about school vaccine mandates occurs to ground far more favorable to them. In the process, I fear that vaccine science is now becoming as politicized as that of climate science, such that vaccine mandates are increasingly viewed as a partisan issue. That’s how it’s become in Texas. I also fear that’s how it’s becoming in Michigan. I fear that the battles in Texas are a harbinger of things to come across the country. Worse, given the reaction of idiots like Bill Zedler to parents like Joe Lastinger, I fear that it will take more than a few deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases to reverse the madness and prod enough antivaxers to come back to their senses.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

200 replies on “In the age of Donald Trump, vaccine policy is becoming politicized, with potentially deadly consequences (revisited)”

Plus, the religious right strongly opposes the HPV vaccine because it protects against an STD. Many on the right have long been opposed to that specific vaccine for that reason, and in some cases as a result they have repeated false claims made by anti-vaxxers about alleged adverse effects of the HPV vaccine, when in reality they are just opposed to it because it prevents an STD, and don’t care if it is dangerous or not. For example, I recall Michelle Bachmann claiming that the HPV vaccine could cause mental retardation-a claim that is nonsensical on it’s face considering the vaccine isn’t given until a child is 10-12 years old.

Religious conservatives repeating false claims about supposed adverse effects of the HPV vaccine is kind of like how the antiabortion crowd will sometimes falsely claim that abortion increases the risk of later developing breast cancer-in both cases, they don’t care if it does, they just make the claim because it suits them/their agenda.

The anti-vaxxers are so big on “parental rights”. What about the parental rights and the child rights of those who don’t want to be exposed to their pestilential children?

@MI Dawn-Exactly. That is why we need something like SB77 implemented nationwide. That will never happen though.

Italy and France are ahead of the U.S. when it comes to vaccine policy now-vaccination is now compulsory for children in Italy, and will be beginning next year in France.

This last session was definitely an eye-opener about how far the anti-vaccination side is willing to go. However, I would like to point out that we were able to mobilize pro-vaccine supporters in ways we haven’t seen before. There’s still a long fight ahead of us but I can assure you that my group, Immunize Texas, and The Immunization Partnership will be continuing our efforts to fight back and move forward. After all, we have rights too and I value my freedom to raise my family in a place that is not overrun by vaccine preventable diseases.

I’m glad you understand that support for the rights of parents to make the vaccination decision does not equate to being anti-vaccine. It’s quite reasonable for people to support vaccination and follow the CDC schedule while also supporting the rights of other parents to make a different choice.

The argument that vaccination should be required for school attendance school in order to protect other students only works for communicable diseases like measles. It doesn’t hold for the Hep B or HPV vaccines because even if a student has those viruses, they don’t pose a threat to other students and will not be prevented from attending school. Requiring those vaccines for school attendance comes across as more of a way to guarantee a market for those vaccines than a concern for children’s health, particularly given Gov. Perry’s attempt to include HPV on the required list of vaccines for Texas a few years ago.

Vaccinations are not emergency care for children taken into foster care, so I think not allowing vaccinations makes sense in that circumstances. If parental rights are terminated, then whoever ends up with custody would have the right to make that decision but unless and until the parental rights are terminated, that decision should remain with the parents.

I don’t understand the objection to publication of exemption rates though. That should be publicly available and I don’t think the arguments against doing so hold water.

Of course, when I hear the arguments based on “parental rights,” I always wonder: What about the child’s right to adequate healthcare, which includes being vaccinated on schedule? Funny, but these parents, be they antivaccine or simply so enamored of “parental rights” that they think their “right to choose” overrides the child’s right to standard of care health care, never seem to take that into account. Indeed, they remind me very much of parents who refuse chemotherapy for their children when they develop cancer or who choose prayer instead of medicine, even if their children die. That’s because it’s all about them and their “choice” and “rights,” not the child’s rights.

I forgot to include my favorite quote illustrating this. It comes from Rand Paul, and he said in an interview in 2015: “The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.” The antivaccine movement is full of this attitude, namely that parental “rights” trump any rights children might have as autonomous beings. The right of the child and any public health considerations are subsumed to parental “freedom to choose” and “parental rights,” with children viewed, in essence, as their parents’ property or an extension of the parents, to do with as they will, never mind what’s actually best for the child.

That’s because it’s all about the parents, not the child.

@Beth Clarkson-“I’m glad you understand that support for the rights of parents to make the vaccination decision does not equate to being anti-vaccine.”

Well, the religious right people who oppose the HPV vaccine are not anti-vaccine in the same way that, say, somebody like Mark Blaxill is, but they *are* just as, if not more, unreasonable as the anti-vaxxers.

Also, although I know you will vehemently disagree with me, I *do not* think that parents should have the right to refuse vaccination, regardless of whether they oppose vaccination because they think vaccinations cause autism or because it “goes against their religious beliefs”.

Do you also think that parents should be able to refuse antibiotic treatment for their child if their child has bacterial meningitis? Or that parents who are Jehovah’s Witnesses should be able to deny their child a blood transfusion based on their religious objection to blood transfusions?

Because you know, that is basically what you are saying…

Indeed. Do these parents who argue that vaccines should be left to “parental choice” also argue that whether or not a diabetic child receives insulin or not should be left solely to “parental choice”? Do they also argue that whether or not a child with a very treatable cancer should receive treatment or not should be left solely to “parental choice”? Do they argue that whether children with a serious bacterial infection receive antibiotics should be left solely to “parental choice”? Vaccines are no different. They are part of standard-of-care medical care. The attitude of these parents invoking their “choice” or “rights” is basically that the children are their property, to do with as they see fit. As much as they will refuse to admit it, it’s an attitude that underlies the examples of denial of medical care to children that I listed above.

No, Beth. You’re wrong. You’re very wrong. Hep B can be spread through many means – saliva, blood – and kids spit, bite, and bleed on each other. While it’s true HPV shouldn’t be required for school, it’s a very good public health measure.

Parents should not be allowed to pick and choose which vaccines their children receive barring a medical reason. Personal choice or religious exceptions should not be allowed.

@MI Dawn-While I don’t think that Beth actually believes that parents should be able to deny their children lifesaving medical interventions (like the examples I gave above), even though that is where the type of “logic” she uses eventually leads, sadly I do think that people like Rand Paul actually believe that, as is illustrated by the quote from Rand Paul that Orac posted above

I will also note that while Beth has previously claimed that she is not anti-vaccine, she is talking as if she is.

. It doesn’t hold for the Hep B or HPV vaccines because even if a student has those viruses, they don’t pose a threat to other students and will not be prevented from attending school.

This is objectively wrong. HBV can be spread through many body fluids, and preschoolers like to bite each other. While it’s debatable whether it should be required for school entry, it is false to say there’s no risk.

Same with HPV, especially when those teenagers are typically having sex with other teenagers. No matter how much some of us want to pretend they aren’t, they ARE. And again, while we can have a discussion over whether it should be required for school attendance, there is a risk, especially for woman, especially since most men don’t develop symptoms and therefore don’t necessarily know they have it.

Both HPV and HBV are objectively risky in school populations.

I fear that it will take more than a few deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases to reverse the madness and prod enough antivaxers to come back to their senses.

Probably only after a few anti-vax legislators have family members die will they “maybe” come back to their senses.

And that is a lousy way to form policy.

Why am I reminded of the Big Endians and the Small Endians?

Comparing deciding against vaccination to deciding against antibiotic treatment for bacterial meningitis is like comparing circumcision to penis amputation. I can support that one remains legal and other not.

Regarding the child rights to adequate healthcare, I have no objection to allowing minors to receive medical treatment without parental consent as soon as they are capable of asking for it themselves, whether it be vaccinations or birth control. Until then, they are not autonomous agents and medical decisions should be made for them individually by their parents or legal guardians.

I wish I could disagree with your concerns, but I can’t.

One point: my understanding is that HB1124 did not make it out of committee.

It should have read: Got a hearing before the full committee. Hey, writing at 6 AM before I had to leave for work. Needed to write fast. Oh, well…

A couple of things- Dorit- Yes you are correct. HB 1124 died in committee. It did not come up for a vote. Secondly, to add more color to what is going on in Texas read the following article. There was an exchange during the HB 1124 hearing this session in which a committee member questioned the truthfulness of a pediatrician regarding VAERS. Politfact fact checked that exchange. http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2017/may/11/bill-zedler/bill-zedler-insists-program-doesnt-collect-wide-ra/

“The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom.”

I had forgotten about this Rand Paul quote, which demonstrates that he should not be elected dog catcher, let alone US Senator. It is an issue of freedom, but not for the reason Sen. Paul thinks: no human being should ever have the right to own another human being, full stop. This country fought a bloody civil war over this very issue, and Sen. Paul is explicitly putting himself on the side that nominally lost that war.

It’s one thing to argue that parents should have the right to make decisions on behalf of their children who because of their young age are not competent to make those decisions for themselves. But it shouldn’t trump the children’s rights to have adequate health care, including being fully vaccinated (unless medically contraindicated). And it most certainly should not trump the right of other parents’ children who depend on herd immunity to have that herd immunity. Most of all, it is always inappropriate to discuss matters as though the parents own their children.

Scratch a libertarian, and you will almost always find an authoritarian underneath. Rand Paul showed his true color with that quote.

I was thinking, like, wow, at least where I live (Arizona) doesn’t have this same level of organization by AVers. But, lo and behold, there is an anti-vax group call “Arizonans for Vaccine Choice” founded in late 2016 (https://www.bizapedia.com/az/arizonans-for-vaccine-choice.html) that appears to be doing just that.

FYI, Arizona has had a lot of similar pro-vax bills get stuck in committee, such as one requiring schools to post immunization rates and another to repeal a law that says you can be a foster family in Arizona even if your own children are unvaccinated. There just hasn’t been as much hoopla over these bills as in Texas.

I, too, worry AVers have established much more infrastructure in the last few years than we have realized.

@Beth Clarkson: yes, the parents need to make the decisions, preferably in conjunction with a reputable health care provider, one held to standards by participating in local health insurances rather than cash only practices. That way the children will receive appropriate preventative care according to their health care needs, rather than decisions parents made after “researching” on the internet.

@MI Dawn – Thanks for expressing your agreement with me on that one issue.

What is the objection to cash only practices? Personally, I’d prefer we had a single payer system with no charge for vaccinations of any kind. Not being able to afford vaccinations is a problem for many parents in this country and making them free for everyone would increase the vaccination rate. But I don’t see why paying cash for your children’s vaccination would be objectionable.

One thing that worked in California as we were working to get SB277 is building a grass-roots pro vaccine pro science action group, Vaccinate California (vaccinatecalifornia DOT org). Petitions, calling our electeds, calling various other health organizations to endorse the bill … plain old political activism.

There is a similar group in Texas, Immunize Texas

Immunize Texas is a grassroots network of parents, friends, and community members dedicated to promoting immunization in Texas and keeping our communities protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. We know that vaccines protect Texans and a healthy Texas is a safe Texas.

There is also another group,

The Immunization Partnership (TIP) is a nonprofit organization that evolved from the partnership originally dedicated to supporting the Houston-Harris County Immunization Registry.

Recognizing the importance of expanding the range of strategies in order to achieve and sustain high immunization rates, in 2007 the Houston-Harris County Immunization Registry Board of Directors developed a new name and mission that truly reflects the broader scope of the organization. The organization became The Immunization Partnership (TIP).

The Partnership aims to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases by developing and coordinating our communities’ resources through public and private partnerships.

As part of its evolution into an organization that supports broader immunization issues, TIP has developed a community-wide program to educate individuals, parents and providers about the importance of on-time immunizations. TIP also advocates for evidence-based public policy and fosters collaborative efforts among the immunization partners.

The problem, unfortunately, is that these groups are out-funded and therefore outgunned. I discussed this issue the last time I discussed the politicization of school vaccine mandates. Antivaxers are well-funded and passionate:

But immunization advocates like Suh say it’s hard to counter the passion of her opponents. Most people consider vaccinations to be such a basic part of life, like clean drinking water, that it’s hard to motivate them to take time to show up at lawmakers’ offices.

“We’re completely outgunned,” said Suh, adding there are only about a dozen members whom she can call on to show up for events. Immunize Texas is part of the Immunization Project.

Suh often writes emails and posts to the group’s Facebook account from her cellphone while caring for her two sons. She juggles her immunization advocacy, a mostly volunteer gig, with other businesses she runs from home.

I’d say the difference is not so much passion. Clearly those running pro-vaccine groups are passionate, and I admire them greatly. The problem is that there aren’t enough of them, and they don’t have enough money.

@Beth Clarkson: oh, I’m all for universal health coverage, that pays for all preventative services with no expense to the patient. I think that would be a great thing, which is why I like the ACA so much and why the “Trumpcare” mess scares me so much.

However, most cash-only practices are not held to good clinical practices, like following the CDC vaccination schedule (see Dr Bob Sears and our friend Dr Jay Gordon). With no outside accountability, they are free to flout clinical guidelines for their precious snowflake clientele.

@MI Dawn – Thanks for your response, but I don’t follow why cash only practices would be held to different standards of practice. Vaccinations are not required by pediatricians and cannot be administered without parental consent. What difference does having a cash only practice make? What is the outside accountability for doctors that accept insurance payments that cash only practices escape?

What is the objection to cash only practices?

In addition to the points MI Dawn makes above, there is the issue of fairness. In order to use a cash only medical practice, one has to have the cash, and as you correctly note, many parents don’t. To deny someone healthcare solely due to that person’s (or person’s parents’/legal guardians’) inability to pay signals something very wrong with a health care system.

@Beth: Regarding the post you made while I was typing my earlier reply to you: Insurance companies have an interest in making sure the treatments they pay for are effective. That’s an additional and immediate deterrent to deviating from standard practices of medical care, because either the doctor or the patient would have to eat the cost of the disallowed procedure. Cash-only practices do not have to worry about this immediate feedback. There is still the regular medical discipline system, but it can take years for a complaint to reach the relevant body, and additional years to act on that complaint.

To take an example: Dr. Stan Burzynski, a frequent subject of this blog, does not accept insurance. Whether he knows from experience that insurance companies won’t pay for his treatments or whether he feels he has enough demand just from people able and willing to pay cash, I don’t know, but it’s not important. What is important is that insurance companies are not telling him that he doesn’t meet the standard of care. And in his case we have repeatedly seen that the Texas Medical Board is ineffective at restraining him.

@Eric Lund: re: Dr B – my employer has a medical policy specifically addressing his “antineoplastin therapy”. We consider it investigational and won’t pay for it. So yeah, not standard of care.

To clarify my comments to Beth: most (if not all) health insurance companies are monitored by many state and federal agencies. One of these is NCQA, which has guidelines for care. To remain NCQA certified, we have to have a certain percentage of members who meet those guidelines. Full immunization by the age of 6 is one of them. So yes, we care if a doctor doesn’t follow guidelines.

And, on the financial side – it’s much cheaper to pay for vaccines than the disease. Even if it’s “only chicken pox”, the cost of treatment, (whether it’s a parent has to use leave time or lose pay, or MD visits, or hospitalization) far outweighs the cost of the vaccine. And the risks of vaccine related problems are far less than the risks from the disease.

Most insurance companies want to make a profit – or at least pay their bills if they are non-profit. Paying for lesser cost but as or more effective treatments makes fiscal sense.

@MI Dawn – Thanks. I wasn’t aware of NCQA so that was new information for me. Vaccination is much less costly than treating disease, so I can understand that insurance companies would want to maximize vaccination as long as number of serious adverse reactions remain low enough that the cost of treating those vaccine injures is below the cost of treating outbreaks of the disease.

Orac writes,

…vaccine science is now becoming as politicized as that of climate science…

MJD says,

Intuitive analogy and this may play out to the benefit of all.

Most important, Orac and a few of his minions have the communication skills to bring clarity to these most complicated health & safety issues.

Q. What do vaccine science and climate science have in common.

A. Science

On a related note, the issue of parental consent is also being grossly distorted in the case of the British child Charlie Gard. Not only do the parents seem incapable of truly acting in the child’s best interests, but the hospital cannot defend its position due to privacy issues, which allows the public to get this whole issue totally wrong and assume that the “poor parents” are being “dictated” to by the uncaring hospital. I have been posting Orac’s view on parental rights everywhere I can, but like so many of these things, it’s a Sisyphean task.

From what little I know of the case, I remain amazed that UK law actually does put the interests of the child over those of the parents, even to the point of the courts making a very unpopular decision.

“The responsibility for my son does not fall on the state or any other family,” said one woman at the committee hearing.

I thought that was the whole point. I mean, Texas explicitly has no constitutional provision guaranteeing a right to state-supplied education for one’s offspring.

I don’t know about every state but in most states if a parent is unable to pay for the child vaccinations; the will receive them free of charge.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Zedler replied. “It’s entirely different from washing your hands — that doesn’t negatively impact anybody. Whoever this Zedler is, he is an idiot. I don’t have any stats easily at hand but just in this country alone thousands of people get sick from unwashed hands be it their own or someone else’s every year. How many people die in this country because of diseases passed along because of unwashed hands is probably difficult to impossible to calculate; but they do die. When I inspect a food facility what is the number one violation: lack of proper hand washing.

I do know one thing: When I move to Thailand in January and have a step-daughter (she’ll be about 5 months old) she will be vaccinated following Thailand’s schedule which has more vaccine requirements than the US schedule.

Great column. Dead on. I’ve been writing not-to-worry about Trump on vaccine policy per se, worry about the effect on vaccination from the larger atrocious healthcare and public health policy. But that’s just talking about the federal level. Take the more comprehensive picture, and it’s not-to-worry about federal vaccine policy per se, worry about antivax policy changes in the states with right wing legislatures.

Orac’s also right to connect this to Trumpism. Now, it’s important to understand that Trump isn’t an idea guy, and Trumpism isn’t about ideological content. Trumps positions are always mutating, going sideways, reversing, dropping. Trumpism is about ideological form – bullying, chest-thumping, Machiavellian mendacity, rule-breaking, sewing chaos and distraction… And above all else, the factor that most separates right-wing populism from ‘mainstream’ conservatism: a vicious mobilization of resentment. Mad at someone? Anyone? Trump’s your bully-boy.

Consider the ideology that’s articulated to these new antivax efforts:

an issue of choice, liberty, and parental rights resonates with people of a conservative political bent

Right. That’s Rand Paul, Ted Cruz stuff, not Trump himself. But Trump will exploit it to his advantage, and it’s adherants will see Trump-style as a way to git ‘er done. That’s what I mean by “articulated” – a connection that goes both ways. Orac nails what’s really disturbing here. It’s not so much that AVs are using Trumpism. They’re still a fringe with limited political power. It’s that Trumpist conservatives are using anti-vax as a tool for their wider agendas, building coalitions can gain and hold power at the state level, and then be beholden to the AVs for… something.

The hard-core anti-vaxers will never come to their senses. The question is what it will take for the right-wingers exploiting AV sentiment to come to their senses on vaccine policy. The optimist on one side of my brain hopes a Disneyland-type outbreak in their states would do the trick – that is, a lot of misery, but no deaths. But, as Orac notes, these asshats don’t give a flying fark about anyone else in their communities. So the pessimist on the other side of my brain fears that “more than a few deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases” wouldn’t change a damn thing. Hell, they still probably be a drop in the bucket of misery and death to come from the repeal of the ACA, the Medicaid cuts, and whatever else the GOP greedheads push/sneak through Congress.

she will be vaccinated following Thailand’s schedule which has more vaccine requirements than the US schedule

That is axiomatically unpossible.

I can’t find the comments from the guy who just wanted Israel’s minimalist vaccine schedule, though. This weird notion didn’t exactly play in Peoria.

@Beth Clarkson #13:

Comparing deciding against vaccination to deciding against antibiotic treatment for bacterial meningitis is like comparing circumcision to penis amputation. I can support that one remains legal and other not

Only if you believe that vaccination has no more health benefits than circumcision – which is why trying to use “parental rights” as an end-run around the fact that you’ve lost on the science is, ultimately, a losing strategy. Everyone agrees that parental rights end somewhere,and like it or not, that line ultimately has to be drawn based on what the majority of reasonable, well-informed people think, not necessarily what the parents think. If that weren’t the case, we’d have to let sincere breatharians choose not to feed their children.

Also, frankly, when you stop even trying to make the case that you’re doing what’s best for your child, and start falling back on the “it’s my kid and I’ll do what I want with it” defense, its time to step back and ask yourself whether you’re genuinely motivated by you’re child’s best interests or your own stubbornness and pride.

Most insurance companies want to make a profit – or at least pay their bills if they are non-profit.

“Non-profit” is a term of art roughly denoting “funnel profit upward.”

Narad, Thailand requires Japanese encephalitis vaccination of children starting at 12 months.

@Sarah #38: I don’t know that circumcision has any health benefits. The issue under discussion is not whether limitations on parental rights exist, but where the line limiting those rights should be drawn.

My opinion is that vaccination should be a parental decision rather than mandated by law and that a publicly funded education should not be forfeit if parents don’t make the preferred choice. This is because I feel the harm to society of forcing vaccination on people who don’t want it is greater than the harm to society of allowing people to remain unvaccinated, but that’s a moral decision.

For me, it’s a weighing of the freedom to make one’s own choices versus the safety and security obtained by requiring everyone else make that choice. In this case, I favor freedom over security, but other people place different values on those competing public goods with respect to vaccination.

Rich Bly
“It’s entirely different from washing your hands — that doesn’t negatively impact anybody.” Whoever this Zedler is, he is an idiot. I don’t have any stats easily at hand but just in this country alone thousands of people get sick from unwashed hands be it their own or someone else’s every year.

Zedler’s argument (I think) is that handwashing has no risk of side-effects and no costs for the handwasher (other than the violation of FREEDOM).

This is because I feel the harm to society of forcing vaccination on people who don’t want it is greater than the harm to society of allowing people to remain unvaccinated,

There are 25 dead Romanian kids who could have argued that point with you.

Plus, the religious right strongly opposes the HPV vaccine because it protects against an STD. Many on the right […] are just opposed to it because it prevents an STD, and don’t care if it is dangerous or not.

I was looking at the program for AutismOne 2017 — my life is full of poor decisions — and there was an entire stream there for anti-HPV-vaccine stories.
http://www.autismone.org/content/schedule-ao-conference

Recent VICP Cases associated with HPV vaccination
Robert J. Krakow, JD
HPV Vaccines: How to create and maintain a market out of thin air
Norma Erickson
HPV Vaccine Victims in Colombia Fight Within the Legal System
Mario Lamo-Jiménez, MA in Intercultural Administration
What Biologically Plausible Mechanisms of Action are Health Agencies Ignoring?
Suzanne Humphries , MD
Norma Erickson
HPV vaccine: Benefit vs. Risk
Karsten Viborg
HPV Vaccine Safety Panel
Robert J. Krakow , Esq.
Norma Erickson
Mario Lamo
Karsten Viborg

(I have no idea why Krakow’s title changes from “JD’ to “Esq”).

There is no attempt to pretend that HPV vaccines are related to ‘autism’, the nominal focus of the scamboree, it’s just an expression of their broader anti-vax remit. The organisers know a hot-button for theocrats (and a potential income stream) when they see one. HPV is God’s way of punishing sluts.

I am getting tired of hearing about parental rights trumps all other considerations. Can a parent physically or mentally abuse a child; of course not. In my book, not providing vaccinations for VPDs comes under child abuse. Yes, there is a small chance of a reaction to a vaccine (most are very minor) but is the risk to the greater than when he or she is not vaccinated? The answer is that the child is at greater risk without the vaccination. Not only is the child at greater risk but others are then at greater risk.

Parental rights is a concept that is wrong, a child is a person that is not fully capable of making correct decisions. It is the parents responsibility to protect a child until (in this country) they reach 18 years of age. Again denying vaccinations is to me a form of child abuse. Once a child a reaches the age where they can make their decisions, they can decide not to continue vaccinations (since many vaccines need updated as we grow older).

@shay simmons-And two German kids who died of SSPE after contracting measles at their pediatricians office from an unvaccinated child. They were too young to be vaccinated when they contracted measles. I wonder what Beth would say about that horrible case?

@Rich Bly (#45)-I’d use the term neglect, not abuse, but I otherwise agree-however, you forgot to state the obvious-not only does vaccine refusal endanger the unvaccinated child, it also endangers those who are exposed to the child, so you could argue it is actually *worse* than other forms of medical neglect.

Beth @41: Male circumcision is associated with reduced transmission and infection of HIV.

As for laws mandating public health, I know I’ve presented the actions taken by health departments before the advent of many vaccines (generally quarantine or the closing of schools, pools, movie theaters and other places where people congregate). Compared to those actions, vaccination is far less intrusive.
The point of government (of any stripe) is to keep people safe. Public health is the first and most basic part of that.

@Beth Clarkson:

My opinion is that vaccination should be a parental decision rather than mandated by law and that a publicly funded education should not be forfeit if parents don’t make the preferred choice.

We had this fight on a previous thread. I pointed out that the intentionally unvaccinated pose a threat to those who can’t be vaccinated and those who have leukaemia and similar diseases.

I feel the harm to society of forcing vaccination on people who don’t want it is greater than the harm to society of allowing people to remain unvaccinated

The harm of an unvaccinated individual passing on a disease to a child too young to be vaccinated is far greater and far more real than any theoretical harm done by sanctioning the deliberately unvaccinated.
Your argument is bad, and you should feel bad.

@Liz Ditz (42)-There is no hope for Charlie Gard, from what I understand, but is there any reason to think that the parents taking him to the U.S. for “experimental treatment” would actually do any harm?

My understanding is that his brain damage from the disease is so severe that he is no longer conscious, and therefore he isn’t suffering…so while futile, keeping him alive for longer so that the parents could try experimental treatments wouldn’t appear to do any harm (aside from being a waste of money).

If life support is withdrawn now, the parents might spend the rest of their lives wondering if things could have been different had they been able to take him to the U.S. for treatment, whereas if they are allowed to take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment, when he fails to improve and eventually is taken off life support despite the experimental treatment, they will be able to accept his death, feeling that they did everything possible to save him.

I guess what I’m saying is that while the parents are incorrect in thinking that any experimental treatment could save him, I have yet to hear a reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to try-even though it would basically just be to make them feel better.

Jonas, I used the term abuse because there may be actual physical harm. Whereas neglect may not include actual physical harm. But this is just bashing of semantics.

I will soon be in part responsible for a young child (she’s due Sept. 25th) and I mean to protect her to best of my ability without being a helicopter parent. I am old enough to have had most VPDs and don’t want her to suffer from those preventable diseases.

@MI Dawn (#29)-You write “my employer has a medical policy specifically addressing his “antineoplastin therapy”. We consider it investigational and won’t pay for it. So yeah, not standard of care.”

I can’t help but wonder why insurance often covers acupuncture-after all, while Burzynski is a quack and his “treatment” is useless, acupuncture is just as useless, and even less biologically plausible.

With reference to #33/34: The case has just been referred back to the High Court by the Hospital responsible for his care (if memory serves; Great Ormond Street).

It would seem that a (Very) experimental treatment may be of some assistance to young Charlie, though the Consultants remain highly sceptical (Sorry; Skeptical).

There was an earlier reference regarding JWs and kids requiring blood transfusions. These are also routinely passed to the Judicial system and the Child is made a Ward of Court which removes parental control and allows appropriate treatment.

@Jonas:
Enabling delusions to continue is not necessarily kindness, even if it may seem that way at the time.

Hm…we regularly have “more than a few deaths” from vaccines, as well as many lives destroyed by disability. But it hasn’t reversed the pro-vax madness, or prodded enough pro-vaxers to come back to their senses.

I guess an industry worth hundreds of billions can buy a lot of seemingly respectable pushers and social engineers, to make it seem as if vaccines are all worth it.

we regularly have “more than a few deaths” from vaccines,

Citation desperately needed.

as well as many lives destroyed by disability

Citation desperately needed.

Protip: If you need to drop trou to produce a citation, it’s probably invalid.

Once again NWOR provides allegations without citation.

I’ve often wondered what other conspiracy theories you believe. After all CT’s rarely believe in just one.

Damn. I replied on my phone and missed earlier comments from our ‘Very Vicar’ and our esteemed host.
I’m now sitting on the naughty step and
wearing a pointy hat.

“Hundreds of Billions?”

You’ve off by a factor of 10.

And that’s just revenue, not profit, which you’re off by a factor of 20.

Peebs @ 59:

My comment wasn’t showing because I’m on automatic moderation, since a sock attack.

@Shay #44 – Dead foreign kids are sad. You can attempt to score points in internet arguments with their tragedy, but I don’t find it a compelling argument for why children taken into foster care should be given an HPV vaccine without their parents’ consent.

@ Rich Bly Who has argued that parental rights trump all other considerations? My argument is that the benefits of vaccine mandates are not worth the cost in abrogating the parental right to decide what medical treatments are best for their child. Yes, there are circumstances when it’s necessary for the state to step in. That’s done on a case by case basis now which is fine.

I’m not convinced that herd immunity constitutes a public good worthy of that forcing it on children without their parent’s consent. Nor do I think that unvaccinated children are too dangerous to be allowed in public schools or that parents who decide against vaccination for whatever reason should be prosecuted for child abuse. That’s just insane to me. Like the atheists who term Sunday School indoctrination and call it child abuse.

Look, we require documentation of either a measles vaccination or an exemption because it is important to keep the unvaccinated children from attending school during an outbreak. That’s a reasonable precaution for society to take. But I think it’s more important for a child to have access to a public education than to insist that child be vaccinated, so I don’t favor elimination of exemptions for religious or personal reasons.

@Jonas – See my response to Shay #44 above

@Justech #49 – Yes, those measures are far more intrusive. They are also generally taken only in the event of major outbreaks. Vaccination is less intrusive, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question whether the benefit to public health justifies the intrusion into private lives and personal medical decisions. I’m not convinced that the benefit to public health is worth the cost of denying a better education to unvaccinated children. There’s room for disagreement about that.

@Julian Frost – Yes, you pointed that out previously. I disagree that it was sufficient justification for most of the laws that failed in Texas. (I do think they should publish the vaccination exemption rates for the schools, so I didn’t agree with that.)

“Your argument is bad, and you should feel bad.” Is this your idea of a persuasive argument against mine? I don’t feel at all bad about my argument, nor do I care what you think of me for putting it forth. I’m allowed to disagree with you about whether the existence of immune comprised people is a supportive argument for laws that allow children taken into foster care in Texas to be given HPV vaccinations without their parents consent.

Did ya’ll hear? There was a horrific outbreak of *gasp* chickenpox in the Netherlands. You can witness the carnage in this video. The brave photographer, and the newscasters laughing in the face of danger, are a true inspiration. 😀 https://youtu.be/v8CbgaDsoHs

As for the “citations” y’all are so desperately seeking that show there is, in fact, a reason for the existence of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program…some lawyers do what the VICP prefers not to do: list the vaccine injuries they have successfully won compensation for. Here’s the results from one firm: https://www.mctlawyers.com/vaccine-injury/cases/

NWO Troll, those are not citations. Those are just distraction.

Now please post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to support this assertion: “Hm…we regularly have “more than a few deaths” from vaccines, as well as many lives destroyed by disability. ”

Also, newscasters are not reputable qualified researchers.

Typical. Ginny comes at us with cherrypicked newscasts and a website from a lawyer’s office? Do they post which cases they have not won? Otherwise, there is some bias there.

Developed countries do a good job of keeping track on cause of death. You can access that information freely from most countries (in an aggregate form). Take some time and put that law degree to good use and get some counts of deaths from vaccines. It should not be too hard to do.

Then come back and we can talk about your findings.

Are you dissing your beloved Health Resources and Services Administration, Mr. Low Ren District? They publish that vaccine injury and death data for your benefit–the least you could do is appreciate it.

Can a parent physically or mentally abuse a child[?]

Well, yeah. Most cases go unreported. But I’ll assume Rich was talking about government policy and/or judicial rulings. There, ‘parental rights’ don’t trump ALL other considerations, but they’re given a lot of weight, resulting in some shocking parental action either being allowed under law, or given only wrist-slaps in court. It’s wrong, of course, but a much wider, deeper and entrenched issues than vaccinations. Where we are as a society is that Rand Paul can get away with a public statement that just takes for granted that children are property before arguing who owns them. Granted that Paul wouldn’t extend this concept of property to equate it to slaves who can be bought and sold in the market, shipped overseas in containers, and taken as capital loss tax write-offs if they die in the middle passage. But this Randian notion of ‘property’ is still close enough to slavery that it turns my stomach to think what all it has allowed in practice. Maybe someday, the majority in society will come to regard that sort of dehumanization in a similar light. Until then, that larger ideology will surround not just vaccination, but every other aspect of children’s health, and we must fight the former if we want to right by the latter.

NWO Troll: “The HRSA does publish data about the number of vaccine deaths and injuries that were either compensated or dismissed.”

We have known that for years. It is the basis of my little math story problem that no one will answer. The data is there, so what exactly is the ratio between thetotal number of given vaccines and the total number of compensated claims?

Plus, do tell us with actual factual statistics which vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the diseases. Do I need to define the word “more” for you?

@Narad, #34

I’m sorry, but you’ve badly mangled that.

According to your own link, that was a U.S. Supreme Court decision, holding which “stated that the appellees did not sufficiently prove a textual basis, within the US Constitution, supporting the principle that education is a fundamental right.”

I don’t have access to lexisnexis at the moment to see if it’s still good law, but this is also from teh same page:

“See also[edit]
Abbott District, a legal doctrine in New Jersey state constitutional law resulting from a series of cases holding that the education of children in poor communities was unconstitutionally inadequate.
Edgewood Independent School District v. Kirby, a 1993 Texas decision recognizing that unequal funding of public school districts violated the Texas State Constitution.
Serrano v. Priest a post-Rodriguez decision in which California courts found that the method of funding schools violated the California Constitution’s equal protection clause.”

Finally, there’s this, Tex. Const. art. VII

Sec. 1. SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE OF SYSTEM OF PUBLIC FREE SCHOOLS. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.

Sec. 2. PERMANENT SCHOOL FUND. All funds, lands and other property heretofore set apart and appropriated for the support of public schools; all the alternate sections of land reserved by the State out of grants heretofore made or that may hereafter be made to railroads or other corporations of any nature whatsoever; one half of the public domain of the State; and all sums of money that may come to the State from the sale of any portion of the same, shall constitute a permanent school fund.

(Amended Nov. 8, 2011)

Jonas, #51

You are reacting the same way as a lot of comments I’ve been trying to refute. As I said, the hospital as stated that the child cannot be moved–to the home of the parents, or to Rome as the Pope offered. The hospital says the child is suffering. The experimental treatment has not even been tried in mice and the doctor offering it remains unnamed and has, in some sources, more-or-less withdrawn the offer.

There are apparently medical reasons for the hospital’s decision which, again, as I said, cannot be discussed due to privacy concerns. I’m putting my money on the hospital and courts who have the necessary details of the child’s condition. The parents remind me of those people who took their brain dead 13 year old home to “care for her” after refusing to take her off life support, or the parents in the Terry Schaivo case. They refuse to listen to any expert advice and keep going on about “give Charlie his chance”…whatever that’s supposed to mean. This kind of religiously inspired reverence for “life” seems grossly hypocritical to me.

@CJTX: I’m well aware of the Serrano cases; the second was a direct response to the SCOTUS ruling in the Texas case. I am also, however, disinclined to get up at the moment to try to disentangle the rest of your comment. It would help if you could be more specific than “badly mangled” plus copypasta.

Wow, NWOR. So, out of billions of doses, a little over 1200 were claimed to have caused death. But we don’t know how many were actually compensated because the injury and death compensations are lumped together in the next column. I do note, however, that the ratio of dismissed to compensated is 2:1… So obviously, there are a lot of claims dismissed as not caused by vaccines.

Oh, and those 1200 cases? Over nearly 20 year time period (1988-2017). A lot more people died from accidents over those 20 years than from vaccines.

You always forget that we *will* check any links you post, don’t you?

# 76 MI Dawn
You always forget that we *will* check any links you post, don’t you?

Clearly you are not playing fairly!

@NWOR (#67)-Did you even read anything in that link you posted? It states, quite clearly, that: “The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. In the majority of cases,
vaccines cause no side effects, however they can occur, as with any medication—but most are mild.
Very rarely, people experience more serious side effects, like allergic reactions.”

and that:
“Being awarded compensation for a petition does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the
alleged injury.
In fact:
Almost 80 percent of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of a negotiated
settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of the
evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury.”

In other words, the link you provided COMPLETELY REFUTES your claims!

@NWOR (#67)-There were 62 deaths alleged (but NOT proven) to be related to either the MMR or MMRV between 1988 and 2017, according to the VICP link you posted. In contrast, in 2015 ALONE, there were 134,200 deaths from measles (and that’s an underestimate, as it does not take into account the fact that measles increases the risk of death from other infectious diseases for a 2-3 year period after recovery from measles, due to “immunologic amnesia” induced by measles virus)

Especially considering the fact that the overwhelming majority of the deaths alleged to be due to the MMR were probably actually entirely unrelated to the MMR, it should be extremely obvious to everyone that the disease is far, far more dangerous than the vaccine.

Beth Clarkson: “@Shay #44 – Dead foreign kids are sad.”

Yeah, but they’re just furriners. Best to ignore them and concentrate only on American kids, who are doing just fine…but of course, that has nothing to do with immunization, it’s only a coincidence because them diseases were wiped out by sanitation. And remember, antivaccine messages from U.S. sources stop at our borders and never influence anyone abroad.

Let’s further examine the information you provided in your link, NWOR.
Between 1988 and 2017, there were 1,006 petitions alleging illness or death from the MMR vaccine filed at the VICP.

555 of those were dismissed, and considering how low the bar is for evidence at VICP, we can be certain that those illnesses/deaths were not due to the MMR vaccine. Only 296 of the petitioners were compensated for alleged illness or death due to the MMR vaccine, and considering the fact that to get compensation, the petitioners claim only needs to be “legally probable, not medically or scientifically certain”, many of the illnesses/deaths, which the petitioners were compensated for, were likely not due to the MMR either. In some cases, petitioners alleging that a vaccine caused an illness that has been proven NOT to be caused by vaccination have been compensated anyway (if I recall correctly, one person with MS that they claimed was due to the Hep B vaccine was compensated, even though studies have shown that the Hep B vaccine doesn’t cause MS)

Now let’s compare the 296 alleged (not proven) injuries or deaths from the MMR vaccine, which occurred over a 29-year period, to measles in 1951 in the U.S. ALONE-in 1951, 683 people died of measles in the U.S., and thousands more suffered severe complications (on average, 4,000 people developed encephalitis from measles each year in the U.S. in the pre-vaccine era-and remember, some of the survivors were left permanently brain damaged-and 48,000 were hospitalized).

So, in short, more people died of measles in 1951 alone than were compensated by the VICP for alleged (but not proven) illness or death from an adverse effect of the MMR vaccine between 1988 and 2017.

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