Thursday, November 1, 2012

Educating the Uneducatable

Yesterday one of our Facebook members shared our Halloween themed meme  on her Facebook page and got this reaction criticizing  the meme's content: does not prelude the other


The vast majority of medically educated doctors, nurses and scientists throughout the world (including your own pediatrician) believe that, properly used, vaccines are generally safe and effective. Are they infallible? Certainly not, no more so than antibiotics or seatbelts. You can also choose to believe that the world is flat. It's your right. It's also my right to call into question illogical comments, like the one posted. It's simply not either or. There is no vast pharmaceutical company conspiracy. If there is then hundreds of thousands of doctors are incredibly stupid and the anti-vaccine amateurs have all the answers. I don't believe that.

Here is my response:

Your friends criticism of this meme fails in several ways. He constructs a “vast pharmaceutical company conspiracy” straw man argument out of a one sentence meme having nothing to do with a “conspiracy.” Then he goes off on a “flat Earth” tangent which has as much relevance as does the “conspiracy” straw man.
Then he puts his faith in a medical system that over and over is found, by the mainstream media and some elements of the system itself, to be overtreating patients with antibiotics, cat scans, x-rays, unnecessary surgery etc. He then creates a false dichotomy in which the only way obedience to the vaccination schedule can be unwise is if “hundreds of thousands of doctors are incredibly stupid and the anti-vaccine amateurs have all the answers” Then assumes something’s safety and effectiveness automatically makes a product valuable to me. (And can you really call the pertussis shot, for example, effective when one now needs six or seven doses over a twenty year period? Especially when a natural infection provides 30 years to lifetime immunity and decreases the chances of transmission during the child bearing years) Let’s not even talk about if they are safe or not. It is a fact when a child is vaccinated; pain is inflicted on him or her. There must be a good reason for this. (Eighteen trips to the doctor during one's childhood for a yearly, painful flu shot seems hardly worthwhile when you're unlikely to get the illness or suffer substantially from it) But in addition to the pain are the accepted common adverse events: high pitched crying, somnolence, fever, irritability etc. Then there are risks such as the chance of contamination (SV40 incident with polio vaccines) or discovering mercury levels exceeded safety limits after a generation has received those vaccines. Then add in something like this recent news which illustrates how little we know about playing around with biological systems

Then combine it with this Institute of Medicine report from 2004:

The report, issued by the IOM’s Immunization Safety Review Committee, found that scientific evidence from epidemiological studies on whether allergy, including asthma, can be caused by multiple vaccinations was conflicting and concluded that the evidence “was inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship.” The Committee concluded that epidemiological studies to date “favor rejection of a causal relationship between multiple immunizations and increased risk for infections and for type 1 diabetes.” However, the Committee also concluded that they did find some biological mechanism evidence that vaccines could increase the risk of immune dysfunction in some children that could lead to increased infections and allergy, including asthma. They stated that, “The biological mechanisms evidence regarding increased risk for infections is strong.”

Then add to that the huge increases in the immune dysfunction in the young and ask yourself if tricking that developing system is such a good idea.

So to conclude, nutrition status (part one of the meme) determines to a large degree the severity of these illnesses. On the other hand drugs and medications are detrimental unless they have a benefit that overcomes their risks and side effects. So if part one protects, why take on the risks of part two? As the risk of an illness drops, the benefit of the preventative measure also drops. So yes, if you take the steps mentioned in part one of the meme you may not need the treatments touched upon in part two.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An Open Letter to Lisa Murawski

AB2109, the bill to herd California parents into a doctor's office for a vaccine lecture in order to obtain a vaccine exemption, is getting closer and closer to becoming law. Just this week, based upon an error-ridden fiscal assessment, the bill passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. One interesting point regarding the cost analysis was its blatant incongruence. Initially, in order to scare readers, the report describes a frightening scenario in which parents are abandoning vaccines in droves:
the number of vaccine exemptions has increased dramatically in the last decade, leading to real concern about the loss of "herd immunity" and potential for serious disease outbreaks
Amazingly, the costs to combat such a major problem will, according to the report, be almost no existent. To minimize cost concerns in order to get the bill out of committee, readers are promised the remedy to drag all these exemptors back to the herd will have almost no financial impact on the state. The report asserts:

Any impact on Medi-Cal or Healthy Families Program from a small number of
increased office visits, to the extent any program enrollees seek exemptions and require additional office visits to do so, is likely to be negligible.

Further mistakes and misrepresentation prompted me to contact the author. Here is the text of an email I sent today:

In your analysis of AB2109 you state:
“In contrast, the risk of death if someone contracts measles is about 1 in 500”
Not that you care, but this bit of “information” has no basis in reality. In the pre-vaccine era 3-4 million people contracted the measles with ~400 deaths. In Europe in 2011 about 30K cases were reported with ~9 deaths. Your 1-500 number is fantasy
Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3–4 million people in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died,
A new report by the World Health Organization in the Weekly Epidemiologic Record has documented more than 30,000 cases of measles in the European Region in 2010 and more than 26,000 thru October in 2011. These numbers of cases come after three years of record low levels in 2007-2009. Measles outbreaks were reported from 36 countries in the region in 2011 and about one quarter of the reported cases (28%) in 2011 were hospitalized and 9 children died.

Additionally, your assertion that, “vaccines are generally considered a crowning public health achievement, and are credited with major reductions in morbidity and mortality over the last century,” is laughable. Anyone not parroting the talking points of the vaccine establishment understands huge decline in mortality came well before the age of vaccination.

I hope parents will not be subjected to this this type of misinformation during their state-mandated vaccine lecture.

Robert Schecter

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Matter of Freedom and Liberty

The state senator behind a new bill stripping vaccine choice from Vermont parents wrote this piece in the Rutland Herald (directly below) defending his proposed legislation. It is both unpersuasive and confused. Our response below points out the flaws in his reasoning and delineates why the legislation should be rejected.

A matter of health and safety

Published: March 29, 2012

Throughout the debate on whether to eliminate the exemption for children to attend school without the recommended vaccines for philosophical reasons, much has focused on the personal stories of parents involved on both sides. We’ve heard from parents of children whose lives have been saved by a vaccine, and we’ve heard from parents who believe strongly that their children do not need immunizations and should not be forced into medical action. I come at this debate with a personal story of my own.

When he was an infant, my son Bartley received the recommended dosage of vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). It was the typical torturous experience for a parent to see a needle enter your child’s tiny leg, but it was necessary and safe, our pediatrician said. The problem was the unexpected reaction my son had to the immunization — an extremely high fever. Our doctor recommended we forgo the second dose of MMR and today my son is not fully vaccinated against those diseases. I worried last year when Vermont saw its first case of measles in a decade. I’ll worry tomorrow, just in case.

For me it’s always come down to the single question of whether we can save a child’s life by protecting the greater public. We entered into this debate with a lot of questions and have spent the bulk of the session hearing hours of compelling testimony, studying the science behind the facts and listening to passionate parents on both sides of this issue.

No one will tell you it was easy, and no one will tell you that we take this job lightly. But our job is to ensure our decisions have a positive impact on society, and it would be irresponsible for us to look at the facts — a growing number of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks in Vermont and an increasing number of children being exempted from having the CDC recommended immunizations to enter kindergarten — and not act.

That is where we find ourselves today: We must act to change the course we are on. For me, if that means one less child contracts whooping cough —compared to more than 90 who did in 2011 — it’s enough of a reason to act.

For many of the opponents, there have been further erroneous arguments to try and derail the legislation, claiming constitutional violations under both the U.S. and Vermont constitutions. After careful review by legislative legal counsel, it is clear that both constitutions allow for the protection of religious beliefs under the First Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided that a state may impinge upon the practice of a sincere religious belief only if the state’s interest is of “sufficient magnitude” to justify overriding the religious belief. The Vermont Constitution provides that no authority shall interfere with the free exercise of religion.

In contrast, philosophical beliefs do not receive the same protections. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, since philosophical beliefs are based on a “subjective evaluation and rejection of the secular values accepted by the majority” they do not rise to the level of religious beliefs and thus, not eligible for the same protections. The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that conduct that is “merely a matter of personal preference” does not rise to the demands of religious freedom.

Vermont, like every other state, requires children be vaccinated in order to enroll in school. There are reasons for this mandate. The most important reason is that without immunizations, our community could be plagued by serious, and sometimes fatal diseases that are avoidable. We’ve already seen an alarming rise in whooping cough cases in our state, and those numbers coincide with a high exemption rate.

Eliminating the philosophical exemption is not meant to infringe on parental rights. It’s meant to narrow the scope under which Vermonters can opt out of immunizations and ensure more children receive life-saving vaccines.

While we, as public servants, have an obligation to represent the views of our constituents, so too do we have an obligation to protect the people we serve. Sometimes that means making tough and often unpopular decisions. Passing S.199 to eliminate philosophical exemptions is a matter of public health and safety. It’s that simple.


Response: A Matter of Freedom and Liberty

Sen. Mullin

Freedom is the core principle of America. A legitimate government’s role is to ensure that freedom not to “save lives.”  A government whose task is to “save lives” is a government that has no limitations.

“Saving lives” sounds nice but for the government to “‘save lives” it must threaten or initiate violence against innocent people. After all what do you think would happen if a parent declined not to apply for a remaining religious exemption? The parent’s child would be barred from school then the parent would be hauled before a court under threat of force for violating the state’s compulsory education laws. Hiding the specter of state-sponsored violence behind compulsory education laws does not mean the violence is not there.

Besides there is no evidence that the change brought about by this law will ever result in the saving of even one life.

As to a vaccine being “necessary” that’s silly. Food and water is necessary. A vaccine is not. In regards to your worry about one case of the measles, that’s mystifying. In the pre-vaccine era, the nation saw as many as four million cases per year. Yet parents were not “worried” about the illness. Worry about your own kids and we’ll worry about ours.

Free people can save lives. If they see mild illnesses such as the measles, mumps and chickenpox as threats they can choose to vaccinate.

As to your insistence that:
The most important reason is that without immunizations, our community could be plagued by serious and sometimes fatal diseases that are avoidable.
This is preposterous. First the most common illnesses prevented by vaccine (at least for a few years) are all mild, not serious. Besides before widespread mandates polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, measles, mumps and rubella were all controlled by voluntary action.

Then there is your “alarm” over whooping cough. No one besides you and your allies in the public heath establishment is “alarmed” by whooping cough. This proposed legislation after all did not emerge from an overwhelming public demand terrified of whooping cough. And to connect the illness to a few vaccine exemptions is absurd. Perhaps when you were “studying the science behind the facts” you failed to come across the “fact” that the whooping cough vaccine is notoriously ineffective and (along with increased awareness) that ineffectiveness is what is driving so-called outbreaks occurring across the country. As to a rising in whooping cough coinciding with exemptions, did you, when playing scientific researcher, come across the principle that correlation does not equal causation. Or would that principle clash with your manufactured narrative undergirding your attempt to strip parents of their right to raise their children as they see fit?

Your remark that the bill will “ensure more children receive life-saving vaccines” is odd. Vaccines prevent generally mild illnesses and mortality from vaccine-preventable illnesses was in a virtual free-fall long before the advent of vaccination. As such the odds a child will receive a vaccine that actually saves his or her life is astronomically low. The life-saving vaccine mantra seems more spin than substance.

Asserting that, “passing S.199… is a matter of public health and safety,” raises the question of whether the people’s freedom can be taken for the nebulous concept of “public health and safety” It cannot unless a threat to that health and safety is the result of a rights violation perpetrated by another. Not vaccinating violates no rights and as such laws forcing the practice upon the unwilling do not come under the purview of government.

You then imagine you “have an obligation to protect the people you serve.” You do not; you have an obligation to protect people’s rights. There is a difference.  When the government has the power to protect people it does so by hurting either them (for their own good of course) or others (in this case those who do not want medical treatments for their healthy children) When the government can only protect rights, no innocents are targeted - only those who, by their actions; for example reckless behavior, violence, theft, etc.; become the legitimate targets of government power.

The fundamental problem is you do not understand the concept nation was built on: freedom. Rather you are obsessed with and driven by concepts of collectivism, activism and paternalism.

It’s not your role to manage the health of those living in your state. Vermonters are people able to care for themselves, not pets reliant on your benevolent despotism.

There is one final establishment talking point (not raised here) that needs to be addressed: those too young for vaccines or those with poorly functioning immune systems or those undergoing chemotherapy rely on others for protection. First those concerned about a child being too young to get a vaccine can keep those children home rather than compel others (through the state) to act against their will to create a sterile world for them.  Second, while it is terribly sad that some children have health issues their misfortune does not obligate others to act against their better judgment to protect them – especially when that level of protection is ill-defined and likely quite small.

Parents are certainly free to vaccinate based on the above line of reasoning but that action must be voluntary.

Stand up for freedom, Vermont. Reject this misguided legislation.

Robert J. Schecter

California Vaccine Exemption Contact Information

Click this link for information on how to make your voice heard in Sacramento

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dr. Bob Sears Defending the Right to Vaccine Exemptions

Well-known pediatrician and best-selling author Dr. Bob Sears comes out strongly against a bill forcing parents to hear a vaccine lecture before they can get a philosophical exemption to vaccination.


California Bill AB2109 Threatens Vaccine Freedom of Choice

The California Legislature is currently considering a bill that would require parents to obtain their doctor’s signature on a government form prior to enrollment in public school if they wish to skip one or more vaccines for their child. Current law allows parents to decline vaccines by signing an exemption form at the school – no doctor’s signature needed. The new law would require “a written statement signed by a health care practitioner that indicates that the practitioner provided the parent with information regarding the benefits and risks of the immunization and the health risks of specified communicable diseases.”

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea. It will require parents to prove that they’ve had an informed discussion with their physician. Most parents already have such discussions anyway. However, what gravely concerns me is that some doctors will refuse to sign this form. I know how doctors think. Many doctors strongly believe that vaccines should be mandatory, and that parents should not have the right to decline vaccines. Some doctors are willing to provide care to unvaccinated kids, despite this difference in philosophy. But now the power over this decision will be put directly into doctors’ hands. He or she can simply refuse to sign the form. Doctors who oppose vaccine freedom of choice have been frustrated for years over this issue. Finally, they will have the power to impose their beliefs on their patients. Patients will be forced to find another doctor to sign the form, submit to vaccines, or get kicked out of public school.

Supporters of this bill believe that all doctors will be willing to sign this form, as the signature does not imply agreement with the parent’s decision; it simply signifies that the doctor has provided the parents with information regarding the pros and cons. I disagree. I know for an absolute fact that some doctors will not sign this form out of principle or over fears of liability.

Parents will be forced to “doctor shop” for another doctor to sign their form. This won’t be easy. Some doctors are reluctant to take new patients who don’t vaccinate. Many doctors will be unwilling to sign an exemption form for a new patient or a patient who is only there for one visit (just to get the form signed). Some doctors get financial incentives from insurance companies for having high vaccination rates into their practice; seeing patients to get their form signed will put such bonuses at risk. How many doctors will parents be expected to call? How many “no’s” will a patient need in order to be allowed into school? Natural and alternative health care providers can NOT sign the form; it must be a “regular” medical professional. Some families only see naturopathic or holistic health care practitioners instead of pediatricians. These families will have a difficult time getting the form signed.

And what will happen to those kids who can’t get their formed signed? They will be denied entry into public school.

The sponsors of this bill may have some good intentions, as their primary “public” reason for the bill is to make sure that parents who don’t vaccinate their children are making an informed medical decision under the guidance of their doctor. But it isn’t difficult to see the REAL reason for the bill: to increase vaccination rates in our state by making it more difficult for parents to claim the exemption. But whatever the reason, this bill will likely NOT increase vaccination rates, nor will it create closer partnerships between doctors and patients. It will create anger, financial hardship, animosity, and further mistrust in our medical system.

For those patients who CAN find a doctor to sign their form, these “doctor-patient lectures” are not going to increase vaccination rates: Parents who are seeking a doctor’s signature have already made up their mind. The doctor isn’t going to change it during a ten minute discussion. The time for a doctor to influence parents’ opinion and trust of vaccines is during the initial well-baby checkups, years before such exemption forms even come into play. By the time a child will enter school, the parents have made up their mind to decline vaccines. A lecture from a doctor at this point won’t matter. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and money. At a time when we are trying to decrease health care spending, this bill will add millions of dollars of extra health care visits for families every year. If this unfortunate bill passes in California, the rest of the country will be soon to follow.

And it’s a government intrusion into our personal freedom to make health care decisions for our children.

There are numerous other objections to this bill:

It will cost the parents, or their insurance company, more money for the extra appointments. This could cost our state millions of dollars in extra health care costs every year. We are trying to DECREASE health care spending, not increase it.
This bill may seem like it is designed to create a closer partnership between physician and patients. Instead, it will create more animosity between parents, doctors, and schools, amid a climate of vaccine controversy that is already volatile.
Be aware that the legislators who are sponsoring this bill have received campaign donations from vaccine manufacturers.
Enrollment in public schools may decrease, which will in turn decrease public school funding.


Call your California Senator and Assemblyperson now and share your opinion. Here’s an easy way. Go to and you will see a summary of the bill, numerous arguments against it, and see contact information for the members of the Assembly Committee on Health who are involved in this bill. You can also register to become a member. It’s free! – see step two below the list of the assemblypersons, or click on this link: After you register, you can click on AB2109 under the Action Needed Now section. You will be given your California Senator and Assemblyperson’s contact information based on your zip code. You can then call or EMAIL to express your opinion. Thank you for joining me and many others to guard our freedom.

Dr. Bob Sears

Author of The Vaccine Book

TACA Physician Advisory Group

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Me and the Bee

Yesterday the Sacramento Bee expressed its unbridled support for AB 2109, the misguided attempt to herd parents into a doctor's office for a vaccination propaganda session before they can obtain a philosophical exemption. This is their editorial followed by our reply. The above illustration reveals the results the confrontation.

Editorial: We all have a stake in healthy vaccination rate

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 10A
In San Diego in 2008, a 7-year-old boy who had not been immunized contracted measles on a trip to Switzerland and spread it to his unvaccinated siblings and then his schoolmates.
Parents of many of those children had invoked a loosely written California law that permitted them to decline to have their children immunized based on their personal beliefs. As a result, the public health authorities found that 11 additional people got measles, including two infants. One had to be hospitalized.
California's "personal belief" law must be tightened.
Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, is a pediatrician who clearly understands the science behind vaccinations, and wisdom of communicating facts to parents.
He has introduced Assembly Bill 2109, a straightforward measure that would require physicians or other qualified health care specialists to inform parents of the benefits and risks of vaccines, and to sign forms attesting that they've imparted the information. Parents who still balk at having their child immunized would need to sign forms stating that they've been told of the rewards and risks.
Parents who fear vaccines are trying to do what they think is right. Many have read scare stories and accepted as truth false information from questionable sources. Pan said that among the most difficult fears to confront is that of autism.
There is no link between vaccinations and autism, but fears persist. As the state Department of Public Health points out, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and World Health Organization all agree that there is no connection between vaccines and autism.
Of course, vaccines have risk. But the benefits are not readily apparent because vaccines have been so successful. Polio is a rarity, thanks to vaccines. Measles is far less common that it was 45 years ago.
Health authorities blame the 2010 pertussis epidemic in which 10 California babies died in part on under-immunization. The state has since expanded the vaccination requirement. In 2011, there were no recorded deaths attributed to pertussis, also known as whooping cough, something that had not happened since 1991.
As it is, about 2 percent of parents opt out of having their children vaccinated. The number is rising, and is much higher at some schools.
Health authorities become alarmed when vaccination rates fall below 85 to 90 percent. That puts all people at risk, particularly those individuals who for medical reasons cannot be immunized.
Of all 58 California counties, Nevada County had the highest rate of parents of entering kindergartners claiming a personal belief exemption in 2010, says the state Department of Public Health. More than 17 percent of entering kindergartners in 2010 had not been vaccinated.
In Sacramento County, 3.2 percent of entering kindergartners arrived without vaccinations in 2010 because of the parents' beliefs. In 2010, eight Sacramento County schools had opt-out rates of 20 percent or greater, all of them private or charter.
California health officials have shown an ability to carry out effective public health campaigns. Smoking is the best example. Tobacco use has fallen dramatically since California embarked on its anti-smoking effort. The whooping cough campaign is another example. By speaking directly and honestly to parents, physicians can have huge impact.
Pan's measure is intended to provide accurate information, and ensure that parents realize that they place their child and other parents' children at risk by failing to get their children immunized. Pan's bill deserves bipartisan support and rapid approval.
The Bee's past stands
An important issue is that California has a very loose "personal belief exemption," an opt-out for parents that need not be based on religion or medical necessity. Legislators ought to revisit that law. … The bottom line: Kids need to get their vaccinations to protect us all.

Read more here:

Response: You have no idea what you're talking about

It's not the responsibility of children to risk their health to protect other people from generally mild illnesses.

And whether or not the law is “loosely written" is beside the point. The law should not exist in the first place. It is not the role of government to coerce parents into medicating their children.

Your naive faith in Dr. Pan is laughable. How does he clearly understand vaccination when his press release announcing the bill attempts to tie vaccination-exemption policy to a 2010 pertussis outbreak that was, in reality, a product of a poorly-functioning vaccine. A review emerging from the Infectious Disease Society of America confirmed:

Pertussis Vaccine's Waning Immunity Caused California Epidemic. The…vaccine’s failure to deliver durable infection protection to children aged 7-10 years led to the 2010 California pertussis epidemic

Your paper obviously believes that if a "public health official says something it must be true. Sad.

Perhaps, it's not Pan's great wisdom driving this misguided bill but rather his debt to the state’s healthcare apparatus. He has received over $175,000 from big healthcare over the last two years

And your assertion that there is no connection between autism and vaccination is odd since only one vaccine {MMR] and one vaccine ingredient [thimerosal] has ever been studied to any great extent. How do you know there is no connection? Did a public health official tell you?

And it’s absurd that you should credit new vaccine requirements for a lack of pertussis deaths. Pertussis is a cyclical illness and manifests every three to five years - of course after a large outbreak numbers would naturally be expected to fall. We had an “outbreak” in 2005 and numbers fell naturally in subsequent years. Relying on the vested interest comprising the public health machine to make up for you ignorance is a poor recipe for journalism and explains your editorial's ridiculous conclusion favoring the harassment of parents

As to your distress over a public health official becoming concerned realize freedom (do you know what that is?) is not to be squashed every time a public health apparatchik becomes concerned After all, it’s their job to manufacture concern; their jobs depend on it.

Then you move on to the talking point about a decline in rates putting all people at risk. That is of course preposterous. How can it put ALL people at risk when the vast majority are vaccinated and vaccine work in most people. Besides, you cannot put someone at risk if you do not have an illness - and not vaccinating is not an illness. As such, the unvaccinated place no one at risk. After all, do those of you who have not been vaccinated against the flu this season believe that you, by simply existing, are putting your friends, family and co-workers “at risk?” Infectious illnesses have been transmitted between people since the dawn of civilization. Therefore, the decision to remain unvaccinated can only withhold potential protection from others, not put them at risk. And no one has an obligation to undergo unwanted medical treatments to provide theoretical protection to others.

You conclude kids have to protect everyone by submitting to unwanted vaccines. But that contradicts your assertion that kids who don't vaccinate are putting others at risk. To put someone at risk you must create a risk that did not previously exist. But if a risk did not previously exist, why would they need to protect other from a non-existent risk. So which is it? Protect or put at risk?

*Editors note. Great job by our own Marlene Pitman Duke in the comments section as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pan for Sale

Richard Pan, the sponsor of the bill to herd parents into the doctors' office for a vaccine propaganda session, receives more money from so-called health professionals than from any other special interest. This is not surprising since this is the group pushing and profiting from this misguided legislation. They have purchased Pan for $175,000 over the last two years.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

California's Vaccination Indoctrination

Across America the right of parents to decide whether or not to vaccinate their children is under attack [1]. Now California families are being targeted.

In February, Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) introduced a bill to herd parents into a doctor’s office for a lecture on vaccination before those parents would be allowed to exercise an exemption to mandated vaccinations [2].

The ostensible purpose of bills such as these is to provide parents “accurate” information about vaccines. Their real purpose is however to increase vaccination rates by propagandizing parents and making the exemption process more difficult. [3]

The bill’s press release reveals the type of misinformation parents can expect to receive at one of these mandated meetings:
AB 2109 Introduced as Public Health Experts Gather at Capitol to Help Prevent Repeat of California’s 2010 Epidemic
The implication is that exemption policy had something to do with the pertussis outbreak of 2010. This is simply false; there is no scientific evidence to support a connection.

A review emerging from the Infectious Disease Society of America confirmed: [4]
Pertussis Vaccine's Waning Immunity Caused California Epidemic. The…vaccine’s failure to deliver durable infection protection to children aged 7-10 years led to the 2010 California pertussis epidemic
Besides, according to the California State Department of Health, as of March 2010:
Vaccination coverage in California is at or near all-time high levels [5]
The AB2109 press release also reveals a troubling relationship between this bill and a shadowy organization called the California Immunization Coalition. The CIC is an entity comprised of every vaccine-related vested interest imaginable. [6] The group’s dedication is not to accurate information but rather unbridled vaccination. Their web address says it all.

In 2011 they were the driving force behind Teen Vaccine Week: an “observance” where the group encouraged teachers to engage their students in herd immunity propaganda sessions, the playing of Vaccine Jeopardy (like the TV show) and vaccine-related scavenger hunts. [7]

Is this the group who will be tasked with deciding what’s “accurate?” Will they ensure that we get, as their president Jeff Goad, called it “the right” information? [8]

And why are they so anxious to get us into the doctor’s office to address a non-problem anyway? For years the vaccine promoters have been studying parents to find out what “communication” techniques and talking points to apply in order to make us more malleable to the vaccine proposition. [9]Noted spin doctors have been employed and have concluded that fostering vaccine demand “requires creating concern, anxiety, and worry.” [10]

But how do you create fear of mild illnesses while at the same time using accurate information? The answer is you don’t.

Besides, are doctors even providing accurate information in the first place? Based on my experience, the answer is no. For example Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine industry luminary, is, when discussing the risks posed by vaccine-preventable illnesses, often wildly off base. He claims that, in the pre-vaccine era (the late 50s and early 60s) measles-related deaths numbered 3,000. In reality, according to the CDC [11] and others, deaths numbered only ~450.

Then there’s Dr. Glenn D. Braunstein, of Cedars-Sinai who, in a 2010 Huffington Post piece, asserted that vaccination wiped out typhoid [12] when in reality a vaccine had nothing to do with its demise.[13]

Finally we have TV’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman. In February 2010 on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, she claimed:

Right now we have children dying in the United States of America from measles, mumps… [14]

In reality, no such deaths were occurring.

Is this the type of “reliable” information parents can expect to hear when dragged before the experts?

And since the purpose is to increase vaccine rates do you think doctors will tell parents that mortality from these illnesses was in virtual free fall long before the advent of vaccination? [15] It’s more likely parents will have to listen to the fallacious talking point that unvaccinated children “put the entire community at risk.” [16] This is of course laughably ridiculous. Here’s why.

The vast majority of people in America are protected by the vaccines they’ve already received. Besides, you cannot put someone at risk if you do not have an illness - and not vaccinating is not an illness. After all, do those of you who’ve declined this year’s flu shot believe that you, by simply existing, are putting friends, family and co-workers “at risk?” Of course not.

One would have to engage in a willful suspension of disbelief to imagine an accurate representation of the vaccine issue to emerge from a program designed by a consortium of vaccination-related vested interests. Yet despite a lack of popular demand for this type of legislation, we have, staring us in the face and threatening to become law, this egregious bill designed to strip parental rights simply because a few parents have chosen to exercise those rights.

And while not all of you may be worried about this specific issue, it’s important to remember that if parents lose the freedom to decide, without state involvement, what medical treatments their children will receive, what’s going to stop them from one day coming after you and the freedoms about which you care?

If you live in California, use the following link to contact your representative and demand your vaccine rights!













According to the textbook Vaccines (4th edition pages 1060-61):

The highest incidence usually occurs where water supplies serving large populations are contaminated by fecal matter. This situation existed at the end of the 19th century in most large cities in the United States...causing the disease to be highly endemic in large cities. With the introduction of water treatment at the turn of the 20th century...the incidence of typhoid plummeted precipitously in the large cities of the united states

And according to Arthur Allen, a great friend of vaccination and the author of Vaccine: The controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver:

Nationwide, the typhoid death rate declined 99 percent from 1906 to 1936, with little vaccination. P 137




*Paul Offit’s assertion regarding the measles appears on page 56 of his book Vaccines

Thursday, March 15, 2012

West Virginia Parents Take On the Machine

This is from We the Parents a group fighting for vaccine choice in West Virginia.


Parents Ignored, Placated, and Insulted by West Virginia’s Legislature

Senator Ron Stollings, a medical doctor in the West Virginia Legislature, made several statements in a February 22, 2012 WOWKTV interview. He is quoted as saying, “states with vaccine exemptions have higher rates of diseases like measles, mumps and diphtheria.” He adds “kids who are not vaccinated could put kids at risk who are.” Both blanket statements are simply untrue and perpetuate unrealistic fears. Senator Stollings goes on to say, that he “is working on a study resolution that he and other senators plan to introduce in the Education Committee. The study would last a year and show both sides of the vaccination issue in hopes of ending the issue in the state.” Parents across the state were pleased with the reasonable efforts the Senate appeared to be taking, and were assured that the issue would be given attention throughout the year during Senate Interim Committee meetings. 

Although the need for non-medical exemptions regarding childhood immunization, as 48 other states provide, was brought to the legislative forefront in the in the form of Senate Bill 50 on the first day of the 2012 Legislative Session, many ranking Senate members drug out the legislative process in order to not deal with citizens’ demands. Senator Plymale, chair of the Senate Education Committee, where the bill began, refused to answer the emails, phone calls, or faxes from over 100 parents asking for help in ending mandated healthcare for our children. 
Only after over 200 parents rallied on the Capitol steps on February 22, 2012, demanding their voice be heard and demanding their Constitutional rights, did Senator Stollings promise a “study” in a quote to WOWKTV. However, Senator Stollings also ignored phone calls, emails, and faxes from parents for nearly two months. And in the end, all of the stall tactics worked. Although the Senate did vote for the issue to be studied during the interim sessions, the House received the “study resolution” late in the day of the last day of the 2012 Legislative Session and were not given an opportunity to vote on the measure. 

If Senator Stollings’ goal is to end the issue (of forced immunization) in the state, as he was quoted, he will not be pleased with the backlash which is brewing. Parents suffering as a result of current unconstitutional, antiquated law who were ignored, placated, and treated with complete disrespect are rallying vigorously and planning a larger grassroots movement in the coming months.

The grassroots movement, We the Parents, has enjoyed favorable press, especially on a national level, and will continue to get the word out on all levels. In addition, expect billboards, radio interviews, rallies, documentary viewings, and major media saturation on local levels specific to West Virginia counties. The movement includes parents, professionals, churches, veterans, and is growing by leaps and bounds, and they are committed to the goal of ensuring that Mountaineers are indeed always free. 

For more information, visit or contact Lori Lee at (304) 532-5412 or email at

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Exemptions under Attack

Vaccine exemptions under attack in Vermont. Check out our new Age of Autism post on the issue.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012


The vaccination brochure known as ran this silly piece on doctors firing patients declining vaccines. Since my comments have been in moderation (or whatever calls it) for twelve hours, I've decided to share them here:

Doctors can't "fire" patients because they didn't hire them. All doctors can do is quit. And as more doctors quit, more parents will realize they were unnecessary in the first place. Childhood is not an illness and as such should not be spent in the doctor's office. Yes, kids will no longer get unnecessary antibiotics for conditions for which those drugs are ineffective, but hey, that's just the price they'll have to pay. And I wonder, are these docs "firing" families in which the parents are not up to date as well? They too could “endanger” kids in the waiting room. Perhaps we'll have to wait for the adult-vaccine push to progress further to hear that talking point emerge.

So quit away. We'll learn to live without the unnecessary and overdone well-baby visits - a brilliant ritual in which the healthy are brought into contact with the ill and infirmed. And we'll learn to weigh and measure our kids without your help.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Little Miss Mandates

A couple of days ago, courtesy of some friends over at Facebook, I discovered a pro-vaccine rant posted at written by a one Amanda Marcotte entitled The Superiority Complex of Vaccination Foes. Marcotte, a self-avowed, progressive (a collectivist ideology advancing the notion of an all-powerful state) attacks anyone having the temerity to challenge the wisdom of America’s absurd vaccination policy while at the same disparaging those believing in God. She begins:


Unlike with most anti-vaccination situations, the objections aren't coming from people whose faith in organic foods purchased at yuppie-tested enviroments are better disease prevention than vaccines, but from people returning to Old Faithful, the God card.

Oh those vaccine zealots. They imagine their precious little miracles to be threatened at every turn. Anyone who even desires a choice as to what medical treatments are administered to their healthy children is labeled anti-vaccine. As if vaccines were such a marvel, no rational person could ever oppose them. Sadly, for the public health communities and their statist supporters, vaccines are hardly miracles. They protect against largely mild illnesses* whose ability to cause death or serious injury was falling precipitously before the practice became widespread – this because contributory lifestyle factors almost always determine the progression of an illness.

As to her attacks on those worshiping God, perhaps it is because she thinks we should all really be worshiping the government and its minions in public health.

And finally notice how she employs the shopworn talking point about vaccine disinterest among yuppies (young urban professionals who ostensibly are well-educated) . She apparently favors a world like the one described by Orwell in the book 1984, in which obedience is the norm and “ignorance is strength.”

Continuing Marcotte states:

Obviously, this is not about children's rights. The children's rights are being violated by their parents, who believe their right to use their children as symbols to prove their piety trumps their children's right to health.

She seems painfully unaware that in free countries parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit - unless an action or non-action places those children at risk of serious harm. Not getting vaccinated in no way reaches that threshold. In fact, based on all the mistakes of the past involving vaccination, the procedure’s unknown effects on a child’s developing immune system and the acknowledged side effects many children must endure, one could successfully argue that it is the lifetime of vaccination from which the child needs to be protected.

Then pretending to possess an understanding of “rights,” she declares:
Of course, we live in an environment where conservatives are claiming that it's a violation of "religious liberty" if you can't force your beliefs on others. The degradation of understanding of what a right is and who has it is one that historians of early 21st century America will find fascinating, I'm sure.
Apparently, the only rights she recognizes are those allowing the state to initiate threats and violence against innocent individuals in order to further her collectivist agenda.

Progressive nuts such as Marcotte want the state to be in charge of our health because they want the state to be in charge of us. As such, the decision to medicate us is theirs, not our own. In a world where the government exists to care for us, there is nothing the mommy state cannot do. Sadly supporters of the failed collectivists and progressives ideologies such as Marcotte have little respect for real rights, especially the foundational one: the right to liberty. For them true rights are simply obstacles to the deluded notion that they could ever realize their utopian fantasies.
Rambling on she arrives at the topic of anti-vaccine “fanatics”:

What's interesting here is how revealing this whole situation is of the psychological baggage that leads a person to become an anti-vaccination fanatic.

Marcotte fails to comprehend the real fanatics are the public health do-gooders running around chasing a few cases of mild illnesses such as the measles in order to justify their feeding off the productive, taxpaying members of society. Their baggage requires them to deceive themselves with the delusionary notion that they, by preventing a few cases of the mumps or chickenpox are somehow heroic lifesavers and guardians of America’s children. Talk about psychological baggage.

She then appeals to egalitarianism (another far-left ideology in which the state has to force everyone to be equal and the identical by whatever means necessary) in her defense of America’s indefensible compulsory vaccination policy while using the childlike argument that if an injustice is already being perpetrated against another, it must be OK.

Whether it's because you think God loves you best or because you think your dedication to organic produce confers magical health benefits, the underlying sentiment of anti-vaccination believers is that they and theirs are special, and shouldn't be subject to the unclean health practices of the common folk. Vaccination is just too democratic a practice. Rich and poor, black and white, Christian or not: we all have to sit in the same chair while the same nurse pokes us with the same batch of drugs. They don't even have special needles for the better class of person getting a vaccination. Getting vaccinated is to health care like taking the bus is to transportation. The very act of it insinuates that your special snowflake of a child could become infected with germs that come from someone else's totally-not-special kid

It’s not surprising the author would deride those seeing themselves as individuals and not objects of state control.

The idea that each child is special (I don’t know where the snowflake part comes in but I’ve been seeing it used extensively in the “skeptical” community recently) is anathema to those who would have us live in a hive or in a herd. The dream of Marcotte and those like her has us living as a nation of medicated, homogenized, collectivized, indoctrinated, compliant sheep. To those of us who value freedom, Marcotte's dream is a nightmare and it's one that has been going on for far too long. Time to wake up, America.

*Or they protect against illnesses for which most of us are not at risk. For example hepatitis B.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Few Shots Against Hypocrisy.

Today we have a guest post courtesy of Anonymous.

Legislators nationwide are voting to protect children against infectious illness by turning down expanded exemptions, blocking new exemptions and adding burdensome requirements to current exemptions. See South Dakota, Washington State, West Virginia, Arizona and Vermont.

There is even a model draft exemption law being passed around to legislators to save them the trouble of writing their own.

We think the legislators are absolutely right to act to protect children against infectious diseases, but they are overlooking a major disease vector: themselves. Legislators work in crowded conditions, especially state legislators. They conduct hearings in small hearing rooms filled with people, in old buildings with inadequate air circulation. They shake hands. They even kiss babies. Looking at all 50 state legislatures, millions of people visit these buildings every year including busloads of school children.

We propose that legislatures end the hypocrisy of mandating lots and lots of vaccines to babies and children while ignoring their own role as germ magnets and get on board with the CDC vaccine schedule for adults. Since the medical profession is okay with giving even premature babies several vaccines at once, there is no reason that an adult legislator couldn’t do the entire recommended schedule (taking into account gender and age) at one doctor visit.

No, we aren’t talking about volunteering for these vaccines. Vaccines for legislators should be mandatory. Whatever exemption laws are currently in place should apply, so if parents need to get a doctor to sign off on an exemption, the legislator should have to get a doctor to sign off on an exemption. The usual rules for medical exemptions will apply. First you get the vaccines. If you react badly, you tell your doctor. If you can convince your doctor that the vaccine caused the reaction (good luck) and if you can convince the doctor that the reaction was serious enough to preclude more vaccinations (good luck), and if you can convince the doctor to actually sign the medical exemption form and (in some states) the health department to sign off on the form, then you can be exempted from the vaccine which caused the reaction. Only, of course, since you got a whole pile of vaccines at one time neither your nor the doctor have any idea which vaccine did it. Tough.

Obviously these mandates should also apply to everyone working in state health departments, from the janitor to the chief. They should be applied to every doctor or pharmacist who testifies in favor of vaccine mandates. Everyone who testifies in favor of forced vaccination should be vaccinated. Obvious, right?

Lobbyists, too, need to get their shots. All that handshaking…

And governors.

And I’m sure that everyone at the Centers for Disease Control is up to date on every possible vaccination.

Get on it folks!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reservations about Gardasil

We're incredibly excited to present our first post by a guest blogger.

Reservations about Gardasil by Tanya DeBuff Wallette:

 The mommy wars are still raging.  Parents judge each other so harshly that it seems no one wins when it comes to a variety of topics like giving birth the “right” way, breastfeeding, free-range parenting, television watching habits, proper age for things like earrings, cell phones, walking home alone, issues of discipline, etc., etc., etc., and, of course, vaccination.  A few months ago I wrote a guest post for The Feminist Breeder in which I expressed my surprise that many of my cohorts in the pro-choice movement, who vehemently defend any woman’s right to choose, seem very much anti-choice when it comes to vaccinations, both for children and adults.  I am all for choice when it comes to vaccines.  I’m not anti-vaccine, but I’m definitely a skeptic, and have decided from now on to research vaccines and do what I think is best on a case-by-case basis. 

            When it comes to the HPV vaccine case, I have made my decision.  My daughters and my son and any future children I may have will not receive the HPV vaccine while it is my decision to make.  When they are old enough they may choose for themselves.  I have a real problem with the vaccine, and it’s not because of the way the virus is spread.  I have two  main problems with Gardasil in particular (not having read too much about Cervarix, a less popular HPV vaccine by a different company). 

EFFICACY.  According to WebMD, the vaccine is proven to be effective for at least four years, and maybe longer.  Long-term effects are not known.  (How could they be?  The vaccine only came out six years ago!)  So, it might last for five years?  Six?  Gardasil is now recommended for females and males from about age 9 to 26.  So if a person received the series at 9 years of age, they’re going to be protected until they’re 14 or so.  Then what, a booster?  A series of boosters?  According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer occurs mostly in mid-life, usually under 50 years of age but rarely in those under 20 years of age.  Multiple booster shots would likely be necessary to keep immunity up.  The vaccine works to protect against those strains that are most likely to cause cancer ONLY if sexual activity hasn’t begun yet. 

So if my nine year-old hasn’t had sex (cripes, did I just have to type that?  Ack!), they’re protected against four strains for at least four years.  If my child has begun sexual activity by the time they receive the injections, and they have been exposed to one of the four strains, “catch-up” vaccines may be useful in protecting against the other three strains.  But then again, they may not.  The American Cancer Society says “the independent panel making the Society recommendations found that there was not enough proof that catch-up vaccination for all women age 19 to 26 would be beneficial.” 

While writing this I attempted to find an article or piece of information discussing this discrepancy.  Why vaccinate our children for something they are not likely to contract until middle age?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait if the protection lasts for only four years?  I found nothing in my search for discussion about Gardasil’s length of efficacy.  I’m not satisfied with the gap here.  If I were to seriously consider this vaccination, I would want to know how long my kids would be protected, and they would also deserve to know if they would need to continue to receive boosters throughout their lives. 

It’s generally agreed, at least, that Pap smears remain a necessity even if a woman has had the vaccination.  Pap screening can catch atypical cells and precancerous cells, and the rise in the percentage of women getting regular Paps has led to better detection of atypical and/or cancerous cells, which has led to fewer deaths from cervical cancer. 

But wait.  So women should get Paps regularly.  Obviously.  Now, here’s an argument I have come across a few times, or something along these lines:  “Pap smears are great, but lots of women don’t get regular Paps!  This vaccine is here to protect them.”  Still, no one’s denying that Paps are still necessary, even with the vaccine.  My question is this:  If these people see women as neglecting their health screening, or being too busy to get in to see their doctor, why do they think these same women could make it into the office three times in less than a year?  I mean, getting to the doctor is getting to the doctor is getting to the doctor.  This reasoning is faulty. 

And so was Governor Rick Perry’s when he attempted to mandate the HPV vaccine back in 2007.  Perry mentioned that he could overlook the government encroachment on parents’ rights because he erred “firmly on the side of protecting life.”  Does Perry…wait.  Does anyone think that the majority of parents out there aren’t doing their damndest to protect their child’s life?  I mean, sure, there are crappy parents out there, crappy guardians, crappy grandparents, who don’t care much what happens to their wards.  But I stand by this.  Most parents are doing what they think is best for their child.  And when we’re informed, we can do that.  Lots of parents conclude that Gardasil or Cervarix is right for their child—but not all parents, and that’s their right. If we all know all the information, we should be free to take our own paths, right?  Right?  And even when folks don’t know all the information (I didn’t research anything my doctor told me to do before a couple of years ago), they still want what’s best and safest for their kids.  I did then, when I followed the recommended vaccination schedule, and I do now, when I will not be fully vaccinating my youngest.

SIDE EFFECTS.  Look, there’s a lot of stuff out there about how many people have been injured by or had reactions to Gardasil, according to the VAERS reports.  I’m aware that there’s no way to verify that the reactions were definitively caused by the vaccine.  Correlation does not equal causation and all that.  However.  For me and my kids, any risk of serious reactions is too high, especially when the vaccine has higher reaction/injury reports (link) than other vaccines. 

Currently in California, the HPV vaccine is being offered to 12 year-olds without their parents’ knowledge or consent.  Now, if a person has talked to their child about the vaccine and decided it’s the right choice for them or the wrong choice for them, it’s probably no big deal.  The kid can say yes or no according to what they and their guardian have decided.  But lots of folks don’t have all the information and they’re trusting that the school administration would not do something to harm their children.  And I can pretty much guarantee that the school nurse is not giving the tweens information on the VAERS or length of efficacy. 

Another thing that surprises me about the pro-choice, environmentalist, eco-feminist crowd I mingle with online is that they don’t question the vaccine, and all vaccines.  We are people who question every single thing that goes into our kids’ bodies.  Some people don’t allow their kids to have sugar—others forbid sugar substitutes.  A lot of us try not to use unnatural food dyes.  We check to see if there’s BPA in our plastic.  So it makes perfect sense to me that this crowd in particular would wonder about each and every thing that is ingested by or injected into our children, especially vaccines. But again and again I’ve found that those who advocate for informed consent in almost every other issue, are not OK with me deciding not to vaccinate. 

Since when did doctors become so elevated?  Lots of comments on articles against the HPV vaccine mention that doctors surely have more knowledge than us moms, so we should trust them.    

Let me get this straight.  We often get second opinions when we’re not sure a doctor is right or when we feel more eyes are needed on the situation. We remain wary of C-section-happy doctors.  Why, then, should our trust be blind when it comes to vaccines?  As in all occupations, even those which require much schooling, there are bad doctors.  Ill-informed doctors.  Stubborn doctors.  Asshole doctors. 

I really love it when I find an article on vaccination that is reasonable and rational.  Sharon Begley wrote a great one at The Daily Beast, which actually argues for the HPV vaccine, but acknowledges the opposition’s concerns instead of writing skeptics or anti-vaxxers off as ignorant or selfish.  Over at Evil Slut Clique, you can find two separate blog posts with information about Gardasil.  Check those out, because that’s what a real conversation about the HPV vaccine looks like.  I just don’t have any use for articles that slam doors and hurl insults.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions about Gardasil and every vaccine and medication—actually, it seems just the opposite to me.  I find Gardasil’s statement on the website telling:  “Only a doctor or health care professional can decide if GARDASIL is right for you or your child.”

Tanya DeBuff Wallette recently graduated with a master's degree in creative writing.  She is a contributing writer at Bark, and she blogs as Bess at Alala Mamas.  She is a feminist, a newlywed, and a free-range parent who works at home as a medical transcriptionist and in between doing that, writing, and reading, she works on raising three young children