Entitled anti-vaxxers weasel around California law to dangerously enroll their kids in school

Unsurprisingly it sounds like public charter schools are big anti-vaxx magnets.

Tonic:

At two public charter schools in the Sonoma wine country town of Sebastopol, more than half the kindergartners received medical exemptions from state-required vaccines last school year. The cities of Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Nevada City, Arcata, and Sausalito all had schools in which more than 30 percent of the kindergartners had been granted such medical exemptions.

Nearly three years ago, with infectious disease rates ticking up, California enacted a fiercely contested law barring parents from citing personal or religious beliefs to avoid vaccinating their children. Children could be exempted only on medical grounds, if the shots were harmful to health.

Yet today, many of the schools that had the highest rates of unvaccinated students before the new measure continue to hold that alarming distinction. That’s because parents have found end runs around the new law requiring vaccinations. And they have done so, often, with the cooperation of doctors—some not even pediatricians. One prolific exemption provider is a psychiatrist who runs an anti-aging clinic.

Doctors in California have broad authority to grant medical exemptions to vaccination, and to decide the grounds for doing so. Some are wielding that power liberally and sometimes for cash: signing dozens—even hundreds—of exemptions for children in far-off communities.

“It’s sort of the Hail Mary of the vaccine refusers who are trying to circumvent SB 277,” the California Senate bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2015, says Brian Prystowsky, a Santa Rosa pediatrician.

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Pacific Northwest measles outbreak: "like taking a pail of gasoline and throwing a lighted match into it"

Failure to vaccinate can cause death. Maybe not killing your own child, tho it is not unlikely, the awful decision to not vaccinate puts at risk all the people who for good reasons can not get the shot.

Snohomish County rocks.

MyNorthWest:

“It’s like taking a pail of gasoline and throwing a lighted match into it. I have some concerns that this is going to get worse before it gets better,” said Clark County Public Health Director Alan Melnick.

Melnick said there are now 25 confirmed measles cases and 12 suspected cases in Clark County. The majority are kids younger than 10.

At least 21 people with the disease never got the MMR vaccine. The other four cases are unverified.

“What people don’t realize about measles is how contagious it is,” said Lawrence Neville, PeaceHealth Southwest Chief Medical Officer. “It’s spread by airborne droplets and that’s why the very air can be infectious for up to two hours later after someone infected with measles is in that vicinity.”

Miranda Smith said she’s frustrated by the outbreak. She has three young kids.

“It’s their lives on the line, honestly. If they’re not vaccinated and something like this happens, then what am I going to do to save them?” she said.

Washington State Department of Health statistics show Clark County has the sixth lowest immunization rate in the state.

“I’d hardly be surprised if we see more cases that are outside of Clark County,” Melnick

said.

The CDC’s immunization recommendation is 90 percent.

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Arizona kills vaccine education program to placate the ignorant

A small coalition of folks who think vaccines are evil have managed to eliminate Arizona's vaccination education program. The parents were afraid their children may be forced learn that vaccines are a good thing.

Via AZ Central:

The state of Arizona has canceled a vaccine education program after receiving complaints from parents who don't immunize their school-age children.

The pilot online course, modeled after programs in Oregon and Michigan, was created in response to the rising number of Arizona schoolchildren skipping school-required immunizations against diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough because of their parents' beliefs.

But some parents, who were worried the optional course was going to become mandatory, complained to the Governor's Regulatory Review Council, which reviews regulations to ensure they are necessary and do not adversely affect the public. The six-member council is appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey, with an ex-officio general counsel.

Members of the council questioned the state health department about the course after receiving the public feedback about it, emails show. The state responded by canceling it.

The complaints that ended the pilot program came from about 120 individuals and families, including 20 parents who said that they don't vaccinate their children, records show.

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Kansas continues to struggle with measles outbreak

A measles outbreak in Kansas continues to spread. Health officials warn folks who are potentially contagious to call ahead and find locations where they can safely be treated.

Vaccinate your kids.

Via the Kansas City Star:

With two doses, the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR vaccine, is about 97 percent effective at preventing measles.

But the illness is highly contagious and can be spread several days before the telltale red rash that follows the other, more ambiguous symptoms.

That has made it difficult to keep it out of hospitals and doctors' offices during the two outbreaks that have hit the Kansas City metro area in the last two months.

In addition to St. Joseph Medical Center, the University of Kansas Hospital, Children's Mercy Hospital in Overland Park and Olathe Health clinics in La Cygne and Mound City have also been potential exposure sites.

Robyn Livingston, a Children's Mercy doctor who specializes in infectious disease, said it's particularly concerning when measles shows up in medical settings unannounced, because hospitals often serve patients who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons.

“If you think your child has measles, don’t just show up to one of our locations," Livingston said. "Which has happened.”

Livingston said it's imperative that people who suspect measles call ahead, so doctors and hospitals can arrange to segregate them from others.

Though most people who get measles fully recover, it can cause potentially fatal complications like pneumonia and, more rarely, encephalitis.

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Crowdfunding a pro-vaccination bus to follow the anti-vaxxer bus

Jack writes, "Craig Egan has been a thorn in the side of the anti-vaccination movement for years. Now he's taking that passion for truth and facts on the road, following the Anti-Vaccination people in the Vaxxed bus. He's crowdfunding the tour and donating excess proceeds to a pro-Vaccination charity." Read the rest

California kindergarten vaccination rates soar

After the 2014 measles resurgence California passed some laws requiring students to be vaccinated. It worked!

Via the L.A. Times:

New data released Wednesday showed that the percentage of California’s kindergartners as of last fall with all required vaccinations rose from 92.8% to 95.6%. Los Angeles County’s rate jumped from 90% to 95%, and Orange County’s from 92.5% to 95.5%.

More kindergartners were also getting the measles vaccination. An astonishing 97.3% of California’s kindergartners reported receiving both measles shots, up from 94.5% a year ago and 92.6% reported in the fall of 2014, just before the Disneyland measles outbreak struck.

Perhaps the doomsday clock will tick a fraction of a second backwards. Read the rest

Seattle kids are less likely to get polio vaccine than kids in Rwanda, and rates continue to drop

Two decades years ago, 95.4 percent of kindergarteners in Washington state were vaccinated for polio. This year, only 88.4 percent had the vaccine.

California officials warn anti-vaxxers to avoid Disneyland

Unvaccinated people are being officially warned by California epidemiologists to avoid Disneyland in the wake of a measles outbreak. In some counties in California, more than 1 in 5 kindergartners are unvaccinated due to "personal belief exemptions." Read the rest

Death toll from the American anti-vaccine movement

The Anti-Vaccine Body Count site reminds us that since celebrities like Jenny McCarthy took the cause of scaring parents into avoiding life-saving vaccines, thousands of preventable illnesses and deaths have struck. Since 2007 alone, more than 110,000 preventable illnesses and 1,170 deaths have occurred. In that same timeframe, the number of autism diagnoses linked through scientific evidence and review to vaccination is zero. (via Making Light) Read the rest