By Dr. Mercola
“Anti-Vaxxers Have Found a Way Around California’s Strict New Immunization Law. They Need to Be Stopped.” This hostile and derogatory headline was published in the Los Angeles Times November 8.1 The “loophole” they’re referring to is the use of medical vaccine exemptions written by physicians.
According to this editorial, no more than 3 percent of children “should reasonably” qualify for a medical exemption to avoid vaccination, yet parents of more than 10 percent of school-aged children enrolled at 58 California schools in the fall of 2016 had obtained a medical exemption written by a physician, allowing their children to attend school without every dose of every state-mandated vaccine.
“The new law — SB 2772 — pushed up the statewide immunization numbers to a safe level overall. But dozens of schools have reported suspiciously high numbers of medical exemptions that, if left unchecked, could endanger their communities,” the LA Times editorial board writes.
Medical Exemptions in California Have Tripled Since the Personal Belief Exemption Was Eliminated in 2015
On June 29, 2015, California enacted SB 277, which eliminated the legal right for parents to file a personal belief exemption to vaccination for religious and conscientious beliefs so their unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children can attend school. Now, school-aged children in California must get nearly three dozen doses of 10 federally recommended and state-mandated vaccines or forgo their right to be educated in a public or private school.
The alternative is for parents to homeschool their children — an option that is simply impossible for many single parents or families in which both parents work. The article goes on to state:
“[T]he numbers of medical exemptions statewide didn’t just rise after SB 277 took effect, they tripled, with a few schools reporting exemptions from as many as a quarter of their students. Given what health experts say about the expected rate of medical exemptions, that’s just not credible. Are there some physicians who are, for either ideological or financial reasons, helping parents avoid vaccinating their healthy kids?”
California Doctors in the Crosshairs
The authors note there have been “examples of a few doctors’ offices that advertise medical exemption evaluations for a fee,” and that these doctors are providing medical exemptions for health conditions that are not included in the narrow list of contraindications to vaccination defined by federal health officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).3
By and large, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which develops CDC vaccine policy guidelines, limits medical exemptions to severe allergic reactions to previous vaccinations and rare severe immunodeficiencies.
According to the LA Times, some children have received medical exemptions for autoimmune disorders, such as eczema, asthma and diabetes, which federal health officials do not consider a vaccine contraindication. Under current law school officials must accept a medical vaccine exemption form signed by a licensed physician.
“The only real enforcement mechanism against doctors circumventing the vaccination requirement is through the Medical Board of California,” the LA Times noted, meaning the only way under current law that the state can limit medical exemptions is for the state medical board to hunt down and punish doctors who think for themselves and stray beyond the CDC’s narrow contraindication guidelines if they believe a child’s health will be endangered by vaccination.
“It would be better to discourage doctors from helping parents to game the system in the first place. That could be accomplished by some level of secondary review and approval …
At the very least, county health departments could ask to review anonymized medical exemption forms to look for suspicious patterns in the cited medical conditions or in the doctors signing the forms. Failing a better response from the Medical Board, public exposure may serve as an effective antidote to abuse of the medical exemption rule,” the LA Times writes.
The Case of Dr. Sears
Pediatrician Dr. Robert Sears has been in the state medical board’s crosshairs since 2016, when the executive director of the California medical board accused him of “gross negligence” in the care and treatment of a pediatric patient who received a medical exemption for two “unusual and severe vaccine reactions,” which Sears determined would place the child “at risk of further harm,” were the child to receive further vaccinations.4
Sears has also been a vocal opponent of the current federally recommended childhood vaccination schedule, which advises doctors to give 69 doses of 16 vaccines, which is three times as many vaccinations as children received three decades ago.
His 2007 book, “The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child,” included an alternate schedule that gave fewer vaccines on one day and spread the vaccination process out over a longer period of time, which many proponents of mandatory vaccination laws blame as being a major cause of parent’s doubts about vaccine safety and a rise in the numbers of vaccine exemptions for school children.
The California medical board will review Dr. Sears’ case sometime next May and make a decision about whether or not he will be sanctioned. What the editorial board of the LA Times is suggesting is for the California medical board to go after more doctors who, like Sears, are giving medical exemptions that do not strictly conform to narrow CDC contraindication guidelines.
This approach completely fails to respect a doctor’s professional expertise (and conscience) when making a judgment about whether or not vaccination will harm a child’s health. It’s worth noting that ACIPs vaccine contraindication guidelines for medical exemptions excludes 99.9 percent of children, and leaves virtually no room for individualized considerations.
As noted by Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), in the video above, an unprecedented number of children are born healthy, get vaccinated and are never healthy again. Yet the LA Times is pushing for a groupthink, mob mentality aimed at health professionals and parents who are trying to protect children from vaccine injury and death by putting safety before unnecessary risk.
There’s No Way to Predict Who Will Be the Proverbial ‘Sacrificial Lamb’
The one-size-fits-all approach to vaccinations is dangerous in the extreme. Scientists have clearly demonstrated that some people are more susceptible to vaccine damage than others but, because the individual circumstances that raise vaccine risks are so multivaried, there’s no way to accurately predict who will be harmed and who will not. Reports published by physician committees at the Institute of Medicine confirm that vaccines can injure and kill people, and that:
- Very little is known about how vaccines or microbes act at the cellular and molecular level in the human body5,6,7
- The Institute of Medicine confirms that an unknown number of us have certain genetic, biological and environmental susceptibilities that make us more vulnerable to being harmed by vaccines, but doctors cannot accurately predict who we are8,9
- Clinical trials of experimental vaccines are too small to detect serious reactions before they are licensed10,11
- The U.S. recommended child vaccine schedule through age 6 has not been adequately studied to rule out an association with allergies, autoimmunity, learning and behavior disorders, seizures, autism and other brain and immune dysfunction12
As noted by Fisher in a previous article:
“Vaccination must remain a choice because it is a medical intervention performed on the body of a healthy person that carries a risk of injury or death13,14 … We do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products like vaccines, so vaccine risks are not being borne equally by everyone in society.
Why should the lives of those vulnerable to vaccine complications be valued any less than those vulnerable to complications of infections? And why should people not be free to choose to stay healthy in ways that pose far fewer risks?”
The Immoral and Unethical Foundation of Americas Public Health Law
You’ve probably heard that mandatory vaccinations are “for the greater good” of society. That’s exactly what the LA Times editorial board is saying as well. What many do not realize is that this “greater good” argument is based in utilitarianism — a philosophy created by Jeremy Bentham, a 19th century British attorney and social reformer15,16 who mocked the U.S. Constitution for affirming the natural rights protected in the First Amendment.
Utilitarianism judges the rightness or wrongness of an action by how it affects the majority. According to Bentham, an action is only moral or ethical if it results in the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. During the Doctors’ Trial at Nuremberg after World War II, doctors who performed horrific scientific experiments on prisoners invoked the utilitarian defense, claiming it was moral to sacrifice the health and lives of some individuals to advance scientific knowledge that could save the lives of many others.17,18
In other words, this philosophy proclaims that it’s alright to kill your child if it saves two or three others. This philosophy might be useful on the battle field or in crisis situations where you absolutely cannot save everyone, but should not be the basis of public health law.
The utilitarian defense was rejected as immoral and unethical in Nuremberg, and the first principle of the Nuremberg Code that grew out of those legal proceedings is that “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.”19 Alas, the U.S. never addressed its philosophy to medical risk-taking and never strayed from its utilitarian roots.
This is why we now have states where healthy, bright children are refused an education unless their parents are willing to play a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with their child’s life “for the greater good.”
Whooping Cough Resurgence Blamed on Vaccinated Infection Carriers
The case for mandatory vaccinations without exception also fall flat when you consider the scientific evidence showing that the re-emergence of many infectious diseases is in fact rooted in the vaccination program itself, and has nothing to do with people’s decision to not vaccinate.
This certainly appears to be the case with whooping cough. As noted by Science Daily in 2015,20 “The dramatic resurgence of whooping cough is due, in large part, to vaccinated people who are infectious but who do not display the symptoms.” That was the conclusion of a study published in BMC Medicine,21 which concluded that:
“[A]symptomatic transmission is the most parsimonious explanation for many of the observations surrounding the resurgence of B. pertussis in the U.S. and U.K. These results have important implications for B. pertussis vaccination policy and present a complicated scenario for achieving herd immunity and B. pertussis eradication.”
This study also concluded that the practice of cocooning — where family members are vaccinated to protect newborns — does not work, “because even if you get the acellular vaccine you can still become infected and can still transmit.”22 Despite such findings — and this is not the only study showing vaccinated individuals can transmit disease — the unvaccinated are routinely singled out as scapegoats when outbreaks occur.
Pertussis Has Out-Evolved the Vaccine
Last year, Tod Merkel, principal investigator at the Laboratory of Respiratory and Special Pathogens, Office of Vaccines Research and Review at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), also confirmed that “it’s not unvaccinated individuals that are driving the [pertussis] infection,”23 which in 2012 had ballooned to 50,000 reported cases24 from 1,000 cases in 1976.25
Yet, 2014 and 2015 saw a significant decline in reported cases, dropping to 32,971 and 20,762 respectively. These dramatic up-and-down swings are independent of vaccination rates, which have remained relatively stable at 95 percent for school-aged children, and 80 percent for booster shots.26,27
Merkel’s research also suggests asymptomatic carriage in the vaccinated population “explains the increased disease incidence in the U.S.” Commenting on his findings, he notes, “We think the vaccine, although it’s preventing disease in the individuals who are vaccinated, is not preventing them from becoming infected, carrying and transmitting the bacteria.”
Fisher’s fully referenced article, “Pertussis Microbe Outsmarts the Vaccines as Experts Argue About Why,”28 published last year, reveals that researchers have in fact known for decades that both whole cell pertussis vaccine and acellular pertussis vaccines fail to prevent infection and transmission of infection that can then be spread by vaccinated asymptomatic carriers.29
The B. pertussis organism actually began evolving to evade whole cell pertussis vaccine soon after the combination DPT vaccine was introduced in 1949, developing new strains that produce more pertussis toxin to suppress the human immune system and cause more serious disease. Today, the pertussis strains included in the vaccine no longer match the pertussis strains causing the disease. This is yet another reason why whooping cough infection has risen.
All of this has been scientifically verified, yet pertussis outbreaks are still met with disbelief. In January 2016, whooping cough broke out in a Florida preschool, where it continued to spread among students, staff and family members for five months. The high vaccination rate at the school did not prevent that sustained outbreak, which makes sense once you accept the fact that the vaccine no longer works as advertised.
According to Medscape, only five out of the 117 pupils had not received the complete series of three doses of DTP vaccine.30 In this case, the children’s recent vaccination histories worsened the situation because doctors were reluctant to test for and diagnose pertussis when the child was fully vaccinated.
This hesitation and assumption that the vaccine would offer protection against infection and transmission — which, again, has been disproven for decades — allowed the spread of the infection by asymptomatic carriers to continue.
Mumps Outbreak Caused by Faulty Vaccine
In related news, it looks like the mumps outbreak that began in August at Syracuse University is also the result of a flawed vaccine.31 As of November 13, there were 41 confirmed cases of mumps among students. All had received the recommended two doses of the mumps, measles, rubella (MMR) vaccine.
In 2010, whistleblowers sued Merck, the maker of the only mumps vaccine licensed for use in the U.S., accusing the company of falsifying data to inflate the perceived effectiveness of the vaccine. According to the legal complaint, the two whistleblowers, who worked for Merck, were pressured by management to participate in the fraud, and were threatened with arrest if they filed a complaint with the FDA.
That lawsuit is still pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The court is scheduled to decide whether the case will go to trial sometime next year. The whistleblowers blame the re-emergence of mumps on declining vaccine efficacy. Yet, despite that very real possibility, mandatory vaccination proponents such as Dr. Paul Offit suggest the best way to address the mumps vaccine failure problem is simply to require a third dose of MMR vaccine before students enter college.32
The ‘Public Health Risk’ Fallacy
In this lecture, immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych, Ph.D., author of “Vaccine Illusion: How Vaccination Compromises Our Natural Immunity and What We Can Do to Regain Our Health,” explains how vaccines damage your immune function, which can result in any number of adverse health effects.
In May 2015, just before California law SB 277 was enacted, she published an open letter to legislators,33 specifying a number of reasons why discrimination against unvaccinated children is unwarranted, as they pose no public health risk. She wrote, in part:
“It is often stated that those who choose not to vaccinate their children for reasons of conscience endanger the rest of the public, and this is the rationale behind most of the legislation to end vaccine exemptions currently being considered by federal and state legislators country-wide.
You should be aware that the nature of protection afforded by many modern vaccines — and that includes most of the vaccines recommended by the CDC for children — is not consistent with such a statement.
I have outlined below the recommended vaccines that cannot prevent transmission of disease either because they are not designed to prevent the transmission of infection (rather, they are intended to prevent disease symptoms), or because they are for non-communicable diseases.”
Obukhanych’s list includes inactivated poliovirus vaccine, tetanus, diphtheria toxoid vaccine (contained in the DTaP vaccine), acellular pertussis, H. influenza and hepatitis B vaccine. She also points out the “measles paradox,” which is that “as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons.”34
“In summary, a person who is not vaccinated with IPV, DTaP, HepB and Hib vaccines due to reasons of conscience poses no extra danger to the public than a person who is. No discrimination is warranted,” she notes. She also points out that serious adverse events are in fact far more common than publicly admitted, with 1 in 168 children requiring emergency room admittance following their one-year wellness check when vaccines are given, according to Canadian research.
One in 730 children ends up in the emergency room after their 18-month vaccination appointment. Some conscientious doctors are aware of these kinds of risks, and are willing to work with parents who have concerns about their child’s well-being by writing medical exemptions. Is this really a crime that should be punished by the removal of their license to practice medicine?
Mandatory vaccinations place many children at unnecessary risk, oftentimes for very little if any benefit. To remove informed consent protections from vaccine laws by eliminating all personal belief vaccine exemptions and severely restricting medical exemptions by thwarting doctors from doing what they believe is in the best interest of their patients, is an inhumane, draconian measure based on utilitarianism — an unethical philosophy upon which public health law should not be based.