Holding a protest sign which read: “My Child, My Choice,” Sarah Mazerik was one of many individuals protesting outside the California State Capitol after the Assembly approved a measure requiring all children going to both public and private school to get the required health vaccines before attending.
“Adopting one of the most far-reaching vaccination laws in the nation,” The Los Angeles Times writes (June 30), “California on Tuesday barred religious and other personal-belief exemptions for schoolchildren, a move that could affect tens of thousands of students and sets up a potential court battle with opponents of immunization.”
Let me repeat that, “…could affect tens of thousands of students… ”
There are third-world countries where children are sick or dying due to a lack of vaccinations, and, according to reports, a growing number of parents are fighting to not have their children receive a vaccination against any number of diseases?
“Despite overwhelming evidence that vaccines are an essential public health measure,” The New York Times writes (June 30), “the number of unvaccinated children in California has been rising, partly because personal or religious exemptions have been easy to obtain. Parents who decline vaccines for their children and take heart from the fact that most other children are protected have helped create pockets in particular schools and communities where the overall immunity level is dangerously low, doctors say.”
Let me repeat that one: “Despite overwhelming evidence that vaccines are an essential public health measure.”
What part of “overwhelming” do these parents not understand?
“Despite the intense lobbying by each side,” The New York Times continues, “the science supporting vaccines is settled, and opponents remain only a small if vocal minority. Doctors overwhelmingly recommend childhood vaccines — which have been credited with the elimination or near-elimination of diseases like measles, mumps and rubella — and many pediatricians will not accept families who resist vaccines into their practices.
“Medical studies that claim to show a link between vaccines and autism have been discredited or retracted, yet some parents and others cling to them as evidence that their children should not get the shots. But if too many people in a given community are not vaccinated, doctors say, the ‘herd immunity’ factor that protects vulnerable people and others from these diseases breaks down.”
On the Autism Speaks website, Chief Science Officer Rob Ring states, “Over the last two decades extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccines and autism. Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines. Vaccines are very important. Parents must make the decision whether to vaccinate their children. Efforts must be continually made to educate parents about vaccine safety. If parents decide not to vaccinate they must be aware of the consequences in their community and their local schools.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no link between autism and vaccines, and offer a report and study.
“Some people have had concerns that ASD might be linked to the vaccines children receive, but studies have shown that there is no link between receiving vaccines and developing ASD. In 2011, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on eight vaccines given to children and adults found that with rare exceptions, these vaccines are very safe.
“A 2013 CDC study added to the research showing that vaccines do not cause ASD. The study looked at the number of antigens (substances in vaccines that cause the body’s immune system to produce disease-fighting antibodies) from vaccines during the first two years of life. The results showed that the total amount of antigen from vaccines received was the same between children with ASD and those that did not have ASD.”
Actress Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Oz have been supporters of direct causal links between childhood MMR shots, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and autism. The Genetic Literacy Project writes (Dec. 1, 2014), “Sorry Dr. Oz and Jenny McCarthy: More scientific proof vaccines, GMOs don’t cause autism.”
Comedian/actor Jim Carrey, McCarthy’s former boyfriend tweeted, “California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in mandatory vaccines,” Carrey wrote. “This corporate fascist must be stopped.”
I like Jim Carrey, think her’s a pretty funny guy and not a bad actor. But I was not aware of Carrey’s credentials as a scientist or doctor. Here’s a link to a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of vaccines produced by The Washington Post. Watch it Jim, knowledge is power!
If you don’t want to believe in the science; if you are an adult who chooses to make a personal choice and not get vaccinated, fine. But if you have a child, you not only need to listen to what a preponderance of medical doctors are saying, but you need to consider the consequences of taking your unvaccinated child to school and potentially harming other children.
And that is what is so disturbing to me about this issue.
Some parents are more concerned about their rights than the responsibilities they have to others in their own community.
My hope is that Governor Brown will offer on-line public education classes for those parents who choose to opt out of a vaccination program. I would then require those parents to have their home-schooled child tested every quarter by a public school teacher to determine if the child is, in fact, receiving the necessary educational support. These visits would be paid for by the parents.
According to Dr. Dean Blumberg, an authority on pediatrics and infectious diseases at U.C. Davis, “The majority of the state does the right thing, but you have these clusters of really low rates, and if there’s a vulnerable population in any way there, you can have serious problems quickly. The parental choice question is big and important, but what is more important here is individual and larger public health. There is no doubt in the scientific community that there are no dangers in vaccines.”
My message for Mrs. Mazerik: It is your child. But the choice you’re making can affect the lives of other children.