Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA) – is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines (generally, but sometimes moving to other areas of medicine), social policy and the law. Her articles usually unwind the complexities of legal issues with vaccinations and legal policies, such as mandatory vaccination and exemptions, with facts and citations. I know a lot of writers out there will link to one of her articles here as a sort of primary source to tear down a bogus antivaccine message.
Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination–she really is a well-published expert in this area of vaccine policy, and doesn’t stand on the pulpit with a veneer of Argument from Authority, but is actually an authority. Additionally, Reiss is also member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.
Below is a list of articles that Dorit Rubinstein Reiss has written for this blog, organized into some arbitrary and somewhat broad categories for easy reference. Of course, she has written articles about vaccines and legal issues in other locations, which I intend to link here at a later date. This article will be updated as new articles from Dorit are added here.
Ad hominem attacks on Dorit Rubinstein Reiss
The Hate Debate of the antivaccination cult–Actually, this article wasn’t written by Professor Reiss, but by me. It’s about the character and Ad hominem attacks, sometimes creepy and racist, on her. Despite the fact that her articles are intellectual and balanced, the only response from the antivaccine cult is hate speech.
Evidence that you’re anti-vaccine–Bob Sears’ personal attacks on Paul Offit–Professor Reiss takes issue with ad hominem personal attacks by Bob Sears against Dr. Paul Offit. Sears claims he’s not antivaccine, but still uses the same old hate-filled personal attacks on Dr. Offit that all of the antivaccine groups use.
Refuting one of the tropes that Andrew Wakefield was wronged–The cunning fraudster, Andrew Wakefield, gets his own category, since now that his “science” has been shown to be a fraud, all that’s left is the law. In this article, Professor Reiss deconstructs the myth that because Wakefield’s partner had some charges dropped, that applies to Wakefield. It doesn’t.
Andrew Wakefield keeps trying–another appeal–More Wakefield stuff. He tries to sue a medical journal.
Litigating as a “debate” tactic? Andrew Wakefield’s appeal denied–Wakefield tries to use the legal system to debate his views on vaccines. It doesn’t work.
Andrew Wakefield – dishonest attempt at self-justification – Wakefield releases a video trying to justify his actions. He failed.
Vaxxed misinformation – legal remedies for those harmed? Wakefield and his minions behind the fraudumentary, Vaxxed, could possibly be legally liable for harm to children of parents who are convinced by this film.
Vaxxed emotional appeal – putting kids at risk. Are you going to see Vaxxed? Here’s a handout that you can give to fellow moviegoers to refute some of the misinformation being presented.
Brian Hooker’s vaccine injury claim denied by NVICP – Dr. Hooker, one of the characters behind the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy in the documentary, Vaxxed, had been motivated by his own personal story about vaccines and autism. He lost his case to prove that link.
Andrew Wakefield tries to invent a story and fools Robert De Niro. For like a day.
Vaccines and religion
Religious Exemptions for Vaccination–Abuse and Reform–A review of how the so-called religious exemption to vaccines has been abused so that individuals can get exemptions to vaccinating their children, despite the fact that no mainstream religion is opposed to vaccines.
Court upholds school policy denying religious exemptions to vaccines–Yes schools can deny religious exemptions in certain cases.
Hobby Lobby and Religious Exemptions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly–The recent Supreme Court ruling called “Hobby Lobby” may have some unintended consequences for religion-based vaccine exemptions.
Hospital employee vaccinations – employment discrimination and religion–An examination of a recent case where an employee was able to claim employment discrimination based on a religious exemption to vaccines. It may not be what it appears to be.
Vaccine law and policy
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program – the rules and limitations. A comprehensive description of how the NVICP actually assists individuals who have valid claims about vaccine injuries.
The vaccine court – causation and administrative discretion – more information about how the NVICP really provides plaintiffs with avenues of appeal that gives them every opportunity to show that vaccines cause a specific injury.
Immunization requirements neither discriminate nor segregate. Some claim that statutes abolishing exemptions from school immunization requirements – like SB277 in California – are discriminatory or leads to segregation. No they don’t.
California SB 277 vaccine legislation protects children. The California Senate has proposed legislation that will eliminate personal belief exemptions which will protect our children from the risk of disease a minority has been allowed to choose for the rest of us.
Vaccine Informed Consent, Mandates and Liability. The state does have the right to mandate vaccines, and informed consent isn’t what the libertarian anti-vaxxers think it is.
Italian Court Blames Autism on Vaccine–Relies on an Unreliable Expert–An Italian court decides vaccines cause autism. Italian courts have done this before. They also tried to have geologists arrested for not predicting earthquakes. It’s hard not to laugh.
Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice legislation–bad premises, bad law–Ginger Taylor, antivaccine nut job, Wakefield apologist, and general lunatic, tries to get Maine to change its vaccine requirements. Professor Reiss begs to differ.
Homeopathy, Honesty, and Consumer Protection–Homeopathic vaccines. I kid you not.
The freedom to not vaccinate in France–a court case–No, courts cannot decide science.
Success and Failure of Anti-Vaccine Legislative Efforts, 1998-2012–The good news and not-so-good news about various legislative efforts ongoing regarding vaccines.
Merck, Mumps, Motions, Whistleblowers–the actual story–Debunking the oft-repeated trope that Merck lied about the efficacy of their mumps vaccine.
Improving Immunization Rates: What Can the Law Do?–Potential tactics and strategies to change vaccine policy.
Health Care Workers, Flu Vaccines, and Work Place Discrimination and No faith–vaccines, religion, and healthcare workers–Healthcare workers and mandatory vaccine policy. And do hospitals have to provide religious exemptions.
Recouping the costs of outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases–Who might be legally liable for the costs of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.
Price v. HHS: Statutes of Limitations, Tolling, Vaccines and Autism–A complex legal decision that denied an appeal to a vaccine court refusal to compensate a so-called vaccine injured victim.
Parents, Children, Loss of Custody and Immunization–Oddly, an antivaccine couple insisted that they still had the right to refuse vaccines for their children, even after they lost custody to the state. That this is an actual legal case is shocking to me, but Professor Reiss explains it.
Anti-Vaccine Claims, Misrepresentation and Free Speech–Antivaccine claims and legal free speech protection. Another interesting review.
Natural News gets it all wrong about mandatory vaccinations–Part 2–Natural News gets it wrong. Anyone shocked?
Italian MMR-Autism Decision Overturned–No, vaccines do not cause autism, and Italian courts decide to reverse an unscientific decision in a lower court.
Yes, herd immunity works–the title says it all.
The constitutionality of mandatory vaccinations – Professor Reiss replies to a letter from Robert F. Kennedy about the constitutionality of California’s SB 277 law which removes personal belief exemptions for children.
The child’s best interest – vaccines and parental rights– a review of a recent court case involving divorced parents. One wanted to vaccinate and provided evidence why he should. One wanted to avoid all vaccines and provided bad evident why she shouldn’t.
Maryland private schools can exclude unvaccinated children – Professor Reiss reviews a recent ruling in Maryland that gives private schools and daycares the right to exclude unvaccinated children to protect other children from vaccine preventable diseases. This is good news for those of us who want to protect the lives of children.
Custody, parental rights and vaccines in Maine – A review of a Maine Supreme Court ruling that sides with the right of the state to vaccinate a child in the child’s best interest.
Doctors’ liability, vaccines and autism – A refutation of some of the claims made by Ginger Taylor regarding vaccines, autism, and physicians’ liabilities.
Parental and children’s rights – vaccination mandates – California’s anti-SB 277 activist, Lauren Stephens, wants to pass a Parental Rights Amendment. But it will probably not effect SB 277 and may have some serious unintended consequences like harming children.
Vaccines and religious exemptions – recent legal decision – The Supreme Court of the US has refused to review appeals of rulings by the City of New York Department of Education regarding unvaccinated children. Previous rulings that vaccines are safe and necessary for the common good stand.
Vaccine injury compensation and mitochondrial disorders – a review of a recent decision by the NVICP regarding whether there should be compensation for the claim that disorders related to mitochondrial disorders are caused by vaccines. They aren’t.
Vaccine injury compensation and autoimmune syndromes – a discussion of a recent decision by the NVICP regarding whether compensation is deserved for autoimmune syndromes being caused by vaccines. Again, they aren’t.
NVICP compensates for a claim regarding the flu vaccine and Guillain-Barré Syndrome – as usual, it’s not what it seems.
Flu vaccination and health professional employment benefits – although it may note completely fair, a hospital can fire someone for not getting the flu vaccine, and potentially not pay any unemployment benefits.
Healthcare worker flu vaccinations – fair accommodations. A review of the hospital’s obligations to healthcare workers who refuse flu vaccinations.
Vaccinations and custody issues. An examination of a Michigan case where an unfit parent cannot decide to refuse vaccinations for her children.
SB 277 lawsuit – baseless anti-vaccine complaints. California’s SB 277, a law that restricts personal belief exemptions for vaccinations, is the subject of a lawsuit. This article was revised with more recent information, California SB277 lawsuit – updated, but still baseless.
Anti-vaccine harassment – can you sue for libel? Can someone being attacked publicly by an anti-vaccine activist sue that person? Sure, maybe, probably not worth the trouble.
California SB277 lawsuit analysis – anything there? – Another lawsuit and temporary restraining order was filed. Professor Reiss looks over the both the constitutionality and facts presented by the litigants.
California SB277 vaccination law – litigation update – the lawsuits trying to stop the implementation of SB277 are an ongoing story. Here’s the first update.
Vaccines. Autism, Italian Court of Cassation – they get it right – A couple of lower court decisions in Italy got big news in the anti-vaccine press. Unfortunately for their tropes, Italy’s highest court said vaccines and autism are unrelated.
Rachael Ross gets Vaxxed – that’s never good for a real doctor – celebrity doctor buys into Vaxxed nonsense and becomes anti-vaccine.
Vaxxed distributor threatened Fiona O’Leary – they’re afraid of facts – well, if the facts and science don’t support your claims, threaten skeptics with lawsuits.
The EEOC and influenza vaccines – examining the facts – hospital fires someone for not getting the flu vaccine.
California SB277 vaccination law – litigation update – Anti-Vaccine groups are trying to block implementation of SB277. We try to keep you updated on the activities.
Vaxxed threatens Fiona O’Leary – Phillipe Diaz doubles down – Vaxxed distributor threatens a young Irish mother who is pointing out the misinformation in the fraudumentary. She’s getting help from strangers all over the world.
Merck vaccine lawsuit – implausible narrative, bad law and facts – once again, lacking real scientific evidence, go for the litigation.
California’s SB277 mandatory vaccine law – preliminary injunction hearing. A review of the hearing to decide if SB277 should be temporarily blocked.
Vaccine mandates promote human rights by protecting children. Looking at the rights of children with respect to vaccines.
Judge denies request for SB277 preliminary injunction. A Federal district judge determines that California’s SB277, which makes vaccinations of school aged children mandatory, should not be enjoined from proceeding. A win for our side.
The Whitlow lawsuit against SB277 was withdrawn. After the anti-vaccine plaintiffs couldn’t get the preliminary injunction, they gave up.
Influenza vaccine mandate – court strikes down regulations. A New York City mandate for the flu vaccination was struck down. But the court gives advice to resurrect it.
CDC refuses to allow William Thompson to testify – as it should be – so-called CDC whistleblower was asked to testify in a vaccine-related lawsuit, but the agency says no.
California SB277 lawsuit – state’s demurrer to Buck v Smith sustained – the ongoing, and ultimately unsuccessful, legal attacks on SB277.
Attacking SB277 with another lawsuit –Torrey-Love v. State of California – another lawsuit against SB277. Will it ever stop?
HPV vaccine and lupus – bad expert testimony in a lawsuit – another lawsuit against Gardasil, based on a long debunked claim.
SB277 lawsuit ruling – suit from A Voice for Choice dismissed by court – another SB277 lawsuit bites the dust.
SB277 RICO lawsuit – Bad arguments and conspiracy theories rejected – and another SB277 lawsuit shows up, and there’s not much there.
General vaccine articles
Child Pays Price for Anti-vaccine Misinformation–Anti-vaccine misinformation says that measles isn’t dangerous, but a child who died from a neurological complication of measles might indicate otherwise.
Review of Trace Amounts – bad science and conspiracies – A critical review of the anti-vaccination movie, Trace Amounts.
Debunking myths about vaccine testing and safety – a critical analysis of some of the false claims about the lack of vaccine testing.
Worrying about my baby during flu season – writing, as a mother, on her worries about the flu and her newborn son.
Identifying who is anti-vaccine – a checklist to see who is really anti-vaccine, even when they say they aren’t.
Selective vaccine exemptions – measles and schools – a critical analysis of a proposal to maintain available of personal exemptions to vaccines (along with their abuses) except for measles.
Childhood vaccine effectiveness – easy to use table – debunks the whole “vaccines aren’t effective” nonsense.
Vaxxed producer Del Bigtree – not credible on vaccines – critiquing Bigtree’s vaccine claims.
Law and Vaccines: List of Dorit Reiss’ Blog Posts and Articles. Professor Reiss maintains her own up-to-date list of articles she has written about vaccines, many of which are on other websites.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in January 2015. It is regularly updated to include new articles published by Professor Reiss.