District school vaccine mandates and preemption

vaccine mandates preemption

This article about school district vaccine mandates and the principle of preemption was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about vaccination’s social and legal policies. Additionally, Reiss is also a 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 diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On July 5, 2022, Judge Mitchell Beckloff from the Superior Court of Los Angeles granted a petition [add decision] to strike down Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) COVID-19 vaccine mandate. This decision is in line with a previous decision in relation to San Diego’s School District Mandate. In both cases, the heart of the decision is that under current California law, the power to mandate vaccines belongs to the state, not an individual district – in legal terms, that state law preempts the power of the district in this case.

In both cases, this was an issue that could always have gone both ways. It also does not change much on the ground, since LAUSD never actually implemented its mandate. Nonetheless, it does have implications for the districts’ power to mandate vaccines going forward. 

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California law to limit medical disinformation — anti-vaccine forces whine

medical disinformation

Because so many physicians were spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines and medical treatments, California is considering a new law that would give the Medical Board of California specific authority to take disciplinary action against them. Although the bill is good news for those of us who want to limit medical disinformation from some issues measures that may make it difficult to implement.

And of course, anti-vaxxers are opposed to it because they don’t like it when physicians are required to only provide science-based information rather than kowtow to whatever pseudoscientific nonsense is being pushed by science deniers regarding medicine and vaccines.

The new bill, AB2098, is wending its way through the California legislature, has been passed out of the California Assembly, and is now being reviewed by the state Senate.

Let’s take a look at this bill and see the reasoning behind it.

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California revokes Mary Kelly Sutton medical license for fake vaccine exemptions

Mary Kelly Sutton

On 8 December 2021, the Medical Board of California provisionally revoked the medical license of Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton for issuing medical exemptions that “did not comply with the vaccine guidelines set forth by the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Apparently, the attempted intimidation by America’s Frontline Doctors (neither frontline nor doctors) went nowhere, as the Medical Board of California will continue to do its job in protecting California’s children from doctors who push fake vaccine exemptions.

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No personal liability for officials who impose COVID public health restrictions in California schools

personal liability

This article about personal liability for officials who impose public health mandates in schools was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a 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. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

I was asked to address a piece of misinformation that has, apparently, taken off in anti-vaccine circles. Starting from the end — no, activists (or parents) cannot hold school boards and superintendents personally liable for imposing COVID-19 restrictions. No, there is no surety bond that would freeze school funds. The threat to use a surety bond in this context is not a valid legal threat.

If school boards and superintendents receive such threats, they should realize this is, in fact, pseudo-law used by science deniers to try and intimidate, just as sovereign citizens use similar tactics to attack traffic courts, and the officials’ job is not to give in.

The claim I am addressing appears to be a national effort, with a California-specific branch. In this post, I will try to explain why this personal liability does not hold generally, but also give specific points for California. 

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California medical board attacked by anti-vaccine activists

California medical board

Civility in American politics has gone the way of the dodo bird, which has led to attacks and intimidation of the Medical Board of California by anti-vaccine crackpots. Because these anti-vaxxers lack any scientific integrity or evidence, they resort to mob tactics in trying to get their way.

This is happening across America, especially with school boards. The cowardly right-wing, emboldened with conspiracy theories and their prominent hatred of science, no longer rely upon the ballot box to get their way, they now try to scare hard-working people, like at state medical boards, to push their nonsense agenda.

Although I’m going to focus on what happened with the Medical Board of California, it’s not going to be unique to the Golden State. As these violent activists learn about what’s being done in California, I’m sure they’ll move on to other states. But for now, I’ll focus on the great state of California.

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A review of major religions and vaccines – almost all support vaccinations

religions and vaccines

This article, about major religions and vaccines, shows that many claims that vaccinations are against religion are not supported by actual religious dogma. As a result, several states, like New York, California, and Maine, have taken steps to limit and or eliminate religious exemptions to vaccines as a result of the abuse of the exemption.

A while ago, I wrote an article about a father who is suing the New York Department of Education to force a school to allow his unvaccinated son into school. The basis of his lawsuit is that vaccination is against his religious beliefs. 

The father is a Roman Catholic and claimed that his church was opposed to vaccines. As far as I could find, the Catholic Church strongly supports vaccines, with Pope Francis stating that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is an “act of love,” even making it a moral and ethical issue by clearly stating that “there would seem to be no proper grounds for refusing immunization against dangerous contagious diseases…”

The Catholic Church even supports the use of those vaccines manufactured using permanent cell lines that derive from aborted fetuses. In other words, not only is the Catholic Church not opposed to vaccination, it seems to indicate that it would immoral to not vaccinate.

This all leads me to wonder if there was research into the relationship between religions and vaccines. Of course, researchers much smarter than this old dinosaur examined the issue – spoiler alert, religions broadly support vaccinations.

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Anti-vaccine groups employ Holocaust denial tactics – disgusting behavior

anti-vaccine holocaust deniers

Since the anti-vaccine world lacks any evidence to support their tropes, they’ve decided to go with anti-vaccine Holocaust denial for their new operating strategy. But they just don’t understand what they’re doing again.

Recently, as more measles outbreaks occur across the world, there is consternation in governments, schools, and public health organizations about the dropping of measles vaccination rates in some areas. As a result, states like California are trying to clamp down on medical exemption abuse, and other jurisdictions, like Rockland County, NY, have banned unvaccinated children from public spaces.

And of course, during this COVID-19 pandemic, the anti-vaccine organizations are utilizing the same false equivalencies between vaccine mandates and the Holocaust. What are they thinking?

These actions by public officials were implemented to stop the spread of measles, a dangerous, and frequently, deadly disease. As you can imagine, the anti-vaccine religion has been whining and screaming about everything from their individual rights to some cynical conspiracy theory about something or another ever since “mandatory” vaccines became important to public health officials to reduce the spread of the disease.

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Senator Richard Pan responds calmly to an anti-vaccine questioner

Senator Richard Pan

California State Senator Richard Pan is a physician who was instrumental in leading the charge for SB277, the law that eliminated personal belief exemptions to vaccinations by California school-age children. Senator or Dr. Pan, your choice I presume, has been dedicated to the health of children in the state of California, sponsoring bills that attempt to improve the healthcare of children across the state.

Unless you’re a vaccine denier, SB277 has been an unmitigated success. Vaccination rates have skyrocketed across the state, meaning more children are protected from deadly vaccine-preventable diseases. Dr. Pan deserves a statue in the Hall of Vaccine Heroes, which should include Edward Jenner, Paul Offit, Jonas Salk, and Maurice Hilleman. He’s probably too modest to accept such an honor.

Unfortunately, Senator Richard Pan has been the target of violent hateful racism and withering personal attacks across social media. He seems to either ignore it or like many of us, just stand up to these attacks with reasoned, evidence-based arguments. Not that the vaccine deniers are capable of listening to reason or evidence.

Recently, Dr. Pan was accosted by an anti-vaxxer at an airport in Orange County, CA. She recorded the encounter on video, despite being asked by Dr. Pan to not do so. Well, let’s look at the video, especially Dr. Pan’s responses, which were calm, professional, and accurate.

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Vaccine mandates court decisions – Indiana University and Los Angeles Unified School District

vaccine mandates court

This article about two court decisions regarding vaccine mandates was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a 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. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

There is a lot going on on the vaccine mandates front. This post describes two recent court decisions – a panel of the Seventh Circuit refused to put Indiana’s University vaccine mandate on hold, in a decision that does not bode well for the students’ case. And a California federal district court decision dismissing a case against an alleged (you’ll see why alleged below) school educators mandate, that by implication upholds the “soft” mandate New York and California have recently adopted.

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COVID vaccine mandates update – what a week of news

COVID-19 vaccine mandates

This article, which is an update about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a 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. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

It has been an intense week for the discussion of COVID vaccine mandates, and a lot has happened. This post is simply a very short overview of developments. So here is what is going on this week.

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