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The Trump school vaccine plan will be a public health catastrophe

Donald Trump threatens to defund schools implementing vaccine mandates, possibly risking a public health catastrophe by endangering vaccine rates for diseases like measles, which is highly contagious and potentially fatal. Historically, school vaccine mandates have been crucial in nearly eradicating diseases such as polio and maintaining high childhood vaccination rates in the USA. The potential repeal of mandates could lead to outbreaks, strain hospital resources, and have severe health and economic impacts. Leading experts strongly oppose the plan, forewarning of its dire consequences.

tucker carlson vaccine

Tucker Carlson conflates ACIP COVID vaccine schedules with mandates

This article about Tucker Carlson recently trying to claim that the ACIP vaccine schedules are 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 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.

Contrary to claims circulating online in anti-vaccine circles and broadcast by Tucker Carlson, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)’s discussion of immunization schedules is not about mandating COVID-19 vaccines for school (that is not something ACIP can do). It is also not about removing liability for COVID-19 vaccines —manufacturers and providers of COVID-19 vaccines are already immune from liability under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP). 

The COVID-19 discussion is part of the CDC’s annual revision of its vaccine schedules to reflect what it already recommended during the year. It may be a step towards adding the vaccines to the more generous Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (and reducing the liability protections for manufacturers and providers), though even there, I’m not sure whether adding to the schedules changes the situation – the vaccines are already recommended. The discussion has nothing to do with school mandates.

Read More »Tucker Carlson conflates ACIP COVID vaccine schedules with mandates
aborted fetal cells vaccines

Justice Clarence Thomas says aborted fetal cells are used in COVID vaccines — wrong again

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has just claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were developed from aborted fetal cells. I can’t believe I have to write this again, but no aborted fetus cells are found in any COVID-19 vaccines. None. Nada. Nichts.

Now aborted fetal cells are used in the development of some vaccines, and one of the COVID vaccines, which I’ll discuss below, but trying to parse whether he meant that those cells are actually in the vaccine is challenging. Either way,. whether he meant that there are those cells in all COVID vaccines OR the vaccines were developed using those cells, they’re both inaccurate to some extent.

I can’t believe I’ve reached a point in my writing career, which generally does not focus on dissenting opinions written by a Supreme Court Justice, but here we are. So let’s get into this nonsense by stating once again that Clarence Thomas is wrong — there are no fetal cells in COVID-19 vaccines. But let’s look at the case and what Thomas wrote in his dissenting opinion.

Read More »Justice Clarence Thomas says aborted fetal cells are used in COVID vaccines — wrong again
anti-COVID-19 vaccine

Anti-COVID vaccine has morphed into anti-all vaccines — shocking

Back in the ancient times of early summer 2020, we noticed a huge uptick in anti-COVID-19 vaccine sentiment online, even though these vaccines were just barely starting clinical trials. And because the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna used new technology, mRNAs, it led to fear and loathing of these vaccines.

I remarked to a friend of mine that if the anti-COVID-19 vaccine forces gained traction, it was going to cause trouble for other vaccines because the goal of the anti-vaccine world wasn’t to block mandates and requirements for just the COVID-19 vaccines, they want to stop all vaccinations.

Unless you believe in unicorns and rainbows, it is crystal clear to me, and many others. Orac recently wrote:

Ever since the anti-vaccine movement rose to previously unattained prominence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, resistance to COVID-19 vaccine mandates (not to mention to all public health mandates to slow the spread of the coronavirus, such as masks and “lockdowns”), and the increasing affinity between anti-vaxxers and fascists, those of us who have been following the anti-vaccine movement have become increasingly concerned that anti-COVID-19 vaccination has been metastasizing to cover all vaccines. Unsurprisingly, it’s been doing exactly that. The endgame of the anti-vaccine movement has always been the elimination of all vaccine mandates of any kind, and increasingly right wing politicians are pushing for laws and policies that bring us closer to such a world.

And guess what? It appears that all of our fears have come to pass.

Read More »Anti-COVID vaccine has morphed into anti-all vaccines — shocking
physicians for informed consent

Physicians for Informed Consent — VAERS-loving anti-vaccine group

Physicians for Informed Consent is another one of those science-denying groups trying to pretend to be all about vaccine “informed consent,” but they spread anti-vaccine nonsense, no different than what we hear from the usual suspects like Del Bigtree and Robert F Kennedy Jr.

I’ve written about Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) a few times, but I wanted to tell you all about the characters that are at the forefront of this anti-vaccine group. Talk about the usual suspects.

Read More »Physicians for Informed Consent — VAERS-loving anti-vaccine group
Louie Gohmert

Dumb anti-vaccine bill proposed by Rep. Louie Gohmert in the US House

I have been ignoring this, but I just had to write about the idiotic anti-vaccine legislation that right-wing nutjob Representative Louie Gohmert has introduced to the US House of Representatives on 2 November 2021. It’s like a treasure trove of anti-vaccine tropes and myths.

This anti-vaccine bill has almost a 0% chance of being passed in the current House, but with the Democrats running into a stiff headwind of typical midterm lack of support, crackpot Republicans will probably be running the House of Representatives in 2023, which means this dumb bill might get voted out of the House.

Let’s take a look at the bill, so you can laugh even more about Louie Gohmert.

Read More »Dumb anti-vaccine bill proposed by Rep. Louie Gohmert in the US House
Biden administration vaccine mandates

Supreme Court rulings on Biden administration vaccine mandates — explanation

This article about recent US Supreme Court rulings on the Biden administration’s proposed 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.

On January 13, 2022, the US Supreme Court, in two different decisions, struck down the Biden administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers to create a plan that requires employees to vaccinate or test and mask in the workplace and upheld a rule by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) requiring 15 different types of healthcare providers to vaccine mandates for their employees (subject to required medical and religious accommodations).

This post explains and analyzes both decisions regarding the Biden administration’s proposed vaccine mandates.

Read More »Supreme Court rulings on Biden administration vaccine mandates — explanation
COVID-19 pandemic

What would a time traveler from 2019 think about the COVID pandemic

I was thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic recently, and I wondered how we would communicate with a time traveler from just two years ago. I had to do this thought exercise a few years ago when I had to create a paragraph in modern English that would make no sense to a time traveler from 1965. Think about the words that we use in common conversation that would make no sense to them — gigabytes, smartphones, internet, WiFi, gluten-free, and so many more.

While at my local coffee joint drinking my favorite and writing my previous blog post, someone said to me, “cool mask.” It’s a Star Trek mask — yes, I am a Trek nerd, don’t get me started. I then realized back in 2019, there is no way someone would put those two words together and make sense.

So, just to have fun on this Friday afternoon, I thought I’d list out some of the terms we use today that would be foreign to someone from 2019. Just a caveat first — some of these terms would be known by scientists and those who were involved with vaccines. But most would not have been said or understood in normal conversations.

Read More »What would a time traveler from 2019 think about the COVID pandemic
brown wooden gavel on brown wooden table

Medicaid and Medicare vaccine mandates legal review

This Medicaid and Medicare vaccine mandates legal review 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.

Over the past weeks, several courts around the country have stayed the Medicare and Medicaid vaccine mandates. As of today, December 20, 2021, the mandate is stayed in 25 states, and in force in 25.

Staying this mandate is more surprising than staying the OSHA mandate we have discussed before because while a vaccine mandate is new (but not other broad workplace regulations), and OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards require a high bar rarely met, there is a long history of extensive, broad funding conditions under Medicaid and Medicare.

I have decided to do this as an overview rather than a full analysis of each of the Medicare and Medicaid vaccine mandates decisions, simply because I want to get it out promptly. I will say that my view is that the strongest argument against the rule is that it was enacted without notice and comment, and that, itself, is not a very strong argument. 

Read More »Medicaid and Medicare vaccine mandates legal review