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

anti-COVID-19 vaccine

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.

Continue reading “Anti-COVID vaccine has morphed into anti-all vaccines — shocking”

California SB276 – juvenile courts and fake vaccine medical exemption facts

This article about California SB276 and fake medical exemptions for vaccines 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.

If the headline seems obvious, the reason behind it is that the Second District of the California Court of Appeal just ruled on a case in which the claim that California SB276 prevented the juvenile court from overturning a medical exemption was used by a father who did not want his children, in the custody of the state, to be vaccinated.

There are two takeaways from the case. First, a reminder that when children become wards of the state, the state can order appropriate medical care, the kind that responsible parents would provide, including vaccination. Second, a ruling that SB276 added to those with authority to revoke medical exemptions, it did not remove existing authority to do so. Continue reading “California SB276 – juvenile courts and fake vaccine medical exemption facts”

“Hear This Well” anti-vaccine group misrepresents Colorado legislation

hear this well

This article, about the anti-vaccine group, Hear This Well, 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.

It is not uncommon for anti-vaccine activists, like the Hear This Well group, to misrepresent pending legislation or passed legislation. Striking examples included anti-vaccine activists claiming that SB276, the California law that added a review of medical exemptions, would remove all medical exemptions.

Similarly, these activists proposed a proposition to undo Maine’s law removing the non-medical exemption from school immunization mandates. Opponents, apparently, misrepresented the bill to people, to the extent that some signed thinking they were supporting vaccine mandates

In California, as well, when opponents tried to put SB277 on the ballot, they misrepresented the law by trying to claim it mandated HPV vaccines, which was untrue.

It’s not clear whether the misrepresentations, at least in some of these cases, were out of intentional dishonesty or lack of understanding of the laws or bills in question. The results were the same – misrepresenting the law to others.

Following that tradition, in two posts addressing a newly proposed bill in Colorado, the anti-vaccine page Hear This Well misrepresented the new bill, sometimes just by using hyperbolic, misleading language and sometimes by making clearly incorrect statements.

Whether this was due to misunderstanding of the bill or intentional misrepresentation is impossible to tell, but at any rate, this could lead to people opposing the bill for incorrect reasons or because of misrepresentation. Continue reading ““Hear This Well” anti-vaccine group misrepresents Colorado legislation”

Californians support vaccine laws – new poll diminishes anti-vaxxer power

A new poll from the LA Times and conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies shows that Californians support vaccine laws. These laws mandate vaccines for students entering public or private schools while restricting the ability of some physicians to abuse the medical exemptions allowed in the original 2015 California bill, SB277.

During summer 2019, two new laws, SB276 and SB714, which restrict abuse of medical exemptions through a loophole in the original 2015 bill, were passed by the California legislature and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.

According to the new laws, in 2020, the state will review medical exemptions by physicians who have written five or more medical waivers and at schools with a vaccination rate below 95%. In a compromise between the Governor and legislature, the new laws say that the state can only reject medical exemptions issued after 31 December 2019, unless that physician has been disciplined by the Medical Board of California. 

In addition, all medical exemptions written by these physicians who have been disciplined can be invalidated.

As expected, the anti-vaccine zealots showed their nasty side by pushing violence against Dr. Richard Pan, odd racist metaphors, and all-around weird behavior. Because of their loud voices, you’d think that they were the majority opinion. 

Apparently, they aren’t. Continue reading “Californians support vaccine laws – new poll diminishes anti-vaxxer power”

Dangerous vaccine deniers – showing their true colors

dangerous vaccine deniers

Over the past week, I have observed how dangerous vaccine deniers have exhibited hatred to everyone and everything that supports vaccination. And despite their demented claims, it is settled science that vaccines are very safe and very effective.  

First, soon after California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills, SB276 and SB714 which were led by Dr. Richard Pan through the legislature, the anti-vaccine activists went off the proverbial deep end. 

Then, Prof. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss wrote a heartfelt, logical, and thoughtful article about the death of Evee Gayle Clobes, probably as a result of improper co-sleeping arrangements, and not from vaccines, as the mother and anti-vaccine zealots claim. The personal attacks on Prof. Reiss were disgusting.

So, I wanted to speak about these two issues, because it shows that these dangerous vaccine deniers really don’t have any evidence supporting their beliefs. As a result, they have to resort to violence, either literal or metaphorical. Either way, they are deranged.

Continue reading “Dangerous vaccine deniers – showing their true colors”

California vaccine medical exemptions – SB276 and SB714 restricts abuse

California vaccine medical exemptions

On Monday, 9 September 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB276 and SB714 which restricts California vaccine medical exemptions. These laws were necessary to deal with the rampant abuse of SB277, the 2015 law that eliminated personal belief exemptions for vaccinations prior to children entering school.

A few children have legitimate reasons to be exempt from vaccines, so SB276 made sure that they could receive these exemptions from their physicians. Unfortunately, some anti-vaccine parents, showing no regard for the settled science of vaccine safety and efficacy, found loopholes around SB277. This drove down California’s vaccination rates with initial gains after the law was implemented in 2016.

These parents found unethical physicians who were willing to sign medical exemptions without the physician actually meeting the child in person, generally for an exorbitant fee. The sponsor of both bills, Senator Richard Pan, MD, observed this abuse and pushed forward SB276 to curb the abuse of California vaccine medical exemptions. Continue reading “California vaccine medical exemptions – SB276 and SB714 restricts abuse”

California SB276 – legislation to limit vaccine medical exemptions – UPDATED

sb276

On 20 June 2019, after a long day of testimony on California SB276 from both sides of the mandatory vaccine issue, the assembly health committee voted 9 in favor, 2 against, and 2 abstaining to move forward with the bill which can prevent fake medical exemptions.

This post will describe the amended bill and then shortly address today’s events. Continue reading “California SB276 – legislation to limit vaccine medical exemptions – UPDATED”

Anti-vaccine press conference about California’s SB276 – checking facts

anti-vaccine press conference

On September 5, 2019, Attorney Leigh Dundas, representing an organization called Advocates for Physician Rights, held an anti-vaccine press conference attended by very little press, and organized by anti-vaccine activists. 

Ms. Dundas called for a Department of Justice investigation into what she described as a “multi-year campaign to override laws aimed to safeguard the privacy of minor children,” and made accusations of a cover-up. Note that the Department of Justice receives many and constant calls for actions, so just calling them to investigate means little without actually pointing to serious wrongdoing that justifies it. Ms. Dundas did not point to such wrongdoing.

The anti-vaccine press conference addressed efforts in the early days after the enactment of SB277 to address an emerging issue – fake medical exemptions. But in spite of the efforts to present this as a new discovery or a nefarious plot, it isn’t.

In fact, SB277 opponents knew of the efforts in early 2016 and responded in an aggressive fashion, targeting Dr. Charity Dean, who took the lead in them, with many personal attacks and inclusion in one of their lawsuits. There is also no real evidence of anything nefarious. There is, however, abundant evidence that fake medical exemptions were an issue in 2016 and onwards, and SB276 is directed at a real problem. Continue reading “Anti-vaccine press conference about California’s SB276 – checking facts”

California legislature advanced SB276 – tightening vaccine exemption

The California legislature advanced SB276, sending it to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature. SB276 would crackdown on unethical medical exemptions for vaccines, which the anti-vaccine religion has abused in response to SB277, a 2015 law that eliminated personal belief exemptions to vaccination for children entering school.

On 3 September 2019, the bill passed by an overwhelming 47-17 vote in the strongly Democratic-controlled Assembly. It was sent to the California Senate, which previously passed the bill but the Assembly added amendments that required a revote. On 4 September, the California Senate approved the bill by another overwhelming 28-11 vote

Like with SB277, Senator Dr. Richard Pan, MD led the effort to get the California legislature to pass SB276. 

In response to the vote, the anti-vaccine nutjobs utilized their predictable litany pseudoscientific and illogical rhetoric making all kinds of laughable claims. Along with a few hate-filled violent metaphors, of course.

Let’s take a look at the bill and some other updates to the political machinations surrounding it. Continue reading “California legislature advanced SB276 – tightening vaccine exemption”

Anti-vaccine radical assaulted Richard Pan – more violence

assaulted Richard Pan

On 21 August 2019, anti-vaccine radical Kenneth Austin Bennett assaulted Richard Pan, a California Senator and pediatrician, in Sacramento, California.  Bennett, who was live-streaming the physical assault on Facebook (as do many people with violent intentions), was cited for assault by the Sacramento Police Department and released.

Dr. Pan seemed to be walking peacefully at the time, not engaging the abhorrent behavior by Bennett during the walk. Dr. Pan appeared to be taken by surprise by the assault since he has had many documented experiences with anti-vaccine crackpots over the years – here’s one where he is verbally assaulted by a woman who claims to be a physician (she’s not, another typical lie from the anti-vaxxers). 

Lucky for everyone involved, Dr. Pan was unharmed.

Dr. Pan has been at the forefront of pro-vaccine legislation in California for the past 5 years. He was instrumental in passing SB277, which eliminated personal belief exemptions to vaccinations. SB277 has been instrumental in increasing the vaccination rate in school children in California, which will protect them from dangerous and deadly diseases.

He also has been driving a new law, SB276, which will attempt to reduce the abuse in medical exemptions to vaccines. This abuse has led to a slight downtick in the vaccine uptake in California, and the new legislation will make it more difficult for physicians to write (usually for cold hard cash) fake exemptions for anti-vaccine parents.

As a result, Dr. Pan has been subject to constant harassment, including vile racist memes, a political ad from anti-vaccine crackpot (and fellow Democrat) Robert F Kennedy Jr, and the usual list of logical fallacies and misinformation from the anti-vaccine religion

When Bennett assaulted Richard Pan, it was just a culmination of the hate-filled rhetoric and violent actions of anti-vaxxers. This is why I have compared the anti-vaccine zealots with pro-gun nuts. They think that violence is their only choice.

Just read some of the more vile comments posted on Bennett’s Facebook page after posting his video (not sure why Facebook doesn’t take it down, but then again Facebook has shown no interest in stopping racism, neo-Nazism, or anything else).

assaulted Richard Pan

To be fair, some of the comments condemned his actions, but they should have been much more pointed.

Richard Pan is a pediatrician and progressive legislator. His loves children and wants to protect them from diseases that he knows, using his scientific background, education, and experience, will cause grievous harm to the children of California. 

I do worry about the violent, racist rhetoric of the anti-vaccine nut jobs. My friend Dorit Rubinstein Reiss was supposed to present at a forum at Loma Linda University in August 2019, but it was canceled because of fear of disruption by the anti-vaxxers. 

Let’s be clear about something – Kenneth Austin Bennett assaulted Richard Pan because he had nothing else. He had no science supporting his beliefs. He had no logic. He had nothing, so violence was all he had.

On the other hand, you do not read about pro-vaccine, pro-science people assaulting anyone. You never rarely (if ever) read a comment from a pro-vaccine, pro-science person threatening violence. Because the science and the facts about vaccines are on our side, we don’t have to resort to lies, racist, or violence. 

Then again, we don’t generally don’t employ the hateful and violent rhetoric of the right-wing, irrespective of vaccines and science. The fact that Bennett assaulted Richard Pan should be roundly and clearly condemned by every anti-vaxxer – yet all we hear is nothing.