A Sad Day for Medical Freedom: California Joins West Virginia and Mississippi in Removing Religious and Personal Vaccine Exemptions

stupid questionAs a board-certified pediatrician, I am embarrassed by the article, “FAAP helps change California vaccine law,” published yesterday, June 30th, 2015.

California State Senator Richard J. Pan, M.D., a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP), sponsored the bill, SB 277, that Governor Jerry Brown has just signed into law.

This law removes the informed consent process and takes the right to make medical, philosophical, and religious decisions away way from parents. If you decide in tandem with your doctor to forgo just one vaccine on the state-mandated schedule, your child will no longer be able to attend public or private school in California, and will also be barred from daycare.

Physicians in California will now no longer be allowed to fairly and honestly explain the pros and cons of various vaccines to families. With the state legislature making medical decisions for families by threatening to exclude children from school, the physician-patient relationship becomes irrelevant.

“I hope that it causes parents to receive information about vaccines, to have conversations with their pediatrician and other health care professionals and rethink why they had concerns about vaccines, (and) that they will become more open to listening to the actual science and facts and turn away from the misinformation that’s been peddled by too many people,” Senator Pan told the AAP.

The truth is that it is Senator Pan, Governor Brown, and many of my mainstream medical peers who need to “turn away from the misinformation that’s been peddled” to the doctors by the Centers for Disease Control, the AAP, and the pharmaceutical companies that profit enormously by this new program of forced vaccines.

What misinformation?

Why do I say this?

I must be crazy, right?

Everyone knows that vaccines are “safe and effective.”

I am a pro-vaccine doctor.

I give vaccines in my office to children every single day.

I have been practicing medicine for over 27 years. I have about 11,000 patients in my integrative practice. And a YouTube Channel with over 12,000 subscribers.

It is true that many vaccines are very safe and very effective.

It is also true that some vaccines are not so safe, especially for some children, when given either to the very young, or when given in combination with many other vaccines.

Timing is everything when it comes to the safety and benefit of vaccines.

Consider the Hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease most often spread by sex workers, drug addicts, and through tainted blood products.

Twenty years ago, when my children were young, this vaccine was given to teenagers. This made sense, since one catches Hepatitis B from blood products (unprotected sex and sharing dirty needles with IV drug abuse).

In 2001, we started the routine vaccination of every newborn in America regardless of risk for Hepatitis B, despite the fact that less than 1% of American moms have Hepatitis B. The only way a baby can catch Hepatitis B is if the mom has Hepatitis B. We were told that we could have a population that grows up immune to Hepatitis B and potentially eradicate Hepatitis B from the world but no study had ever been done on the length of immunity of the Hepatitis B vaccine (vaccine-induced immunity often wears off, which is why some of the childhood vaccines require booster shots).

My obstetrician colleagues do an excellent job with prenatal screening. These days, we know ahead of time if a given mom has Hepatitis B or not. When a mom is Hepatitis B positive, vaccinating her newborn is medically indicated. In my practice if a dad has Hep B or if there is a possibility a caregiver may be a carrier for Hep B (a more common illness in Asia), I also recommend the vaccine.

The current program of vaccinating every newborn in America at birth, and repeating the Hepatitis B vaccine at 2 months and again at 6 months is lucrative for the pharmaceutical industry but flies in the face of science.

  1. We now have the long term studies that show that, indeed, the vaccine does not give lasting protection. Only a fraction of people given the shot as infants (24%) had lasting immunity as teenagers, which is when they would most need it. A minority of teenagers still had protection when they would most need it.
  2. There is evidence that the newborn series of Hepatitis B vaccine causes brain damage in some infants. This study (you can read it here… ) links the vaccine with increased autism when given to boys in the newborn period.
  3. The Hepatitis B vaccine contains 250 micrograms of aluminum, which far exceeds the safe dose of injectable (parenteral) aluminum that was recommended by the FDA. Guidelines specify not to exceed 5 micrograms/ Kg/ day (a newborn weighing 10.4 pound = 5 Kg should not get more than 25 micrograms.

    In a letter to explain why he was signing SB 277 into law, Governor Brown wrote, “The science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious and dangerous diseases.”

    Governor Brown, you are correct overall but absolutely wrong in the case of the mandated Hepatitis B for newborns. Mandating vaccines is a mistake. Mandating Hepatitis B is criminal.

    Our legislators, the CDC, the AAP, and doctors around the country need to understand that it is a reasonable, evidence-based, and scientific approach for parents (in conjunction with their doctors) consider each vaccine on a vaccine by vaccine basis for each of their children. Unless there is an ongoing epidemic of epic proportions (in which case there would be no need for mandates because parents would line up for necessary vaccines), there is no reason to try to force Californians to accept one-size-fits-all medical interventions that their children do not need.

    Senator Pan and other lawmakers justify this law by citing the measles “epidemic” that occurred last year.

    Yet many of those who were infected with the measles at Disneyland were fully vaccinated.

    No one died.

    No unvaccinated child in any school in California spread the measles to any other child.

    Using a small outbreak of measles as an excuse to throw out informed consent and to strip intelligent tax-payers of their right to a public education and child care for their children is wrong.

    This is an assault on medical freedom, informed consent, and the poor who cannot afford day care or home schooling.

    Dr Pan says, “You can certainly choose not to vaccinate your child and there’s nothing in this law now that will make you vaccinate your child, however there is a consequence to that and you cannot endanger other children and other people through your decisions.”

    Delaying the Hepatitis B vaccine until your infant is a teenager endangers no one.

    Shall we also bar teenagers who have lost their immunity to Hepatitis B because they were vaccinated as newborns from attending California schools?

    Shall we bar children who were not breastfed, since we know from literally thousands of scientific studies that formula-feeding compromises a child’s lifelong immune system and makes it more likely for him to succumb to (and spread) infectious diseases?

    Of course that is ridiculous.

    This law is ridiculous.

    This idea of removing a parents right to decide what medical procedures are done on their children is ridiculous.

    “Our success here in California can only be followed up by people willing to be bold and willing to take on the opposition toe-to-toe on the facts, on the science and not waiver.”

    Well, Dr. Pan, this response is your toe-to-toe answer to your ridiculous bill.

    I lean on science. You cannot pick and choose which peer reviewed articles you want to quote.

    AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, M.D., FAAP, called the legislation, “a very positive step,” and said she hopes other states will follow suit.

    God forbid.

    Every parent in America, especially in California, and every doctor in this country needs to keep fighting against SB 277 and similar legislation across the U.S.

    I am a doctor who supports children, parents’ rights, informed consent, and medical freedom. I hope you do too.

 

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

20 comments

  • Elaine

    As a g-mother and a nutritionist, I have done much research on vaccines and even though my stance is a little different than yours – i would NOT give my child ANY vaccines today, I am eternally grateful that you have spelled out what this bill really means. When you said, “physicians in California will now no longer be allowed to fairly and honestly explain the pros and cons of various vaccines to families” I was shocked! What in the world has America become?? There is literally NO common sense utilized any more! There has to be big kickbacks from Pharma…..what a horrible shame! I worry for my g-kids. I have a daughter-in-law that has to work. We are in the Midwest but you know it’s coming here…..

  • researcher

    Excellent post, but I have one small correction. The CDC began recommending hepatitis vaccine for all newborns in 1991, not 2001.

    My oldest, who was born in 1995, was given Hepatitis B vaccine at 4 hours old. He was 4 1/2 pounds. I was told that this was standard procedure, and that they did this all the time, it was perfectly safe, blah blah blah. My second-oldest was also given it on the first day of life, in spite of the fact that our pediatrician had left a very clear note on the chart that we were delaying that vaccine. The vaccine was given without neither my knowledge nor my consent.

    Many, many parents have the same same story–vaccine given in hospital without their consent. They only find out when the nurse brings the baby back from the nursery with a bandaid on his/her leg, saying, “here, you have to sign this form that we vaccinated your baby.”

    “This form” is actually a consent form.

  • Achsel

    Thank you Dr. Thomas. I think in California they have no idea what they have done, what they have unleashed, what the cost will be to the state, already struggling schools, and children with disabilities.

    They include the Hep B which you have eloquently explained yet allow a child that is positive for Hep B, actually has the disease to attend school and no one is allowed to even know about it. So if you are perfectly healthy but have not had a Hep B shot you cannot go to school, but if you have Hep B the disease, you can go to school. How crazy is that?

    They went on a witch hunt of a mere 2.5% in California, less than 1% of those are completely unvaccinated. The rest of the 2.5% are delaying some or have chosen one of more vaccines to forgo. And while chasing after this 2.5%, they have chosen to ignore the much larger 5 to 15%, which the CDC claims do not mount an immune response to a given vaccine. So they do not develop sufficient titers, nor immunity. It is listed at 10% for measles, these so-called “Non-Responders.” So how is herd immunity even possible if we require 95% (by the way this number seems to be always changing too) and 10% will never develop immunity. Here is the irony in this situation. If an outbreak occurs in a school, the unvaccinated understand they could be barred from school until the outbreak is over. We track the unvaccinated. But the non-responders, 2 to 5 times larger group than the unvaccinated will not be barred from school in an outbreak because we have no idea who they are. They are simply counted among the “vaccinated” having nothing to do with being immune. Because of this, they are actually not just larger in number, but MORE dangerous as they are hidden among us.

    They then also left out 20% of every single school population, the adults. Teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, aides and paras, maintenance workers, bus drivers, office workers, volunteers and more. Most of these adults are not up-to-date on vaccines and are too young to have had the wild illness and too old for their childhood vaccines to still be effective. Again ignoring a huge population that guarantees there is NO possibility of herd immunity while witch-hunting that tiny 2.5%.

    Then they passed a separate law allowing homeless children to attend school without vaccines or vaccine records. We simply have no way of knowing if these kids are vaccinated or not.

    They also allow medical exemptions, already included in the 2.5% from above and expanded the possibility (we will have to wait and see how that “Pans” out in real life), but they would still be a small percentage of the already existing 2.5%.

    They also are grandfathering in children with existing philosophical exemptions until the next “record keeping” milestone which is Kindergarten or 7th grade. So if you have a standing exemption it will be honored until the next block. So a first grader will not be required to meet the law until they enter 7th grade, 6 years from the law taking effect. A student already in 7th through 12th grade would never be required to meet the new law as they are already past any checkpoint. So it begs the question, what exactly was this law all about and what has it accomplished? It appears to be an exercise in politics and fear mongering to the benefit of pharmaceutical companies and perhaps the political coffers of a couple dozen politicians!

    Lastly, I have been aghast at the outspoken and public support of this bill from doctors, hospitals, and medical organizations. I wonder if they have thought through the consequences of standing up in public and stating, “I support the removal of parental and informed consent for a medical procedure performed on a child.” Do they really think that parents are not going to think twice about such a person or institution if their child is ill? Would I take my sick child to a hospital or doctor that has publicly declared they agree with the removal of informed consent and not wonder what happens when I disagree with them in the treatment of my child. I already know where they stand on my “say-so” as a parent, so NO I would not take my child to such an institution without fear they would turn me into CPS and take my child for simply disagreeing with them, questioning them, or asking for a 2nd opinion. I fear these types of bills are profoundly changing the medical paradigm of this country. It will embolden bully doctors and parents will more and more simply avoid those doctors and well-baby appointments to avoid the conflict, coercion, and threats that will come with them. Alternative medicine is going to look more and more inviting to parents wanting a choice and to be the key player in their child’s health. These vaccine laws not only strip us of parental rights but medical freedom as well. They are mandating vaccines and allowing the only exemptions to come through standard allopathic physicians. I picture herds of cattle being herded into narrow chutes and only allowing them into the ones labeled vaccinations and slaughter!

    This is a crying shame! How any American, parent, person with a brain could support such nonsense is beyond my comprehension.

    Thank you for your logic, reason, and standing up for common sense and what is right. If I lived in Portland we would be among your patients.

  • It certainly is a sad day for Medical Freedom and Parental and Constitutional and Religious Rights in America. Basically, allopathic western synthetic chemical medicine is failed medicine. The basic health principle of alkalinity vs acidity is unknown or the toxic effects of heavy metals and the ingredients in vaccines. The CDC thinks that American Mothers are stupid, therefore, the CDC must increase the amount of vaccines given. Under the new law multiple vaccines will be given interring kindergarten. Senator Pan and the CDC need to return to school!

  • Anonymous

    its is a shame that this law has passed and taken away the rights of families to decide what is best for the children. and you are right by suggesting the drug companies will have a huge profit for the wares. Pan should be voted out of office asap. thank you doctor for raising and supporting the fight against this bill. M>

  • Elizabeth

    How can we help fight — it seems insurmountable. Thank you for your clear and impassioned letter.

  • Jamie

    Your HepB study doesn’t mention autism or brain damage and shows that HepB immunity carries into adolescent age. Wrong link perhaps?

  • Jeannie Heroux

    Those who actually may need vaccines the most (coming in illegally from Mexico and South America) won’t get vaccinated b/c they fly below the radar and escape mandated vaccines. This legislation is more senseless government meddling.

  • ScienceDoc

    I believe you linked to the wrong study regarding autism and the hepatitis B vaccine. When i click on the link it leads me to a study saying that vaccination before a year old leads to a seroprotective response in 90% of teenagers (which actually counters your argument above). I agree that delaying that vaccine is not going to hurt anyone – but I think that it is important to be accurate in your arguments and assertions if you are going to “lean on science”.

    To that point, I found only one article in pubmed about the hep B vaccine and autism – Gallagher and Goodman, is that the one you were referring to? If so, I highly suggest you rethink that part of your argument. The paper is less than impressive. On my first reading the issues I see are 1) “parental report of a doctor *ever* saying the child has autism” is not equal to a hard and fast autism diagnosis. 2) the description of the statistical analysis is extremely poor. 3) In fact, there are multiple miscalculations in table 2 which do not lead to confidence in the overall results (e.g. 9/33 does not equal 29%). 4) Basing a claim of autism being caused by a vaccine on 33 cases is not good science or statistics 5) the vaccines were given prior to 1999 with a higher mercury content than todays vaccines so even IF the results were correct the authors themselves suggest that they are not relevant to today’s vaccines without Hg. 6) they go on to discuss racial effects based on NINE cases which is completely ridiculous. (BTW I have a PhD in Biology from MIT so I know how to write and analyze a research paper.)

  • Shannon Freed

    Did you actually read the study you linked to?! I was trying to use this article to convince a friend that vaccines can be dangerous and he completely tore apart your credibility and mine because I didn’t think to check the study you linked to and he did…the study doesn’t even mention autism let alone a correlation!! The whole thing says that HepB is safe and effective!! I was starting to convince him and now I just look like a total idiot. Please reply with the actual study if there is one.

  • Thank you, Dr. Paul, for your courage to speak up. I know firsthand that physicians like yourself-who research and know for themselves the risks and benefits of vaccines as opposed to blindly following CDC, AMA, and AAP recommendations-are not the majority! Hep B is a prime example of “big business” in medicine-decisions based on profit as opposed to need-and it should frighten us all! The HPV vaccine is another dangerous one, and in my opinion, very misleading…love to hear your perspective on that. I could go on and on! Thank you again!

  • Danny

    Some one pointed out to me that the link you provide(
    There is evidence that the newborn series of Hepatitis B vaccine causes brain damage in some infants. This study (you can read it here… ) links the vaccine with increased autism when given to boys in the newborn period.) doesn’t make any mention of brain damage or autism, but makes an argument that the booster shot is not necessary. Is that the link you intended to put?

  • Bianca Pratorius

    Thank you, Dr. Thomas, for writing this article. 12 years ago my son was born prematurely at 30 weeks and, against our consent, was given the HepB vaccine within a week after birth. My medical records clearly indicated that I was hepatitis negative. It is outrageous to give this vaccine to newborns and absolutely incredulous to give it to premature babies.

  • clarkvent

    I am also a doctor who supports children, parents’ rights, informed consent, and medical freedom. Thank you for speaking up.

  • As a fellow physician I want to thank you for this excellent well-written essay.
    It is unfortunate that in our current political climate it takes courage for a doctor to speak out against this very poorly-conceived piece of legislation. I am truly surprised that more doctors have not spoken out against it.
    I can only hope that the courts will overturn this blatantly unconstitutional assault on personal freedom.

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  • Leslie Fix

    Thank you Dr. Paul
    For your honesty and integrity.
    I appreciate your true effort to support parents and children’s rights in our country. Senator Pan and Gov Brown are using there stature to bully California and its people. Sad and disturbing times in our medical field.

  • Terri

    Dr. Paul,

    Thank you for this letter! I think it concisely addresses a lot of issues with the Hep B mandate.

    I was discussing this with some people working on the SB277 Referendum, and we are curious what the prevalence of transmission of Hep B is for kids in daycare through biting/bleeding/etc. The CDC doesn’t list daycare/Kindergarten as a group at risk, yet the WHO does talk about children spreading it to other children. Do you have an idea of how many cases a year are child-child transmission at a young age in the US? Are there groups you *would* advise getting the Hep B for in the US as a toddler/Kindergartener? (Other than kids with Hep B positive family members/nanny.)

    Thanks in advance, Terri

  • Joannah

    Dr. Thomas,

    I am not anti-vaccine, but before my daughter was born I decided not to allow her to have the Hep B vaccination because I could not see how she would be at risk for contracting the disease. She has been vaccinated for everything else. Now I’m beginning the process to enroll her in Kindergarten at a private religious school, and i’m sure they will require her to be vaccinated in order to comply with this new law. Is there nothing pediatricians can do to support parents’ preference/decision to avoid the Hep B vaccination? Is it worth it to seek a medical exemption, or do I just have her vaccinated and pray that she does not sustain any reaction or injury to the vaccine?

  • V Porter

    I am also a physician and agree with everything you have written. This bill is ridiculous and should be revoked. Unfortunately more like it are being introduced at the state and federal level. Healthcare providers need to re-visit the data (that is not paid for by pharmaceutical companies) and reach educated conclusions.

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