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New California Law Requires School Children To Be Vaccinated

vaccineOn Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed into law a requirement that nearly all children be vaccinated in order to attend school.

With the stroke of a pen, California went from being a state with relatively lax vaccination rules to one of the most strict in the country — joining Mississippi and West Virginia as states where even exemptions for religious beliefs are not allowed. As the bill worked its way through the legislative process, it faced strong, consistent, vocal opposition from some parents, including a small group of protesters who stood vigil outside the Capitol in Sacramento for days before it was clear Brown would sign the bill.

The protesters are passionate, inflamed mainly by discredited beliefs that vaccines are linked to autism. But opposition to vaccines is far from new.

“From the moment the very first vaccine came on the scene, which was the smallpox vaccine, there has been resistance to vaccines and vaccination,” says Elena Conis, a history professor at Emory University and author of Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization.

She says that the modern-day resistance movement shares its roots and rhetoric with the social movements of the 1960s and ’70s, including feminism, environmentalism and consumer rights. “They encouraged people to question sources of authority, including doctors,” Conis says.

For example, women’s advocates started to question medical advice on reproductive health and childbirth. “Women also start opting to increasingly use midwives, have births outside the hospital,” she says, “And also reject professional advice about formula feeding over breastfeeding.”

Environmental activists were also encouraging people to think about chemical exposures, even in small amounts, at the same time that drug manufacturers started including package inserts listing drug ingredients. Conis says that this is the context for the list of vaccine recommendations, which has grown longer over the last generation.

It can be overwhelming for today’s parents to watch their babies cry through one shot after another. “We started looking at the vaccine schedule and how intense and frequent these vaccines seem to come up,” says George McCann, a general contractor and father of two daughters, who lives north of San Francisco. :So we started talking about whether or not this seemed to be the best approach for our children.”

He and his wife decided to have their girls get some vaccines, but not all. They skipped vaccines for pneumonia and chicken pox and waited on polio until the girls were older. “The whole issue for me comes down to the idea that somehow the state would get to mandate that all of us have to do something, as if we don’t have the ability to look into this with compassion and intelligence and critical thinking on behalf of our children,” he explains.

But Carl Krawitt asks that those who don’t vaccinate or delay think about other people’s children. His son couldn’t get vaccinated for five years while he was being treated for leukemia. He depended on others to be immunized so they couldn’t spread potentially deadly diseases.

“People often don’t understand that their choices have an impact on others,” he says. “People take personal freedoms to such an extreme that they forget about the community.”

These are the types of parental debates Dr. Matt Willis is navigating. He’s the public health officer for Marin County. In some communities there, only half the kids are fully vaccinated. His office is trying to figure out why.

It did a survey and found a few common characteristics of today’s parents who don’t vaccinate. “A higher proportion are getting information from the Internet, and a higher number of the parents were seeing alternative medical providers,” he says.

Willis has developed a list of talking points for each vaccine. He tells parents that there’s no link between the measles vaccine and autism. He says that polio is probably his toughest sell. The disease was eradicated from the United States in the late 1970s, so American parents today have no memory of how horrible the disease was.

While the polio virus is not endemic to the U.S., he reminds parents that it still is in other parts of the world. “It’s really just one plane ride away,” he says.

Willis tell parents who want to delay some vaccines to think of them like a seat belt. “You could choose to put them in their safety belt as you leave your driveway and start driving, or you could choose to pull over 10 miles later and put it on,” he says.

The law Brown signed on Tuesday will take effect fully in July 2016. Willis welcomes it.

“It will certainly make my job a lot easier,” he says, because controlling a disease outbreak is like fighting a fire. “It’s much easier to prevent a fire from happening in the first place than it is to try and extinguish it once it’s spreading.”

By April Dembosky, KQED


This story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, KQED and Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit national health policy news service. Photo by PV2 Andrew W. McGalliard via Wikimedia Commons.


  1. I hear medical people tell me to “Look at the science” when arguing about how bad vaccine technology is. So I tell them, I do look at the science, in fact, the science tells us we should not be vaccinating. When we are told that vaccines are safe, there is proof of this and for good reason. If vaccines were safe, they would not elicit an antibody reaction. But when you go beyond the safety issue that medical cannot support them being safe, you have to look at the efficacy of vaccinations. Where is the evidence getting a vaccine does not promote sickness and the spread of infectious diseases? So we can look to our medical people to give us that answer. Here is a real life situation anyone can look up on the internet, call the sources of this to verify its validity. You don’t even have to be in the medical field or even have taken sides to see this warning coming from two respected medical sources tells it like it is.

    Go to Merck website, maker of MMR vaccine. It states the MMR vaccine is a live virus vaccine. Then go to St. Jude Patient visiting Guidelines on their website. St. Jude does not allow the recently vaccinated with live virus vaccines to visit their patients because the recently vaccinated could pass that live virus that was just injected into their body’s to pass to the young cancer patients who have weakened immune systems. Yes it is all there, see for yourself.

    Now that the link between vaccines and autism studies that have been used to create the illusion there is no connection has been exposed as a FRAUD, where do medical turn to keep up the pretense? Even the CDC has been found out on several fraudulent actions to promote vaccine technology for years. We, the public, can no longer trust the CDC for anything it takes a stand whether for or against the issues. It is clearly not supporting the best interest of the American public and has created fraudulent information.

    CDC Vaccine Researcher Charged with Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Stealing Grant Money

    Dr. Poul Thorsen is most widely known for a 2003 study known as the “Danish Study,” which reported there was a 20-fold increase in autism in Denmark after mercury-based preservatives like thimerosal were banned from vaccines. The research team therefore concluded that mercury-containing vaccines were safe.

    But the study was actually a masterfully done example of lying by omission, because at the same time the apparent autism increase took place a new law had been put into place in Denmark that required autism cases to be reported on the national level. There was also a new clinic dedicated to autism treatment opened. These two factors were likely the driving forces behind the sudden increase in reported autism cases, but the researchers failed to disclose them.

    Despite the obvious ramifications of these omitted “details,” the CDC has relied on the Danish Study to “prove” their case that MMR vaccine and mercury are safe for your kids.

    Adding fodder to the fire, an investigation by Aarhus University (where Thorsen held a faculty position) and the CDC uncovered that Thorsen had not only falsified documents but was also receiving salaries from two universities (which is a violation of the universities’ rules). Then in 2009 Thorsen disappeared amidst serious fraud charges and with nearly $2 million that was supposedly used for research.

    Now a federal grand jury in Atlanta has indicted Thorsen and charged him with 13 counts of wire fraud, 9 counts of money laundering and stealing more than $1 million in grant money from the CDC over a four-year period.

    It turns out that Thorsen was reportedly submitting fraudulent invoices with fabricated expenses to the CDC, and using the money to purchase cars, a motorcycle, a home and cashier’s checks. The Copenhagen Post reported: “Thorsen helped two Danish government agencies obtain research grants, which amounted to $11 million between 2000 and 2009, whilst he was working as a visiting scientist at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the 1990s. He returned to Denmark as the ‘principal investigator’ for the program, which studied the relationship between autism and exposure to vaccines, allegedly putting him in charge of the administration of the funding.

    It is alleged that over the four-year period he submitted over a dozen false invoices from the CDC for research expenses to Aarhus University, where he held a faculty position, instructing them to transfer the funds to a CDC account, which was in fact his personal account.
    Thorsen’s research on autism is widely known in academic circles, where he was until this week a highly respected figure.”

    CDC Gives Nearly $15 Million to Thorsen’s Research Center

    Thorsen’s research center, the North Atlantic Epidemiology Alliances (NANEA), has received $14.6 million from the CDC since 2002, according to the Huffington Post. Many of the resulting “research” studies from NANEA have been used to support supposed vaccine safety. As the Huffington Post stated: “Questions about Thorsens’s scientific integrity may finally force CDC to rethink the vaccine protocols since most of the other key pro vaccine studies cited by CDC rely on the findings of Thorsen’s research group.

    These include oft referenced research articles published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New England Journal of Medicine and others. The validity of all these studies is now in question.”

    Because in my research I have found that vaccines are not the only cause of neuro degenerative disorders and diseases, we are quantifying the effects of the various mechanisms that are contributory factors. Vaccinations are a major contributor for many reasons. Now that the Autism rate is 1 in 50 in America, we are in an epidemic situation and it has to stop before it reaches the 1 in 2 that is predicted within the next decade or so!

    Medical research has to be taken out of the hands of the drug companies! The FOX is watching the Hen House! Doctors are becoming kennel dogs surrounded by a blanket of lies and misinformation and forced to follow a Standard of Care that is damaging people all over America, especially our children!

  2. The most passionate protesters are inflamed mainly by their own children’s serious adverse reactions to vaccines. It is deplorable that mainstream medicine wants to sweep these adverse reactions under the rug instead of acknowledging them and studying these children for the sake of prevention and effective treatment.

    All this concern is expressed for “those who can’t be vaccinated”, but only as a rationale for everyone to get vaccinated. We don’t understand who should not be vaccinated, or should be vaccinated on a slower schedule. One of the deplorable shortcomings of our vaccine program is the lack of study on susceptibility factors for vaccine injury. A pro-SB277 doctor testified before the CA legislature that adverse reactions are considered “random”.

    The vaccine injured are so neglected. Take one for the herd, and then be abandoned — the adverse reaction is just considered to be a mystery and summarily dismissed as coincidence. The injured veterans of our war on germs need effective treatment.

    And vaccines can indeed cause autism, as confirmed by thousands of parental reports, by court cases, and by cases compensated under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

    A growing body of mainstream credible science shows that immune system issues are a major factor in autism, including inflammation in the brain, inflammatory cytokines in spinal fluid, autoantibodies to the myelin basic protein coating nerve cells, imbalance between Th-1 and Th-2 cells, family history of autoimmune conditions (a susceptibility factor), food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.

    The HRSA Vaccine Injury table lists encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and encephalopathy (disease/injury of the brain) as conditions which can be caused by vaccines. Yet if these conditions are accompanied by the behaviors which define autism we are told that the autism was not caused by vaccines.

    More people are receiving more vaccines than ever before in human history, yet we are constantly deluged with stories saying that we are suffering from under-vaccination. Among students entering kindergarten in CA in the fall of 2014, only 2.5% claimed a Personal Belief Exemption, a drop from 3.1% the prior year. Of those, many were partially vaccinated and it is estimated that less than 1% are totally unvaccinated. Our vaccine schedule has almost tripled over the past 30 years, and if parents decide to skip one or two vaccines their child is still more highly vaccinated than children in the past. In the 1960’s to 1980’s vaccine uptake was generally only 60% to 75%, yet we are constantly told that today’s vaccine rates are lower than in the past. This is simply not true.

    Actually, we are suffering from over-vaccination. This generation of highly vaccinated children suffers from very high rates of nervous and immune system disorders such as autism, asthma, diabetes, food allergies, ADHD, bipolar and more. In addition to the research linking autism and immune system issues mentioned above, research indicates that inflammation is a causal factor in bipolar and depression.

    Where there is risk there must be a choice. It is parents who are left picking up the pieces when an adverse reaction occurs.

    Instead of forcing people to vaccinate, our govt should be researching the effects of giving so many vaccines, and risk factors for vaccine injuries, how to identify these injuries, and how to treat them. That would be good science an medicine. Instead of this dogmatic insistence on vaccine compliance we need individualized medicine and the right to make choices for ourselves and our children.

  3. It is a complete lie that there is no link between the MMR and autism. The case of Bailey Banks was conceded by ‘vaccine court’ for autism resulting from the MMR specifically. Dr. William Thompson of the CDC came out in August and admitted the CDC purposely omitted findings showing a link between the MMR and autism. The MMR causes encephalopathy, brain inflammation, which is the medical code name used for autism. Autism is medical, and doctors who say vaccines can’t cause it are lying to themselves and everyone else.

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