"Baby shots" used to be a boring subject, and taken for granted. As the number of vaccines grew from seven in the 1980s to 16 (requiring 70 doses) today, most parents obediently brought their children to the doctor when shots were "due." The compliance rate was more than 90%. Parents who objected for one reason or another simply got an exemption from school-attendance mandates and kept quiet. Every state had a medical exemption; most had a religious exemption; and many had easily obtained philosophical or personal-belief exemptions.
Now that exemptions are being repealed, parents are descending on state capitals en masse, many with severely injured children in tow. Thousands rallied outside an Albany, N.Y., courthouse as a lawsuit challenging an end to religious exemptions was heard.
Despite vociferous objections and attempts to disrupt hearings, the California legislature passed a law (SB 276) severely limiting medical exemptions, the only kind available. "Rogue doctors" allegedly were selling exemptions.
The bill's author, Sen. Richard Pan, M.D., said that everybody who really needed an exemption would get one. However, 882 out of 882 pediatric practices told an enterprising journalist--who was posing as a mother--that they would not write an exemption for a child who had had anaphylactic shock. This life-threatening allergic reaction, which kills rapidly by closing off the airway, is one of the few allowable indications for an exemption. Now, though, parents not willing to risk recurrence cannot send their children to school.
Doctors no doubt are afraid of being targeted by the medical licensure board. SB 276 mandates scrutiny of physicians who have issued more than five exemptions, including those made before the bill takes effect.
Parents are besieging legislators with reports of children who died or experienced devastating illnesses or disability after getting their shots. Interchanges on Twitter are passionate. One juxtaposed a sign saying "Vaccinate your f****** children" with a photograph of a gravestone and the message 'We did."
Whatever happened to hundreds of once-healthy children (it is impossible to prove that the shot did it), the public-health dogma is: "Vaccines are safe and effective"--so safe and so effective that vaccines should be the exception to the rule that medical interventions are illegal and unethical without informed consent?
Two recent articles in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons challenge the...