By Anne Dachel
Read Anne's commentary and view the links after the jump. The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD, an online supplement retailer for patients with special needs.
All over California, stories have been published about the exemption bill today. It's easy to see whose side the media is on. There is absolutely no acknowledgement that vaccines carry risks.
Here are examples
Lawmakers push legislation ending personal belief exemptions in ... San Francisco Chronicle
Although opt-outs have decreased in the last year, California State Senators Richard Pan (D) and Ben Allen (D) are attempting to remove them altogether in a new bill, which would fully remove personal belief exemptions from the existing law. Students can still opt out for medical reasons.
The anti-vaxxers are loud as they rally at the Capitol this morning. They will be shouting slogans, waving signs, and cheering for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., their celebrity spokesman, as he warns of the supposed dangers of requiring schoolchildren to get vaccines.
The Senate Health Committee should ignore the noise and pass SB 277, which would get rid of California’s overly lax personal belief exemption for parents who don’t want their kids to be vaccinated. Had it not been for teeming pockets of vaccine resisters in California, the Disneyland measles epidemic wouldn’t have spread throughout North America and sickened nearly 150 people earlier this year.
California starts to get tough on anti-vax exceptions
Watch out, anti-vaxxers. Because if Berkeley can take a stand, the rest of California might just follow suit. And then who knows? We might actually wind up wiping out measles. Again.
On Wednesday, California Senate Bill 277 - a controversial proposal to do away with "personal beliefs" vaccine exemptions and require school districts to notify parents of school immunization rates - makes its way to the state capitol, where its merits will be weighed by a nine-member Senate Health Committee. But in Berkeley Tuesday night, the City Council voted 7-1 to approve the bill, and notified Sacramento of the city's support for it.
Berkeley Votes to Support Controversial Vaccine Exemption Bill NBC Bay Area (Video)
Berkeley council members voted 7-1 in favor of the bill and will send a letter to Sacramento informing lawmakers of the city's stance.
An overwhelming number of people who attended Tuesday's council meeting are against banning vaccination exemptions, while a small number of people spoke in favor of mandatory vaccinations with the only exemption being for medical reasons.
California Vaccine Requirement Bill Gets First Public Debate CBS Los Angeles
If passed, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only other states with such strict vaccine rules. . . .
Opponents include Robert Kennedy Jr., the nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who has said he supports using vaccines and had all six of his children vaccinated, but believes the pharmaceutical industry profits immensely when governments make vaccines mandatory.
Showdown Begins Over Bill To Eliminate Vaccine Exemptions Los Angeles Times
Video quotes RFK, Jr.
Unfortunately, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is coming to town.
However, anti-vaxxers turn out in droves. They are few in number-representing less than single-digit percentage points of most states' populations-but extremely passionate. Their tendency to cluster means they remain a significant risk for supporting outbreaks of disease. They are organized by well-funded groups financed by family foundations. They still gather at rallies and fundraisers featuring disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield, whose claim that vaccines cause autism was later found to be a complete fraud. Their voices are amplified by notorious anti-vax celebrity cranks such as RobertF.KennedyJr.
As a result of this disparity in activism, anti-vaxxers have been successful in defeating pro-public health legislation that would eliminate some exemptions in a number of states, including Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and most recently, North Carolina. Bills in Texas, New Jersey, and California are still being hotly contested. Well-organized vaccination opponents flood legislators with a near-constant stream of materials of dubious scientific or legal validity. And, of course, Kennedy participates, traveling around to states in contention, promoting a conspiracy-theory documentary called Trace Amounts. This documentary focuses on the manufactured controversy surrounding thimerosal, an ethylmercury-based preservative that was removed from the vast majority of childhood vaccines in 2001. (Autism rates did not decline.) . . .
The science is clear. Vaccines are safe, effective, and not in any way linked to autism. There is no scientific debate. However, there is a political debate, and it's increasingly fierce. Potential 2016 presidential candidates such a Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton have stepped into the fray. And California pro-vaccine parents have been hammering home a message: The majority who vaccinate must realize that they need to stand up, call their representatives, and be heard.
AM Alert: California vaccine bill gets first test Sacramento Bee
Better arrive early if you want a seat at the much-anticipated hearing for Senate Bill 277, which would nix the exemption some parents use to avoid vaccinating their kids.
Since lawmakers proposed the bill against a backdrop of resurgent diseases like measles, the range of reaction has been loud and vigorous. Health officials, lawmakers and parents warn that non-vaccinators are endangering public health by skipping shots. Vaccine skeptics reject the scientific consensus on vaccines and rail against the government dictating wh at they do with their kids' bodies.
Today comes the first hurdle: a hearing before the Senate Health Committee. Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician who is carrying SB 277, sits on the committee along with three other co-authors. So the bill's prospects look good. But you can count on some powerful, impassioned testimony from people on both sides of this one. A pre-hearing rally by opponents on the west steps will feature Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Despite the prejudice on the part of the media, parents are opposing this legislation. Hundreds are rallying in Sacramento. Meanwhile, it's April, the month where we celebrate having an autism rate of one in 68 that no health official can explain.
The Dachel Media Update is sponsored by Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy and OurKidsASD. Lee Silsby is one of the most respected compounding pharmacies in the country and is committed to serving the needs of the Autism community. OurkidsASD is an online retailer for nutritional supplements for patients with special needs. OurkidsASD carries thousands of products from more than 60 brands and offers free ground shipping on all orders.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism and author of The Big Autism Cover-Up: How and Why the Media Is Lying to the American Public, which is on sale now from Skyhorse Publishing.