San Francisco physician Dr. Ken Stoller has long been an advocate for vaccine safety. He was an outspoken critic of SB277, the California law passed last year that eliminated personal exemptions from vaccinations mandated for school attendance in that state.
This was Dr. Stoller's speech in opposition to SB277 in Sacramento on April 8, 2015.
I recently talked with Dr. Stoller about the medical exemptions he's writing for children in his practice. The information he provided should be of interest to many California parents concerned about a one-size-fits-every-child vaccine schedule.
Me: Dr. Stoller, you are currently providing medical exemptions (MEs) from vaccinations for children. How do you determine who's susceptible for a vaccine reaction?
Dr. Stoller: Yes, I have written ME's after doing a comprehensive Adverse Event risk assessment for each child whose parents requested it.
The new California law leaves it up to the medical judgment of a licensed physician to determine if a child qualifies for a medical exemption
"the physical condition of the child is such, or medical circumstances relating to the child are such, that immunization is not considered safe, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances including, but not limited to, family history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization . . ."
It is my opinion that the medical exemption and the reasons thereof be documented sooner rather than later.
Me: What might, who might or could qualify for a medical exemption?
1) a child who has already had a serious vaccine reaction - NOW SOME GROUPS, such as Kaiser, have essentially made this the only qualifier for a medical exemption - a near death level vaccine reaction, but that is not the law, and the wording of the law was just quoted.
2) the sibling of the child who had that vaccine reaction
3) children of someone who had a serious vaccine reaction
4) reactions in more distant relatives require looking at genetic biomarkers or polymorphisms that have been associated with vaccine reactions, because documenting a 4th cousin once removed had an untoward vaccine reaction is likely to be challenged at some point.
5) Children with chronic medical conditions may qualify depending on the condition.
6) Children in families where a family member has a neurological or even psychiatric disease may qualify depending on what that is and if there is any association with untoward reactions to vaccines.
7) Children with a documented polymorphismsm that have been associated with untoward vaccine reactions, such as the MTHFR gene, could qualify for a medical exemption.
8) Having antibody titers to any or all of the required vaccines that demonstrate immunity should, according to the law that SB 277 amended, be good enough to comply with California requirements, but at each grade-span those titers will need to be re-measured to prove they are still present. Having titers proves immunity (although that isn't always the case) and the vaccine requirement is met (until the next grade-span).
Me: Is this expensive for parents?
Dr. Stoller: The question is how expensive is it to have a child disabled by an untoward vaccine reaction? But I do require each child complete the 23 and Me genomic test, which is currently $199, which is a very good deal for all the information one can access from the raw data. That is the only real financial burden I place on a child's family beyond my normal consultation charges for two 30 minute visits, which is what it normally takes to do an Adverse Event Risk Assessment.
Me: Are you worried that the government might not accept the exemptions you're providing?
Dr. Stoller: I am just following the letter of the law, and right now the "government" is the nice lady at the school admissions window.
Me: Do you hope more doctors will get involved with genetic testing and issue Adverse Event Risk assessment evaluations like you're do?
Dr. Stoller: Adversonomics is a new field in medicine that is science and evidence based. I would hope that all physicians would use objective measures and sound science to determine what to do and how to treat their patients. However today that is not the case, sadly. Look at the horrible situation with Lyme disease.... a real infectious disease pandemic that is ignored.
Me: What is your response to critics who say that you're using your position to get around the law and you're putting children and the community at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases?
Dr. Stoller: You should be asking is was it against the California Political Fair Practice Act for a legislator to author and lobby and vote for a law that would personally enrich him. To mix his business with government business. Dr. Pan is a pediatrician and by getting rid of the Personal Belief Exemption, he began driving more and more children to get vaccinated and that only enriches pediatric practices either directly or indirectly.
What I am doing, evaluating children for Adverse Event risk is consistent with the law that was passed and will soon go into effect.
Now, “Compulsory Vaccination”, as in school exclusions have been found constitutional. But at the same time compulsory government assistance should be available for children injured by vaccines, and compulsory compensation should be made available to families who lose a child who dies after being vaccinated. What price would be fair? I will start with $50 million be given to each family who loses a child from a vaccine reaction.... others might think that is too low.
The exact language of relating to the medical exemption reads as follows:
"120370. (a) If the parent or guardian files with the governing authority a written statement by a licensed physician to the effect that the physical condition of the child is such, or medical circumstances relating to the child are such, that immunization is not considered safe, indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances, including, but not limited to, family medical history, for which the physician does not recommend immunization, that child shall be exempt from the requirements of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 120325, but excluding Section 120380) and Sections 120400, 120405, 120410, and 120415 to the extent indicated by the physician’s statement."
So, a medical exemption based upon the family history or individual medical condition(s) where it is decided that vaccine "is not considered safe" is also very broad. What is safe when there is nothing to compare "safe" to? The use of the word "circumstances" again seems quite broad and "considered safe" would seem to encompass traditional informed consent doctrine, but parents are not given true informed consent.
Since there is no safety data on the vaccine schedule, that is, there have been no safety studies looking at any issues related to giving multiple vaccines at once, over time, repeated boosters of combined vaccine, etc. how does a physician determine what is safe... safe compared to what?
The US Supreme Court has already stated that vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe" - and unsafe is fairly unambiguous.
Since there is not even minimal data to determine if the vaccine schedule is safe would that alone be enough to justify an exemption?
It should be, because essentially not only does this raise scientific/medical questions (the lack of safety data in a law that makes "safe" the determining factor for medical exemptions), but other issues, because there are no other approved FDA regulated pharmaceutical interventions are permitted that have no safety data behind them. Without baseline safety data... who or what is to determine what safe means? SB 277 has clearly given that determination to the individual physician.
When the Supreme Court states vaccines are unavoidably unsafe, can a physician then take it upon themselves to say they are safe or specifically they are safe for their patient without Informed Consent? This safety issue quandary can only be addressed by Informed Consent. Remember, the Supreme Court has opined that vaccines are not considered safe when they said vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe."
Informed Consent means you and yours have an option to decline consent. California has no problem with that but your child can't go to school or stay in school once they hit a grade span without a medical exemption - an exemption that (again) makes safety the key determining factor. Therefore, just based on the safety issue alone, every child in the state of California would be eligible for a medical exemption based on the way the law is now written.
Having said that, if you want a medical exemption for your child the general safety concern alone probably won't stand up to scrutiny without objective measures or a predisposed family history to back it up or both.
If the new law based on SB277 is properly implemented, there should be as many or more medical exemptions as there were PBE or religious exemptions, assuming health professionals feel they were really free to exercise their medical judgment. However they do not feel free even if they say they feel free.
What physicians say is that this vaccine, or that vaccine - heck the entire schedule, has been approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC as being safe. But that doesn't change the fact that there is no scientific data on the overall risk of the schedule [baseline data on chronic health of unvaccinated vs vaccinate] for purposes of comparison. What physicans should be telling families is, "So, even though I can legally prescribe this vaccine, or the entire schedule, I must also tell you that the risks are unknown, the schedule is experimental, and you may wish to decline on ethical reasons."
That is what should be taking place in doctor's offices, but it is not, and ethics have nothing to do with the way medicine is being practiced today.... ethics are an elusive ideal.
Critics don't know the law, that don't understand the law, and they certainly don't know what is in vaccines or how they work or don't work.
If critics knew the science they would know that many vaccines actually spread the communicable diseases they are supposed to be supposedly preventing. The pertussis vaccine, for example, turns it recipients into pertussis factories for several weeks. Recipients of live virus vaccines will shed those viruses for who knows how long. There was a situation where a man was shedding polio form a vaccine for over 30 years.
Show me the science and I will show you that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe and do not do what most people think they do. And they do far more than what most people could imagine in the worse nightmares.
Past coverage on Dr. Stoller:
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.