By Anne Dachel
California wants to pull this doctor's license. Here's how it's sparked a new battle over child vaccinations.
Dr. Robert Sears is one of the leading voices in the anti-vaccination world, a hero to parents suspicious of childhood immunizations that public health officials say are crucial to preventing disease outbreaks.
So when the Medical Board of California announced last week that it was moving to pull the Orange County pediatrician’s medical license, it immediately set the stage for a new battle in the long-running fight over whether schoolchildren should be vaccinated....
For UC Hastings law professor Dorit Reiss, the meaning behind Sears’ case is clear: “We’re not just going to stand by and let you give unjustified exemptions and prevent children from being protected from these diseases.”
But vaccination skeptics both in California and nationally expressed alarm at the action against Sears, fearing it marks the beginning of a witch hunt against doctors and others who object to the state vaccination schedule.
"They’re using Dr. Sears as an example — a shot across all the doctors’ bows,” said Rebecca Estepp, who is part of an advocacy group that opposed the new vaccine law....
Dr. Jay Gordon, a Santa Monica pediatrician who also opposes stricter vaccine laws, called the medical board’s action an attack on a physician’s ability to judge whether a patient should be exempt from a vaccine.
Gordon said he has known Sears for years and called him “seriously dedicated to the health and welfare of children.” Gordon said that although the state found fault with Sears for notes it considered incomplete, many doctors use similar shorthand.
“I know that somebody could challenge my medical exemptions, but I’m complying with the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and I’m very bothered by this,” Gordon said. “For all I know, I’m the next person they’re planning to pursue.”...
Cassandra Hockenson, a spokeswoman for the medical board, declined to elaborate on the case involving Sears but said the agency began investigating after receiving a complaint. “The Medical Board of California’s mission is consumer protection and to ensure that the proper standard of care is exercised,” she said....
Two of the nation’s leading pediatric infectious disease specialists say they cannot think of any reason why a 2-year-old boy should receive a sweeping recommendation against all future vaccines for the duration of his childhood.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” said Dr. James Cherry, a UCLA research professor and primary editor of the Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Even children with cancer can safely get certain vaccines, he said.
“The vaccines are all made differently. They’re all based on different biological principles,” said Dr. Paul Offit, infectious diseases expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I can’t understand how a physician could conclude that a person shouldn’t get any vaccines” for the rest of childhood.
It was amazing that Becky Estepp's fourteen words were included. Notice also what Jay Gordon had to say about Dr. Sears.
Pay attention to the underlying message here: THERE ARE ALMOST NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE DEMAND THAT EVERY CHILD BE VACCINATED.
Anne Dachel is Media Editor for Age of Autism.