Opinion: California mandatory vaccination bill is needed due to poor choices
Special to the Bonanza
In Tuesday’s opinion column, “We must oppose CA Senate Bill 277,” Californians for Medical Freedom-Tahoe opines about the loss of fundamental rights through the proposed bill about mandatory vaccines.
This bill has come about due to the irresponsibility and paranoia shown by many parents regarding vaccines. Richard Pan, MD, a pediatrician and the bill’s author, speaks for virtually all pediatricians.
There is a need to provide safety for the individual child and the public. There are an increasing number of primary care doctors who will not see unvaccinated patients. They cannot condone the risks to the child and to those who may be in the office at the same time.
We all sacrifice individual rights for the public good. I may think I can drive safely at 80 MPH, but I respect the law that prohibits that. I get that our bodies are different, but doctors are required to clear for athletics, camps and other activities.
Although vaccines have not reached the level of life-saving treatment, the courts recognize parents cannot “martyr” their children due to their beliefs. I’m finding more truth in comedians’ views on the vaccination controversy (see Daily Show and Penn and Teller on vaccines).
Most recently, Jimmy Kimmel observed if everyone is so much smarter (via the internet) than their doctors, then they don’t need them. They can then sew up their own cuts at home.
I have addressed prior the fallacy that vaccines are too numerous or unreasonably dangerous. As Dr. Paul Offitt at Philadelphia Children’s aptly states, the good news is vaccines are evidence-based, while the opposition is a belief system.
VAERS (vaccine injury compensation) has awarded large amounts of money, which does not prove causality. Any possible relationship is generally rewarded without proof of relationship.
I share the concern about profit margin with newer vaccines; however, all have been proven to be cost effective and the newest (rotavirus and HPV) are not school requirements. The point cannot be overemphasized with the shrinking health care dollar.
Vaccines prevent illness and death. They save lives, money and many days of productivity/school lost. Perhaps most importantly, they protect those who have true medical reasons (e.g. cancer) not to be vaccinated.
The recent school entry law passed has not caused adequate changes in attitude. It has been frustrating to counsel those with hard core beliefs and distrust of doctors and science.
We still live in an area where vaccination rates at Kindergarten entry still are 75-80 percent, well below the roughly 90 percent needed for “herd immunity.” How many outbreaks will it take? I, for one, have seen enough.
Chris Arth, MD, is a Truckee-based pediatrician.
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