Thursday, November 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS


Vaccination form eases way for false myths

elias column sig

By
From page A8 | March 08, 2014 |

For almost two months, parents of California public schoolchildren have been able to claim with no proof that their religion precludes getting their children vaccinated against once dreaded and disabling diseases like polio, rubella, mumps, pertussis and smallpox.

This enables parents who believe in false myths to exempt their children easily, even if they really have no religious beliefs at all.

It comes thanks to a relatively unpublicized signing message Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012 attached to his approval of a bill originally designed to make it slightly more difficult for parents to evade the vaccinations almost all children must get before they can attend public schools.

No one yet knows just how many parents are availing themselves of their Brown-ordered new ability to merely check off a box on a form rather than having a doctor, school nurse or nurse practitioner sign a form attesting that they have been informed of the benefits of vaccinations. Figures won’t be known until late spring at the earliest.

But supporters of the vaccinations that have caused the near disappearances of many serious diseases warn that a proliferation of anti-vaccination myths might accelerate a trend away from vaccinations that actually began prior to Brown’s order.

In short, parents who believe those shibboleths can claim a religious belief even when they have none, and they can’t be questioned.

As it stands, no organized religion now forbids adherents to vaccinate their children. This may be because almost all of today’s religious doctrines originated before vaccinations began in the first half of the last century. “Even Christian Scientists say it’s in the parents’ hands to do what’s best for their children,” says Catherine Flores Martin, executive director of the California Immunization Coalition. But many Christian Scientist adherents have claimed the tougher-to-get exemptions offered before this year.

Altogether, 97 percent of all California schoolchildren are vaccinated, with various inoculations required prior to enrollment at assorted grade levels.

“If a recent trend we noticed away from vaccinations accelerates, we’ll revisit the subject with both the Legislature and the governor,” Martin said. In California, the trend has been most pronounced in Marin, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara counties, Martin reported.

An increase in exemptions seems likely under Brown’s order, which made it easier for parents to lie about their religious beliefs either to avoid the hassle of getting children vaccinated or because they actually believe some of the myths.

One of those falsehoods ties the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to increased autism rates. This myth, originally published in a British medical journal, was debunked years ago and was long ago renounced even by the authors of the flawed British study. But it persists, even getting a full airing last fall on the syndicated TV talk show of former CBS News anchorwoman Katie Couric.

“Like many flawed and false stories that circulate on the Internet, a lot of people who heard the original story didn’t see the retraction and backpedaling from this one,” said Martin. Kouric later tried to correct what she had aired, but Martin says, “It’s too early to tell if that effort had any effect.”

More myths are associated with other vaccines. Example: There’s a wide, but false, belief that pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines are tied to seizures, despite a lack of evidence for the claim.

Brown has thus far appeared oblivious to the potential harm of his gratuitous signing order, his spokesman saying that he “believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit.” He has said nothing beyond that his order aimed only to “take into account First Amendment religious freedoms through an extremely narrow exemption.”

But the exemption turns out to be quite wide, not narrow at all, a loophole in existing health laws. Parents who don’t want to bother now need only check off that box on a form, which means that the moment there’s firm evidence the loophole created is being used by liars and not believers, Brown must reverse it even if that means admitting he made a big mistake.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Skeptic ScroogeMarch 08, 2014 - 1:54 am

    Paralyzed limbs, seizures, autism... Since u think ur so smart, tell me why my 4 year old has a limp arm, my neighbor s kid has autism, and my cousin has childhood epilepsy? Who died and made you the all knowing God? Reading ur sputter made me choose!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TylerMarch 08, 2014 - 6:43 am

    Sounds to me like your all knowing God doesn't like you or your family and neighbors. For a lot of reasons, please just stay in your church.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksMarch 08, 2014 - 7:20 am

    Wow, had to Google "shibboleths." Good sense has to be practiced when the safety of the majority is at risk. The number of alleged incidences occurring due to the shots are few by comparison and actual cases are certainly debatable.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Middle Green Valley plan moves forward

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

 
Veterans ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New focus on achievement gap of black males

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Vacaville art gallery schedules open house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

What’s the matter with Kansas Street?

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 14 Comments | Gallery

 
Sandbags available in advance of storms

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Governments shut doors for holiday

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for Nov. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Passengers in Russia’s Arctic give airliner a push

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Court: No warrant needed to draw parolees’ blood

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A3

Armored vehicle nixed by Davis ends up in Woodland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Union focuses on security guards at Apple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Homeless man beaten to death in San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Obama administration sets stricter smog standard

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Heart stent for Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, 81

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Snow makes Thanksgiving travel ‘a little hairy’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
American among hostages targeted in Yemen raid

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Sierra Leone official: Ebola may have reached peak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hong Kong police arrest key protesters, clear site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Canada police arrest ex-radio host in sex case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Impoverished Lebanese city is target for IS group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Small crowd protests in Oakland for third night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Ferguson residents clean up, hope for calm night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Prosecutor faces new criticism over Ferguson case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Grand jury documents rife with inconsistencies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscope for Nov. 27, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Nursing homes full of opportunities for giving

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
With shake-ups, AC/DC perseveres with album, tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

875 hours of holiday programming on TV last year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Missing model-restaurateur B. Smith found in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Garth Brooks cites Ferguson for cancellation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
University in Tennessee cancels Cosby appearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

Tom Hanks, wife to host Christmas tree lighting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Sports

Panda heads put away with Sandoval’s departure

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
All City football: Vikings sweep top honors

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Seahawks, 49ers meet for 1st time this season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL might not flex any Sunday night games in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

San Francisco’s bid for 2024 Olympics taking shape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks sign emergency backup goalie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Spurs’ Popovich undergoes medical procedure

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
AP source: Tomas in process of deal with D’backs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Harden leads Rockets past Kings 102-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Smith to start at QB for Jets vs. Dolphins on MNF

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Butler knocks off No. 5 North Carolina, 74-66

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
RG3 benched: Redskins to start Colt McCoy vs. Indy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Raiders’ Woodson expects to play in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Curry, 3s too much for Magic; Warriors win 111-96

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Atletico Madrid, Arsenal reach knockout phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Business

FBI data show thousands of gun sales beat checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
US new home sales up 0.7 percent in October

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

US agency threatens to act against air bag maker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Twitter now tracks other apps you’ve installed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Health insurance sign-ups coming to shopping malls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

Dora Maria Aranda

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Adrian Looy

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Why millennials prefer electronic gift cards

By The Washington Post | From Page: HGG2

How to give holiday gift cards

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG2

How to establish gift spending limits

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG3

Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG3

Novice crafter? There’s a project for that!

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG6

Gift ideas for the special seniors in your life

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG6

Time and money-saving holiday gift ideas

By Statepoint Media | From Page: HGG7

Oy vey, holidays! Does Hanukkah wannabe Christmas?

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG7

How to save on high-tech gifts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG10

Shop top finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG11

Sharing music: a personal gift made easy by tech

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG12

Great gifts for music lovers

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG13

Kitchen gift-giving made easy with personality profiles

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

Great gifts for the family foodie

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

Holiday shows abound in Solano County

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: HGG17

Great gifts for people who love to read

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG19

An oft-elusive yet gifty treat: coffee table books

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG19

Steps to take before giving pets as gifts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

2014 holiday toy predictions

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Eco-friendly gift ideas for ‘green’ giving

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Things to consider before buying this holiday season

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Trend-setting gifts for the women on your holiday shopping list

By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG23

Gifts to keep kids engaged

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG25

Gift wrap tricks to save time

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG26

Save time and energy with a family gift this holiday season

By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG27

Gift exchange dos and don’ts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30

Right at Home: gifts you can use – and use up

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG30

How to send gifts to faraway friends and family

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30