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FDA Chief: Feds Might Intervene If States Don’t Change Lax Vaccine Laws

Should schools require vaccines?

by Countable | Updated on 2.20.19

Update - February 20, 2019:

  • The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that if states don't require more schoolchildren to get vaccinated, it might “force the hand of the federal health agencies."
  • FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb made his remarks amid an ongoing measles outbreak. There have been 62 confirmed cases in Clark County, Washington, as of Tuesday. Nearly 8 percent of children in the county were exempt in the 2017-2018 school year from vaccines required to begin kindergarten.
  • "Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they're creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications," Gottlieb told CNN.
  • Nearly all states allow children to attend school even if their parents opt out of vaccines. 
"You could mandate certain rules about what is and isn't permissible when it comes to allowing people to have exemptions," Gottlieb said.

Countable's original story appears below.


Update - January 29, 2019

  • A measles outbreak has caused health officials in Washington to declare a state of emergency.
  • As of Monday afternoon, Washington Department of Health officials announced there have been 36 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases of the disease.
  • This marks a significant increase from the 26 confirmed cases on Friday, when Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency.
"The measles virus is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children, and the existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties," Inslee said in a statement on Friday.

Read Countable's original story below.

What’s the story?

  • A measles outbreak near Portland, Oregon, has led health officials in Clark County, Washington, to declare a public health emergency after individuals infected with the virus visited local schools, churches, a Costco, and a dentist’s office.
  • Health officials have confirmed 23 cases of measles since January 1.
  • The World Health Organization recently listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top 10 global health threats.

Portland is an anti-vaccine hotspot

  • Oregon is one of 18 states that allow “philosophical exemptions” to getting vaccinated.
  • Nearly 8 percent of children in Clark County were exempt in the 2017-2018 school year from vaccines required to begin kindergarten, according to the Washington Post.
  • “It’s really awful and really tragic and totally preventable,” Peter J. Hotez told the Post. Hotez is a professor of pediatrics and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Portland is a total train wreck when it comes to vaccine rates,” he added.
  • According to our partner USAFacts - a nonpartisan civic initiative aimed at making data accessible - vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella were at 91 percent in 2016, down from a high of 93 percent in 2004.

Measles, mumps, rubella vaccinations

What are "philosophical exemptions"?

Source: Adapted from Immunization Action Coalition, Feb. 2017 (published by the National Conference of State Legislatures).

What are the laws?

Which states allow nonmedical exemptions?

  • Nonmedical exemptions (NMEs) are permitted in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.

What do you think?

Should more states require vaccines? Should more states offer NMEs? In Virginia, parents can receive a personal exemption only for the HPV vaccine—should NMEs only pertain to certain vaccines? Take action above and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: @OurLegacyHealth via Twitter)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(940)
  • burrkitty
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    This is not a matter of parents’ rights, but of the children’s right to health. When children are concerned, and serious risks to health or life are involved, it is irresponsible to ignore the universal weight of medical opinion. Children should be vaccinated.

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  • Sherry
    01/23/2019
    ···

    If you want your kids to go to school, or anywhere they might encounter other children, get them vaccinated. Schools should not allow unvaccinated children to attend. You don't want your kids vaccinated? Homeschool and keep them away from other people.

    Like (105)
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  • BlueSphere
    Voted No
    01/23/2019
    ···

    While I do recommend vaccinating for measles, I don’t support mandatory vaccinations in general. Some don’t vaccinate because it’s against their religious beliefs, and some don’t vaccinate because they’re not convinced all these vaccinations are safe. I respect the rights of parents to decide what is best for their kid(s) in both instances.

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  • Adam
    Voted Maybe
    01/23/2019
    ···

    Unfortunately, vaccinations are a two edged sword. On the one hand, properly formulated vaccines, without mercuric or other toxic preservatives, are very important in the prevention of and spreading of communicable diseases. The real problem is that the manufacturers of these vaccines are frequently scientifically and morally deficient, both in terms of their quality control, and their refusal to reformulate their products in the face of overwhelming evidence of the pathogenicity of some of the ingredients found in their products. Pharmaceutical companies must not be allowed to finance any Senators or Congressional House Representatives of the American People. Such financing is a direct threat to our National Security. The reason for this is quite simple. Our children and grandchildren are paying the price of Congressional accommodations of the pharmaceutical/vaccine industry’s refusal to remove heavy metal and other pathogenic “preservatives” from their formulas. The dilemma for intelligent and loving parents is how to simultaneously protect their children from truly dangerous diseases like measles and influenza versus insuring that the vaccines meant to prevent disease won’t leave a significant number of their children disabled for life. Congress must hold itself and pharmaceutical industry to a much higher standard! The People should only elect Representatives and Senators whose voting record codifies their responsibility to protect the American People from brazen Corporate Abuse.

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  • Newsfollower2018
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    I was born in 1955. I had measles at age 6. They were in my eyes, under my fingernails, everywhere on my body. I had 104-degree temperature for over a week. I was in bed for 3 weeks. I had to wear dark glasses, and I missed 3 weeks of school. I couldn’t eat very much. It was horrible. I survived, but some kids didn’t- or they had bad, lifelong side effects. There were kids in my class with polio. They couldn’t walk correctly afterwards -if they survived. Who in the world wants their children to go through all that? My brother is younger, and he was vaccinated. His case of measles was so mild. The vaccines have improved even more since then. Vaccines are necessary and important. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer people become sick. Do NOT tell me about your beliefs. I actually do not, in the least, care about what you believe. These diseases are REAL. They are bad. People in my generation and those before me totally understand how the vaccines we have now changed our lives and the lives of our children. Don’t allow your children to experience any of them. Don’t allow other people’s children to be compromised by you.

    Like (131)
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  • JTJ
    Voted No
    01/23/2019
    ···

    I choose to vaccinate myself and my kids. It is not the governments job to tell me what to do. As long as your kids are vaccinated, then don’t worry about other people.

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  • Stewart
    Voted Maybe
    01/23/2019
    ···

    I believe parents should have the right to choose, however deal with the consequences of not vaccinating you’re children. I have no issue with public schools and universities requiring children to be vaccinated.

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  • Audrey
    01/24/2019
    ···

    There is no scientific evidence vaccines are effective nor safe, only evidence provided is by biased vaccine companies! Unbiased, outside parties research isn't allowed. Also, WHY are MILLIONS given out on PAID won lawsuites! OXYMORON if they do work, why the hysteria that people vaccinated will get it or unvacced can't go to school? Also, why would ANYONE in their right mind inject a substance listed on the toxic hazard list? Animal DNA is another substance where effects are not clearly known? We have a CONSTITUTIONAL Right to choose, period. FDA doesn't work for the American public but is a paid party of Vaccine Industry & owns vaccine patents. Clear conflict of interest!

    Like (11)
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  • Chickie
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    All states should require vaccinations. Not too long ago, most people had measles, mumps and rubella as children. In some cases, children were left with disabilities, some children died due to complications of measles with pneumonia and encephalitis, (an infection of the brain). After the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, followed by the mumps vaccine in 1967 and the rubella vaccine in 1969; which were combined in 1971, the number of MMR cases dropped to 99% eradication. In 2018, 349 cases of measles were reported in 26 states, including Washington DC. These statistics are worrisome. It seems not only is the U.S. taking huge strides backwards in government, environment and racial divisiveness, we are also going backwards in diseases that can be stopped with vaccines.

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  • BeStrong
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    Yes. Parents who ignore facts and science can homeschool to mitigate the risks their choices pose on the other 90% of students.

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  • Deegan
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    You should have to be vaccinated. You need at least 83-94% of the population vaccinated to maintain herd immunity. If people aren’t immune we are not doing our job to protect the next generation.

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  • Mary ann
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    Children shouldn't suffer from their parents ignorance.

    Like (28)
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  • iixx
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    Thank you, anti-vaxxers, proving again and again and again WHY immunizations should be mandatory.

    Like (26)
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  • Nancy
    Voted No
    01/23/2019
    ···

    Vaccines should never be mandatory!?we don’t know what we s in them and people should have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies!

    Like (24)
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  • James
    Voted No
    01/24/2019
    ···

    There is a genetically susceptible subgroup who will be killed or maimed by liability-free vaccines. HHS has paid out >$4Billion since 1986 when liability was removed from vaccine makers and medical doctors. We need to respect fully informed choice so families who experience vaccine injury can refuse. Mandates without personal and religious exemptions are cruel because medicine denies these injuries and has no screen to protect those at risk of injury and death from vaccines.

    Like (22)
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  • BananaNeil
    Voted Yes
    01/23/2019
    ···

    If you're ignoring science, and allowing your child to contract viruses that have been solved, you are abusing your child. Seatbelts are mandatory, and vaccines should be too.

    Like (21)
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  • ManfromNebraska
    Voted No
    01/23/2019
    ···

    Land of the free! The government has no right to force people to get vaccinated. These outbreaks come and go.

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  • Sarah
    Voted No
    01/23/2019
    ···

    My personal opinion is that people should definitely choose to vaccinate their kids. But I don’t believe bodies should be legislated.

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  • Lisa
    Voted No
    01/24/2019
    ···

    Are people aware of the three whistleblower lawsuits involving the mmr?

    Like (18)
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  • Maureen
    Voted No
    01/24/2019
    ···

    Are you serious? Mandatory??? It just came out in a federal lawsuit where the defendents, CDC, were forced to admit that vaccines have never been tested!

    Like (17)
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  • Ann
    Voted No
    01/24/2019
    ···

    NO mandatory vaccines! The entire vaccine industry is rife with conflicts of interest (including our own CDC who holds patents on vaccines) and the medical community has gone along with recommendations just like sheep to the slaughter. Measles is NOT something as severe as smallpox or polio - these normal diseases should not be vaccinated against. People deserve the right to choose, not have Big Pharma tell them what to do just so they can make more money.

    Like (15)
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