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Court Says Child Welfare Agency Cannot Vaccinate Children In State Custody Without Parental Consent
Hartford Courant (CT)
August 15, 2017
"The state Supreme Court ventured into the area of child inoculations Friday, ruling that the state cannot vaccinate neglected children placed in temporary state custody if the parents object. The court did not address the efficacy of vaccinations. Rather, the unanimous decision by seven justices turned narrowly on the definition of the words 'medical care' in a state law authorizing the Department of Children and Families to look after the health needs of children committed to its custody. The department argued to the court that vaccinations fall within its authority to give medical care to children in its custody because vaccinations 'mitigate' against the possibility of contracting a disease. The justices, however, agreed with the parents, who argued that the common meaning meaning of 'medical treatment' permits the state to administer emergency care without parental consent only for immediate health problems. 'If there is no emergency, the state cannot intervene over the objection of parents,' said attorney Benjamin M. Wattenmaker, of the Hartford firm Feiner Wolfson, who represented the parents."
Some Pediatricians Are Refusing to See Unvaccinated Kids
August 15, 2017
"As some parents continue to refuse vaccines for their children, it's not just schools turning them away. Many pediatricians are now dismissing families who deny lifesaving vaccinations for nonmedical reasons. Despite the abundance of scientific evidence supporting the safety and necessity of vaccines, some families continue to express hesitancy or distrust the important inoculations altogether. Many doctors worry that their refus al could put other patients at risk. 'I have two patients in my practice who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,' Alla Gordina, MD, FAAP, a New Jersey pediatrician told Forbes last year. 'I have to protect them. I have to protect babies who cannot be vaccinated because of their age.' While more pediatricians are adopting similar rules (up to nearly one in eight, according to a 2013 survey), the news still comes as a shock to some parents who delay or skip immunizations. 'My oldest son is 13 and just recently, I took them into the same pediatrician's office and they informed me at the end of the visit that they would no longer see my children because I don't vaccinate them,' mom Lauren McGuinnes told First Coast News. 'Parents are kind of being bullied to vaccinate.'"
No shots, no school say local educators
August 15, 2017
"For 4-year-old Madison and her mom Diamond, getting ready to start school for the first time isn't just a trip to the store, it's also a visit to the doctors. 'We got the immunization shots. We got her all registered for school, and now we're here to get school supplies.' Said Diamond. In Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, immunizations are mandated by law. But last year in Prince George's County, 6,300 kids weren't immunized by the first day of school. 'Get that vaccination. Get that proof, because we want to make sure that all those requirements are met, and that students don't miss any unnecessary time,' said Prince George's County Public School's Public Information Officer John White. By December 2016, the district had 99 percent compliance. Just 517 of more than 130 thousand kids still hadn't gotten their mandatory vaccines. Kids have 20 days to get up to date. Parents who don't get those forms in can face truancy charges, including up to eleven days of jail time. Prince George's County doesn't track how many parents choose to homeschool or claim a religious exemption."
Missing vaccinations could force schools to turn students away
August 15, 2017
"Before students get to the classroom, they need to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. That's especially true for incoming sixth graders in South Dakota. This is the second year that the state legislature mandated two new shots, the T-Dap and meningitis vaccines, for students entering the sixth grade. Last year, about 90% of new middle school students in the Rapid City Area School District did not have the shots on the first day. 'Whooping cough is a very contagious illness, truth be told most middle and high schoolers would probably survive that infection,' said Dr. Cara Hamilton. 'The biggest risk is an outbreak beyond that school to younger siblings, maybe a baby catches whooping cough and it can absolutely be fatal.' The school district believes the failure to meet state requirements last year was because of a lack of awareness. 'We partnered with Regional Heath on a public information campaign,' said RCAS communications manager, Katy Urban. 'So they're going to be at our open houses this year, handing out information telling families where they can get those shots.'"
Rock County sees lower immunization numbers than surrounding counties
Gazette Xtra (WI)
August 15, 2017
"For many families, back to school season means back to the doctor's office for required and recommended immunizations. But that has not been the case in recent years for many in Rock County. Immunizations rates in Rock County have dropped since 2013, according to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Immunization Registry. Of children ages 19 to 25 months old, 66.6 percent have received the recommended doses of vaccines for Polio, MMR, Hib, hepatitis B, varicella and Pneumococcal conjugate. That's 4.4 percentage points lower than the state average, 71 percent. Rock County has lower immunization rates than Walworth and Green counties, according to the registry. In Wisconsin, the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, also known as the DTaP, is required for kids as they enter public schools in preschool or kindergarten, according to the state student immunization law. These vaccinations are given in four doses in a child's first two years, said Hillary Harrie, public health nurse for the Rock County Public Health Department."
Local Facebook page seeks to educate parents about vaccines for children
August 15, 2017
"Many WMBF News viewers have sounded off on both sides of the vaccination debate after an investigative report on vaccination rates in local schools was posted to Facebook. Some saying unvaccinated kids should stay home from school, while others said it should be up to parents to make the decision... The WMBF investigation found at 97 percent, Horry County has one of the lowest vaccinations rates in the state. As a follow-up, a local woman who runs a Facebook group that supports parents who choose not to have their kids vaccinated spoke about the issue. Alexandria Cowell, a mother of three, said she started the Facebook page 'Vaccine and Health Choice Myrtle Beach' so parents in this area could find solid accurate information - backed up by science - to support their reasons for choosing not to vaccinate their children. Cowell noted that, at the end of the day, no matter what a parent chooses, it's important to do the research. 'I blindly vaccinated my first child, and I wish I hadn't,' she said. 'I wish I had done some research.'"
Woman fights for meningitis vaccines for college students
August 15, 2017
"August is National Immunization Awareness month and a Texas woman is fighting to get every college student in america protected from every strain of the disease. Jamie Schanbaum lost her legs and part of her hands to a dangerous form of meningitis in college. In our 'Sinclair Cares' report, Delaine Mathieu talks with a woman about the disease that nearly killed her and the mission that keeps her fighting. She's the voice for survivors of meningitis all over the world. 28-year-old Jamie Schanbaum has made a name for herself as the girl who's saving lives. 'I didn't know it was a life-threatening disease and I didn't know that when you're on college campus, you're at a higher risk of catching it,' said Jamie. 'And I walked onto campus not knowing that and almost lost my life to the disease.' In 2008, as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, Jamie contracted Meningoccocal Meningitis -- an infection that attacks the tissue around the brain and spinal chord. 'I was watching my limbs go from red rash within a couple of days, to purple to black, to rotting, to decaying with my fingers shriveled up like raisins,' she told Delaine. 'And my feet curled up like ballerinas.'"
Death toll reaches 11 in San Diego hepatitis A outbreak
San Diego Union-Tribune (CA)
August 15, 2017
"San Diego's relentless hepatitis A outbreak is showing no signs of slowing down, according to the latest set of numbers from the county's public health department. Posted Tuesday by the county Health and Human Services Agency, the weekly case update bumps the outbreak's death total to 11, three more than were reported on July 28. The number of local hepatitis A cases confirmed so far this year also jumped, reaching 333 from a total of 275 reported 18 days ago. It's a stratospheric total for a disease that averaged only 28 cases per year in San Diego from 2012 to 2016, according to county records. Confirmed cases are not the only tally on the rise. Hepatitis A has now hospitalized 232 people this year, up from 38 from the 194 hospitalizations reported in late July. Hepatitis A counts have continued to tick upward at a steady pace this summer, surpassing all totals recorded in the last 20 years, despite increasingly-aggressive public health countermeasures including free vaccination clinics, public education campaigns and increased sanitation efforts among the region's homeless population where infections have spread the widest. Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer, said Tuesday afternoon that investigators continue to look for clues that might shed more light on what is driving an outbreak that started in late 2016."
Potentially Safer Zika Vaccine Developed by Scientists at Arizona State University
August 15, 2017
"The Zika virus, a flavivirus with devastating consequences for babies born of infected mothers, has garnered worldwide attention. Because of the dramatic and potentially deadly consequences of infection on unborn babies, researchers around the world have been scrambling to create an effective vaccine against the virus, particularly for areas where the infection is endemic, such as Brazil. Recently, researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) made great strides towards this goal, creating the world's first plant-based Zika vaccine, which 'could be more potent, safer, and cheaper to produce than any other efforts to date,' according to a press release on the research. Led by ASU Biodesign Institute scientist Qiang 'Shawn' Chen, PhD, the researchers from ASU utilized a key protein in the Zika virus, DIII, to develop this new vaccine. Dr. Chen elaborated on this protein in the press release, stating, 'All flaviviruses have the envelope protein on the outside part of the virus. It has three domains. The domain III has a unique stretch of DNA for the Zika virus, and we exploited this to generate a robust and protective immune response that is unique for Zika.'"
EDITORIAL: “A mixed record on childhood vaccinations
The Press Democrat (CA)
August 16, 2017
"In a report published this year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation noted that childhood deaths worldwide have been declining annually for more than a quarter-century. 'More children survived in 2015 than in 2014. More survived in 2014 than in 2013, and so on,' the report said. 'If you add it all up, 122 million children under age five have been saved over the past 25 years. These are children who would have died if mortality rates had stayed where they were in 1990.' The main reason: vaccination. California passed a law tightening vaccination requirements for schoolchildren after a widespread - and entirely avoidable - measles outbreak that started at Disneyland in late 2014, which followed by a few months the largest outbreak of whooping cough in a half-century. The law's impact was immediate, with the vaccination rate for incoming kindergartners soaring to 95.6 percent in 2016, the first year after the law took effect. Experts say 95 percent is sufficient to prevent contagious diseases such as measles, whooping cough and chickenpox from spreading. That should be comforting news for parents and children alike."
EDITORIAL: More proof that child immunization is essential
The Dispatch-Argus (IL)
August 16, 2017
"Just as students were preparing to return to the classroom, JAMA Pediatrics shared a study that offers fresh evidence of why vaccination is essential in these breeding grounds for knowledge and, sadly, germs. The report, 'Public Health and Economic Consequences of Vaccine Hesitancy for Measles in the United States' posted on July 24, quantifies how the reluctance of parents to have children vaccinated exponentially increases the spread of what can be deadly childhood diseases. The study, which used data from the United State Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, modeled children age 2-11. It found that a 5 percent reduction in measles, mumps and rubella vaccination coverage resulted in a three-fold increase in annual measles cases, and an additional $2.1 million in public sector costs. But that's not all. Researchers warn, 'Even small declines in vaccination coverage in children owing to vaccine hesitancy may have substantial public health and economic consequences that will be larger when considering unvaccinated infants, adolescents and adults.'"
More Gardasil fear mongering: A ‘critical review’ of HPV vaccination that lacks critical thinking
August 16, 2017
"Here we go again. Antivaxers don't like vaccines. This, we know. They blame them for everything from autism to autoimmune diseases to diabetes to sudden infant death syndrome. They even sometimes claim that shaken baby syndrome is a 'misdiagnosis' for vaccine injury. However, there are two vaccines that stand out above all as the objects of antivaccine scorn. the first, of course, is the MMR vaccine. That's on Andrew Wakefield., of course, who almost singlehandedly popularized the fear that the MMR vaccine causes autism. The second most hated vaccine (by antivaxers) is Gardasil or Cervarix, both vaccines against the human papilloma virus (HPV), the virus that causes genital wart and certain subtypes of which greatly predispose to cancer. The reason for the extreme negative reaction to HPV vaccines is not because they are thought to cause autism, given that they are not administered until girls are approaching pubert. Rather, it is because they are falsely considered to be unnecessary. HPV is sexually transmitted disease, which makes the cervical cancer HPV vaccines prevent a largely sexually transmitted disease. Many religiously inclined antivaxers falsely think that HPV vaccination will encourage promiscuity, even though the evidence is pretty strong that it doesn't."