Medical Tuesday Blog
Has Hippocrates been Hoodwinked in California?
Doctors will no longer be the final authority on medical exemptions from vaccinations and could be investigated if they write too many. Opponents say physicians may now be afraid to provide waivers, even for kids who need them.
In California, children are required to be vaccinated, or have a medical exemption, to attend school. The new law creates a review process that gives public health officials the final say on those waivers, with the authority to reject them. Reasons for medical exemptions must still follow strict guidelines, and doctors will now be barred from charging any fees for exams or forms related to such dispensation.
Doctors who oppose the law say they are concerned about losing their right to say what’s best for their patients, and about the lack of liability for those injured by vaccines, Debra Schaefer, spokeswoman for Advocates for Physicians’ Rights, said by email.
“The CDC itself warns that there are risks involved with vaccinations, and where there is risk, there should at least be a discussion between a doctor and a patient, like with any other pharmaceutical,” she said. “This bill is nothing more than government overreach….Doctors were scared to write (medical exemptions) before this bill; this is just creating an additional killing effect.”
Other opponents say the law tries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Instead, it may force thousands of children to leave school or quickly get caught up on vaccines even if they have legitimate medical exemptions, said Toby Rogers, an independent researcher and prominent critic of the law.
“If you are missing a single shot in this bloated schedule, you are considered noncompliant and kicked out of school,” said Rogers, referring to the CDC schedule of vaccinations for children. In California, kids are required to receive 15-16 vaccine shots to enter kindergarten. Some of the shots carry combined doses.
Rogers suggested the state focus instead on the larger percentage of children affected by such diseases and conditions as diabetes, asthma, autoimmune disorders and such conditions as autism.
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