Measles in Disneyland:
Third MMR Shot and Vaccine Exemption Ban?
by Barbara Loe Fisher
There have been hundreds of media stories published in the U.S. and around the world since Jan. 14, 2015, the day after it was first reported that visitors to Disneyland got measles and presumably infected other people in California, Washington, Utah and Colorado. Like wildfire, the story spread globally even though there was - and still is - limited information about the 51 lab-confirmed cases of measles public health officials say are linked to the happiest place on earth. According a Jan. 23 Health Advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "no source case for the outbreak has been identified."
Demonizing of Parents and Their Children
The U.S. has a population of more than 320 million people and 38 million people live in California, so it is curious why a handful of measles cases prompted one California newspaper to quickly place blame on parents making informed vaccine choices, calling them "ignorant" and engaged in a "self-absorbed rejection of science." Astroturfers and trolls saw that kind of talk as a green light to do more of it on public comment boards...
Read this referenced commentary, watch a video and make a comment here.
Report and Share Your Vaccine Experiences
If you or your child have gotten vaccinated and the vaccine failed to work or caused harm or you have been threatened or punished for declining one or more vaccines, you can report and also choose to share your experiences with others on NVIC's website here.
NVIC in the News
In the 33-year history of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), no single event related to vaccine safety, policy and law has generated the number of media inquiries that NVIC has received between Jan. 14 and Jan. 28, 2015. Although most print and broadcast media stories about Disneyland-related measles cases have been similar in tone and content, the perspective of NVIC and parents defending vaccine choices has been represented in a number of the stories, including:
LA Times Jan. 14 (Disneyland, Holiday Travel a Perfect Match for Measles' Spread): "I don't think we should have a black-and-white approach and just say it's the fault of the unvaccinated people," said Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center. "You have the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risk of a medical intervention and [to] be able to make a voluntary choice without being harassed, coerced or punished for the choice you make."
San Diego Union Jan. 17 (Measles Outbreak Fuels Vaccination Debate): Barbara Loe Fisher, director of the National Vaccine Information Center, a Virginia-based nonprofit group that opposes compulsory immunization, said she and many others distrust establishment claims that vaccination's negative side effects are rare. "From an informed consumer's perspective, what I have found are gaps in the vaccine safety science that need to be filled," Fisher said. "We do not truly understand the scope of vaccine injury. ... We need to give respect to parents who are trying to do the best for their children."
KCRA-TV- Sacramento Jan. 20 (Study: More East Sac, Roseville Parents Refuse to Vaccinate Kids): ""It's not a black or white issue," said Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center. Her group is not anti-vaccine, but advocates for parental choice. Fisher said parents shouldn't be "forced" to vaccinate. She said it's about intelligent people looking at all the information and reaching different decisions."
New York Times Jan. 21, (Measles Cases Linked to Disneyland Rises, Debate Over Vaccinations Intensifies): "It's premature to blame the increase in reports of measles on the unvaccinated when we don't have all the facts yet," said Barbara Loe Fisher, the president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group raising concerns about inoculations. "I do know this: Fifty-seven cases of measles coming out of Disneyland in a country with a population of 317 million people is not a lot of cases. We should all take a deep breath and wait to see and get more information."
Vice.com, Jan. 22 (A Measles Outbreak at Disneyland is Reigniting the Debate About Vaccination): "A vocal critic of vaccinations, National Vaccine Information Center President Barbara Loe Fisher, said she thinks Cherry was being closed-minded. Her son developed brain swelling after a vaccination and now has learning disabilities, she said, adding that doctors and drug makers don't want parents to know about the dangers of vaccinations. "People like to make this a black and white issue," Loe Fisher told VICE News. "We either do it the way the government has outlined or there is something wrong with you. We have a lot of people with adverse reactions to vaccinations."
NBC Evening News Jan. 22: "Susan Lawson says she will not immunize her children against measles after she says her daughter had a severe and life threatening reaction to the vaccine. "Does my child's life mean less than a vaccinated child's life? I don't think so." and Jan. 24: "Some people get measles vaccine and have no problems; other people have complications and severe health problems from use of measles vaccine." [Barbara Loe Fisher, National Vaccine Information Center].
Associated Press Jan. 23 (Measles Outbreak Cases Cast Spotlight on Anti-Vaccine Movement): "Barbara Loe Fisher, of the National Vaccine Information Center, a Virginia-based nonprofit that favors letting parents decide whether to vaccinate, said, "I don't think it's wise or responsible to blame" unvaccinated people for the Disney outbreak. She noted that a small number of those stricken had been fully vaccinated."
Reuters, Jan. 24 ( Doctors Group Urges Measles Shot As Disneyland Outbreak Spreads): "Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group calling for "informed consent" for parents regarding vaccinations, said the Disneyland outbreak had touched off a "media frenzy." "There's a lot of name-calling going on rather than talking about substantive policy issues," she said."
USA Today, Jan. 27 (Let Parents Make Informed Choices: Inflexible Mandates Threaten the Health of Children): "While vaccines are promoted as safe and effective, this is not true for everyone. Vaccine risks are different for each child because we are not all the same, and doctors cannot predict which child will be harmed. Inflexible vaccine mandates threaten the health of those children." [Mary Jo Perry, co-director, Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights]
In the News
ABC News Jan 15 (Newlywed Dies of Sepsis After Getting Flu): "Katie McQuestion, a 26-year-old radiology technician from Kenosha, Wisconsin, got a flu shot to comply with hospital policy and had no underlying medical conditions, but she caught the flu and developed a serious complication from it: sepsis. She died on Jan. 2."
CNBC Jan. 17 (Price Tag of Saving the World from Disease): "Infectious diseases are incubating everywhere across the world-ranging from the deadly Ebola virus to the more common yet debilitating influenza-to often devastating effect. It raises the question of how large a premium should world governments pay to insulate their economies from global pandemics. Would you believe $343.7 billion? That eye-popping figure is one of several takeaways of a group of scholars calling for a "global strategy" to mitigate the impact of threats to public health."
Science Daily Jan. 19 (California Clusters of Underimmunization Identified in Northern California): "Researchers used spatial analysis software and electronic medical records to identify clusters of underimmunization and vaccine refusal among Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics.Children are considered to be underimmunized when they miss one or more recommended vaccine doses before age three, while vaccine refusal means not allowing a child to receive any vaccines."
Mail Online Jan. 25 (Girl, five, Dies from a Strain of the Flu She Was Vaccinated Against): A five-year-old girl has died in hospital three days after developing a strain of the flu that she was vaccinated against - as a deadly outbreak of the virus continues to sweep across the country."