Despite crackdown, is state losing ground in vaccination push?

Four years into a crackdown on high numbers of California students going unvaccinated because of claimed concerns over vaccine risks, new statistics from the 2018-2019 school year show that 10 percent or more of the students in 117 kindergartens and 5 percent or more of those at 1,500 other kindergartens do not have their required shots. But these students are able to attend school because their parents have succeeded in obtaining medical exemptions.

After a new law by Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, was enacted in 2015 that ended personal belief exemptions from vaccinations, the number of vaccinated kindergartners increased to above 95 percent on average. That’s the level seen as creating “herd immunity” from infectious diseases. This was treated as a success story by public health officials who supported Pan’s effort to respond to a Disneyland-based measles outbreak that was California’s worst in years. They expected the vaccination rate to keep going up as public health information campaigns emphasized their importance.

But the overall kindergarten vaccination rate in the state dipped to 94.8 percent in 2018-19, and to much lower at many schools. Aware of the sharp increase in medical exemptions on questionable grounds, this led Pan and Gov. Gavin Newsom to hash out a compromise under which state public health officials would automatically review such exemptions in two circumstances: when doctors issued five or more in a school year and in schools with vaccination rates less than 95 percent.

Senate Bill 276 has passed initial votes and is expected to be enacted by session’s end in September. But authorities in the Bay Area have already begun a crackdown after a San Jose Mercury-News report found that just five doctors issued at least one-third of all vaccine exemptions in eight of the region’s school districts.

Doctors responding to parents’ ‘market demand’

Experts say that these doctors are in effect responding to “market demand.” Thousands of parents – often affluent people who are skeptical about modern medicine and interested in alternative medicine – remain eager believers in discredited theories that vaccines are responsible for autism and other early childhood medical woes. They reject the representations of public health authorities.

Meanwhile, as CalWatchdog recently reported, California is one of the states most at risk of a measles outbreak caused by the combination of both unvaccinated children and the high level of air passengers from nations around the world such as the Philippines and Italy that have had measles epidemics because vaccination rates have dropped.

Public health officials believe it is just a matter of time until California has a measles outbreak as severe as the one based in Disneyland in the winter of 2014-15, in which at least 131 infections were reported.

UCLA warns many exposed to virus at food court

“In 2019, four outbreaks linked to patients with international travel have been reported in California,” the state Department of Public Health announced last week. As of July 10, the state had 58 confirmed measles cases and the U.S. had 1,109 measles cases. The national number is nearly triple the total seen in all of 2018.

This week, officials at UCLA are on edge after confirming that an individual who used the UCLA campus food court on July 2 and July 3 was infected with measles and potentially could have exposed thousands of people. The university says employees who may have been exposed cannot return to work until they prove they’ve been vaccinated.

Measles is one of the most highly infectious viral diseases, public health officials say. Before an effective vaccine became available in 1963, it killed millions of people worldwide each year. That fell to about 110,000 a year earlier this century after vaccines became widely available even in poor nations. 

But the World Health Organization said in April that the number of deaths appears to be steadily increasing worldwide since 2017, the last year for which full statistics were available.


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  1. Standing Fast
    Standing Fast 15 July, 2019, 11:04

    I find it hard to believe that Libertarians, who supposedly believe that the government we are getting is way too intrusive and interfering in our lives and liberty, are complaining that some people are resisting government-mandated vaccinations because they do not believe them to be safe. And you pooh-pooh the idea that maybe, just maybe, they aren’t safe for everyone.

    First of all, since when does government know best what is good you YOU?

    Second of all, there are documented cases of children and adults who react so badly to the new vaccines that they suffer permanent damage, even death. If a parent or a patient is afraid this might happen to them, shouldn’t they have a right to decline?

    Third, there are, in addition, medical conditions and other factors that make any kind of vaccination dangerous for an individual. Ought not a doctor to be able to sign a waiver?

    Fourth, the new vaccines are administered in bundles of eight, ten, twenty different types and the doses are industrial strength. This is not the way it was when I was a wee lass in the 1950’s during the polio epidemic. When the vaccine became available, children were immunized were given the vaccine all by itself.

    I remember being given other vaccinations, one, two, maybe three at a time. Bad reactions were rare because the doses were not so intense as to overwhelm a person’s immune system.

    Fifth, I’ve read the new vaccines are less potent than the previous generation of vaccines. Well, maybe so, but the early vaccines were administered one at a time and they were not industrial strength.

    Sixth, vaccinating people against dangerous diseases seems like a good thing. But, in the long run it is not a good thing. Before vaccines, people who survived deadly epidemics were able to pass on their resistance to their offspring. Over time, people became healthier as a result, if their food supply was not compromised. Now that we are vaccinated for virtually everything under the sun, generations of people have no immunities to pass on to their offspring. If there comes a time when the vaccinations are not widely available, what do you think will happen?

    Seventh, Science and Medicine are not the salvation of mankind. Government does not know best what is good for you. If you believe otherwise, you are not a friend of Liberty. Liberty allows individuals to use their own judgment about all matters concerning themselves. If you love Liberty, stop bullying people who are exercising theirs.

    I’ll stop here, but I can’t help wondering what has happened to the Libertarians? Or, is it maybe they have always been this way and I didn’t see it?

    Reply this comment
    • ricky smith
      ricky smith 17 July, 2019, 09:08

      I’m with you SF on this one.
      We used to call that freedom but that’s an old fashioned concept these days.
      If some parents opt out of vaccination for their children then so be it.
      Besides if the large percentage of parents choose to vaccinate then it seems it would be nearly impossible for an epidemic to start and spread with only a small portion of the population not inoculated to it.
      Right now as long as a very large percentage do not opt out its not a problem.
      The flip side is those who do opt out might face the prospect of having a very sick kid on their hands and conscience.

      Reply this comment
      • Ulysses Uhaul
        Ulysses Uhaul 17 July, 2019, 10:27

        You’re need to evaluate what you believe….this is not Central Congo yet….do you want Doomers keeling over in the streets and being hauled off in uncertified 14 century carts….at least compassionately use our clean/safety approved trailers Ricky.

        Appreciate the business and will throw in a free checkup at Big Al’s Urgent Care In Randsburg or Adelanto for any symptomatic family member.

        Reply this comment
  2. M T Tarr
    M T Tarr 15 July, 2019, 11:10

    Parents who’ve watched their previously healthy children develop neurological, immunological, digestive, and other problems “reject representations of public health officials” because their own first hand knowledge and experience tells the truth. Public health agencies including the CDC, and elected officials like Senator Pan, are in complete cahoots with the pharmaceutical industry and incapable of telling the truth. Pan’s reasoning changes as it suits him. With the 1986 law granting immunity from any liability, doctors, health insurers, and most of all, vaccine manufacturers, have no incentive to protect the health of the medically fragile, and every incentive to push mandatory vaccines. With campaign finance the way it is, our law makers just keep taking Pharma dollars and doing their bidding. Most of the media is pharma owned too. I had hoped you would be different. And, what about bodily sovereignty? Do people not have a right to refuse medical treatment when such treatment poses a risk? Even a bottle of tylenol comes with warnings and contraindications but you can get a flu shot without any proper disclosure and informed consent. To question this is to be accused of being “anti-science” or “selfish” but I disagree.

    Reply this comment
    • Standing Fast
      Standing Fast 15 July, 2019, 11:36

      Thank you. So, what does this mean, CalWatchdog is in cahoots with Big Pharma? Well, why not? They are a giant capitalist concern and represent materialism’s eye-view of the ultimate achievement.

      Reply this comment
  3. Queeg
    Queeg 16 July, 2019, 11:06


    The canaries are not vaccinated,,,,,,

    Get over it, your future is a soiled undersized white smock in a long queue at a Maduro style clinca.

    Reply this comment
  4. Oregon Bill
    Oregon Bill 21 July, 2019, 17:51


    The absolute same logic that lets you kill your unborn child lets me tell you to take your vaccine and shove it up your ass.


    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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