The governor of California just signed a law making it very hard for parents to send kids to school without vaccines.  So, it turns out that if you want to send your kids to public school, you have to give up control over medical decisions.

We have a history in the US of making people jump through hoops to receive social services. You need to go to parenting courses to receive child care aid. You need to participate in child IQ evaluations to receive subsidized physical therapy for kids. You need to go to special doctor appointments to get anxiety medicines through Medicare.

We accept that the government exerts more control over people who ask for more help.

Therefore it starts to make sense that if you want to send your kids to school, you have to get your kids vaccinated. Because you already had to let the government decide how fast your kids should eat (some schools have 15 minute lunches). You let the government decide how much exercise your kids get during the day (it’s not enough). You let the government decide how much homework your kid must do each night (it’s too much). So we shouldn’t be surprised when lawmakers add more hoops for people to jump through to put their kids in school.

The problem is that the more hoops there are, the more school becomes a place for poor kids—like a housing project for when the parents are away.

In California, statistics show that as many as 90% of parents in high-income schools are not vaccinating. And the rich people make similar decisions all over the country. (Believe me, I’m one of those people and low-income people don’t have the time or the energy to fight all the doctors and administrators I’ve had to fend off to keep my kids vaccine free when they were younger.)

Another law could have been written, maybe to require measles shots but not all the others. Many people think the sweeping laws of California are unconstitutional in demands lawmakers put on school children.

So vaccines remind us of two huge trends in education right now: rich people are leaving public school and lawmakers are using public education as a way to control poor people.

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70 replies
  1. Kelli
    Kelli says:

    Do you follow Dr. Bob Sears? He is located in Southern California and has been talking quite a bit about this issue on facebook. My state representative tried to get a similar bill passed this winter here in Texas. It didn’t gain any traction, but his was one of many. Pretty sure he has plans to try again next session. I won’t be voting to re-elect him this fall.

  2. Holly Hein
    Holly Hein says:

    A school is a place where hundreds of kids are in close quarters. Vaccination against infectious diseases is a response that’s very relevant to that environment, which makes it a bit different from just hoop-jumping to receive services.

    • Emily
      Emily says:

      Well-said! I agree that preventing the spread of dangerous diseases via schools can be taken at face value. It’s not an example of school/gov’t lust for arbitrary control.

  3. Gretchen
    Gretchen says:

    The vast majority of people should be vaccinated, though. Period. We are all special in a few certain ways that are important to us and our families, but really, there are lots of ways we’re not special at all that certain people want to think they and their kids are.

    • Amy A
      Amy A says:

      I assume what you are saying is this: “Sacrifice your children and yourself for the good of the whole.” Screw that. If that is how life had to be, I wouldn’t have brought children into the world. Since I have children, I protect them with my life. But if you want to sacrifice yours, that is on you.

      And by sacrificing, I am talking well beyond vaccinating. I am referring to that whole mindset.

      • Gretchen
        Gretchen says:

        No, I’m saying most people don’t need to avoid vaccines and have no problems with them. It’s all weird hysteria that makes people think they shouldn’t have them.

      • Trilby
        Trilby says:

        I vaccinated my kids, and not just for the good of the whole – for their own well-being. Instead of slamming those who vaccinate, consider the fact that it’s what may be protecting your non-vaccinated kid.

        At least, it may have before. But I wouldn’t rely on herd immunity anymore.

        • Amy A
          Amy A says:


          If I am “slamming” anything, I’m slamming the idea that everyone should take on/accept as reasoning this belief:

          “Sacrifice your children and yourself for the good of the whole.”

          I really don’t care who believes that for themselves.

          I really don’t care if people vaccinate or if they don’t.

          What I don’t want is for the law to dictate parental choices. And it does bother me that some parents support these rights to be taken away from everybody.

          As far the vaccinated protecting the unvaccinated, I wonder how contagious vaccinated people are and for how long. (P.S. I was a flippin pin cushion in the military). Do vaccines have anything to do with keeping the diseases around? We really don’t know (or rather, those of us who who haven’t done the scientific experiments ourselves don’t know). So what is left is each of us trusting our guts and doing the research we each deem acceptable. No law can do that.

          • Amy A
            Amy A says:

            Oh and who gets to decide what is good for the whole? How about bringing the draft back, for both males and females this time, to fight another Vietnam style war? “For the good of the whole.”

            Where does it end?

            Oh, Tracy M. Cool. I always assume I am on a deserted island or other planet. Thanks :)

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            Amy, there are actually scientists that have a good idea of the answers to the questions you ask. Since I am not myself a scientist and I am not a wacky conspiracy theorist either, I tend to trust them.

          • liz, mom of 5 under 10
            liz, mom of 5 under 10 says:

            You are not contagious after a vaccination. Most of them are dead viruses.

          • FireRose
            FireRose says:

            Actually, there is substantial scientific evidence that vaccines cause shedding, a phenomenon where the skin around the area of the shot peels off as the body adjusts to the virus. This shedding can spread the virus when the vaccine is a live virus vaccine, which it often is:

            from; page 5:
            Could my unvaccinated or immune compromised child get sick from coming in
            contact with a recently vaccinated person?
            When it comes to live virus vaccines, the short answer is: Yes.
            During a viral infection, live virus is shed in the body fluids of those who are infected for
            varying amounts of time and can be transmitted to others.
            3 4 5 Vaccine strain live virus
            is also shed for varying amounts of time in the body fluids of vaccinated people and can
            be transmitted to others.
            6 7 8
            Although public health officials maintain that live attenuated virus vaccines rarely cause
            complications in the vaccinated person and that vaccine strain viral shedding rarely
            causes disease in close contacts of the recently vaccinated, it is important to be aware
            that vaccine strain live virus infection can sometimes cause serious complications in
            vaccinated persons and vaccine strain live viruses can be shed and transmitted to
            others with serious or even fatal consequences.

  4. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    This issue isn’t to vaccinate or not. It is how much control do we let the government have over us? The fact is, any time you stand for something you should be aware of all the facts. In this issue I find people are only aware of what the media says (pro or con ), which I think we can all agree is not a good source of informaion for research. Whether you you are for or against the question remains, how much control do we give the government?

  5. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    I have had several old friends, like friends I haven’t spoken to since I was 18 years old, reach out to me since this law passed to find out what unschooling is and how they can homeschool in CA, since they know I am quite vocal about unschooling my kids.

    Once I explain what unschooling is and how it is freedom for us they get really excited. Of course, CA makes it really easy to homeschool here. You just register as a private school once a year on the CDE website and that is it. Takes about ten minutes for someone who isn’t tech savvy to complete the form.

    I’m not sure that they can homeschool through charter schools anymore with this new law.

    But even without this law, the LAUSD is majority poor children in public schools, like 75% or something close to that. It’s not like they had options before this law. The rich people either send their kids to private school or homeschool or find an alternative charter school that is really difficult for poor children to attend, like no busing, no free lunch etc.

    I’m not sure if this law is unconstitutional or not, but it certainly borders into FAPE territory.

  6. Amy A
    Amy A says:

    Sarah, You got that right. First this (which a lot of the mainstream accepts anyway, so it is somewhat of an “easy” in for the regulators). Then what is next? When will it stop?

    There is talk of making homeschoolers vax too. And h.s. being illegal all together.

    Ever since public education moved from state-controlled to federal, local input matters less and less. And the districts which accept federal funding (most of them?) are blindly giving away their local control even further. Soon no one will have anyone to complain to because no one will know who is really running the show.

  7. Amy K.
    Amy K. says:

    Hi YKMAS,

    All homeschoolers are now exempt from vax laws in CA, including independent study charter students.

    I actually see sb277 as being aimed squarely at affluent non-vaxers. The law applies equally to both public and private schools… Democratic schools, Waldorf, Elon Musk’s school, it doesn’t matter, you have to vaccinate. Though we will likely see a lot more medical exemptions written for kids whose parents have access to Bob Sears types.

    The remaining loopholes in the law are homelessness and hardship. Homeless students are exempt, and students with incomplete vaccinations due to the difficulty of getting to the doctor can enroll in school on a conditional basis… these are more likely to happen in high-poverty schools. Though, as you know, vax rates at high-poverty schools are quite high.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Good to know about the charter option. But, I definitely didn’t know about private schools needing to comply, private schools have always been none of the state’s business in the past, so will they now set up a new regulatory body monitoring vaccinations of privately schooled children? This is just bizarre.

      • Amy K.
        Amy K. says:

        The state required either PBE or vax records prior to SB277… we slightly delayed our younger son’s vaxes due to allergies, and I signed a PBE at our private preschool that is the same exact form public schools provide.

        I don’t want to send a link and get thrown in to moderation, but there’s a piece through the LA Times called “Look up your California kindergarten’s vaccination rate” from Jan. 23 of this year; you can see that there’s vax data on any private or public school (with 10 or more students, I think).

  8. kina
    kina says:

    Excuse my cynicism but ever since I moved to the States from Europe over a decade ago, I can’t stop thinking that everything that happens here is designed to make money.

  9. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    I enrolled my daughter in a private Catholic school for PK-3 two years ago and experienced what the non-vax Californians will likely now experience in their search for medical exemptions, (because Catholic private schools accept only medical exemptions.) I felt like I had embarked on the Underground Railroad of non-vax: one mom knew another mom whose daughter was helped by a mom whose father is a pediatrician. The daughter had been through a bitter divorce over the issue of vaccinating her baby. I don’t know all the details of her story, but her willingness to help appeared like a vocation. I was grateful.

  10. redrock
    redrock says:

    Atually the first reason to vaccinate is so your kid does not get sick with measles, polio, rubella or whopping cough or maybe diphteria….the common good is the second reason. Or would you refuse a tetanus shot, whcich is also a vaccine, for yourself or your kid if you get a cut from a rusty nail?

    • Rose
      Rose says:

      Tetanus is a spore that can be found on a variety of surfaces and requires an anaerobic environment to impact the human body. A puncture wound could require a shot if one was unable to sufficiently clean the wound. Rust has nothing to do with tetanus, except that a rusty nails commonly dwell out-of-doors where spores dwell.

      And. Tetanus shots include ingredients that are known to cause neurological damage to humans.

      Informed consent is a very important aspect of medical treatment. It creates an atmosphere of good care and wise consumerism. You and I pay for services from fallible people who are trained with a bias (which is not necessarily a criticism! I want doctors to take charge to staunch bleeding and fix broken bones!!). We have a responsibility to actively participate in non-emergent health care decision in order to achieve health.

      Yes. I have refused a tetnus shot based on the previous information. That was 10 years ago.

      • redrock
        redrock says:

        The rusty nail was used as a graphic example for sth which is outdoors most likely covered or in close contact with dirt.I realize that rust as an inorganic material cannot cause a bacterial disease like tetanus. The tetnus example is used to have a discussion on a disease which is not communicable but where a very potent vaccine exists. The reason for the very low incidence in the US is exactly this vaccine, and tetanus is considerably more common in many other countries and carries a siginificant mortaility is certainly within your right to refuse a vaccine despite the extremely low incidence of severe vaccination complications – at least the numbers I could dig out are smaller them 1 per 100000. The discussion has to be different if refusal of vaccinations by a significant number of people endangers the life of others. I am not saying that mandatory vaccinations are the way to go, but there is a limit to ones right to choose if it can cause harm to others.

        • No2much
          No2much says:

          Those numbers regarding the rates of reaction to vaccines are fudged but the AMA and the government. The state I live in which is very conservative keeps records that they do not make known to the public. I know because my daughter ended up being monitored by the state (not just a dr.) and if I did not comply they would send CPS. I had several doctors drop her as a patient because of the state oversight. The nurse overseeing the Dept. of Health had to patch my daughter into the system they had a different way because she wasn’t on Medicaid. She made it sound like everyone else was.
          BTW, I have another son that had a response to a vaccine when his leg was swollen and hard for six months. The pediatrician shrugged it off and says that happens sometimes. So, no, they are reporting it. I know most doctors will be disciplined for giving exemptions or reporting problems.

          • redrock
            redrock says:

            interesting – so from your response you are saying that there is conspiracy (or silent agreement) including nearly all health professionals to not report adverse vaccination reactions?

          • No2much
            No2much says:

            I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I am saying it is under-reported. Unless I file a lawsuit, how do they count the adverse reactions? But make no mistake, when your child has heavy metal poisoning–possibly due to the inability in some people to detox mercury/thimerisol–not all kids will–the state does the testing here without you even knowing. They know the numbers are out the roof (sometimes 100 times higher) with kids diagnosed with autism. Now tell me wth they are not forthcoming with that information.
            And yes, I find it very difficult to find a doctor willing to prescribe against the AMA guidelines for my two kids that are high risk. And my father in law is a doctor. My two best friends are also physician’s wives and their husbands do not immunize their kids/or won’t until they are older. They have seen varying responses to vaccines and aren’t risking it on their kids.

          • Gretchen
            Gretchen says:

            You ask unless you file a lawsuit, how do they count the adverse reactions…there is a law that requires health care professionals to report them. The questions many anti-vax people ask reflect more of their lack of any knowledge about the world than anything else. But go ahead and believe that there’s some big conspiracy. If anything, I’d be suspicious of human incompetence and people forgetting to report things or doing it wrong than any kind of conspiracy.

          • Amy A
            Amy A says:


            Regarding CPS, have you heard of Robert (Bob) Powell and Nancy Schaefer?

            I really feel for you and what you’ve been going through.

            P.S. I thought it was common knowledge vaccine reactions are under reported. Huh.

          • redrock
            redrock says:

            it seems to me that you do not have to rely on your doctor or nurse to report:
            It looks very much like everybody can report and it leads probably to significant over- rather then underreporting. Everybody who has any change in health in the few weeks after a vaccine will report independent of a causal relation to the vaccine. Which is ok since at the time causation might not be clear.

    • Gretchen
      Gretchen says:

      “…the first reason to vaccinate is so your kid does not get sick with measles, polio, rubella or whopping cough or maybe diphtheria…”

      yes, this…I even got the hep b for my infant…yes, infants don’t have sex, blah blah blah…but I am and was a citizen of the world and went out and about with the baby…what if some weirdo stabbed her with something infected on the train or something…aside from that crazy, unlikely scenario, those other diseases are more real…and this is coming from a home birthing mom who breastfeed for 30 months…

      • Cate
        Cate says:

        Thank you, Gretchen! I too vaccinated my kids and frankly think it is too risky NOT to vaccinate. I understand the gov’t conspiracy theories (history tends to be on your side) but history is also on our side, the vaccinating side. I think parents who refuse to vaccinate should be fully educated on how children used to suffer from the particular diseases prior to vaccination. Some died.
        In Spain, an unvaccinnated child recently died from a preventable disease.

  11. marta
    marta says:

    This discussion is very interesting and, like others variously connected with education, a good indicator of the cultural and mental mindset of the US vs Europe (or the world, I’d say).

    Whereas the common good dominates the reasoning behind vaccines in the vast majority of countries, individual rights seem to take the upper hand when deciding whether to impose vaccines or not in the US.

    That said, I wonder what will happen to these multitudes (from your data) of privileged, unschooled, un-vaxed American children from entrepreneurial, artistic, alternative families when they travel the world in their multiple adventures and experiences and encounter cultures where polio or the whooping cough or mumps or whatever are still not eradicated. And how their counterparts (un-vaxed, segregated from the poor) who did not travel will react when the infected kids return to sunny California… Or any such scenario.

    One’s individual rights end exactly where another’s individual rights begin. But in certain cultures of the US, this is not so. The right to be protected from a killer disease is weaker than the right to not be vaccinated against a killer disease.

      • Caroline
        Caroline says:

        A percentage of children will suffer severe injuries from vaccines. The reasoning above reminds me of the pagan mother who throws her baby off the cliff or into the fire because society says it’s good for everybody. I’m not against vaccinating, but elevating to first priority the common good argument is scary because it has a social bullying element and turns a blind eye to conflicts of interest, corporate greed, dysfunctions in health-related governing bodies, and errors (contamination, for example) in the products. What do you do when one brand of Rotavirus is contaminated with viral pig DNA? Okay, you listen to whomever is in authority saying to give your baby the other brand. Done. Your five month old drinks the dosage. Then a few days later you learn that the second brand was also contaminated.

    • Verdanablack
      Verdanablack says:

      Maybe you should ask them since, you know, that’s what they do. They live their lives out in the real world and many of them are globe trotters.

    • Amy A
      Amy A says:

      So bringing us back to the U.S., if your kids are vaccinated, and Johnny’s aren’t, the one who should be concerned about getting the diseases is Johnny and family. Your family is good-to-go with disease control.

      Therefore, what are vaccinated families worried about?

      • redrock
        redrock says:

        unless they are politicians the vaccinated families are indeed not worried, unless they have a kid with a medical issue who cannot be vaccinated. The vast majority of the discussion is carried by those who do not vaccinate (and the silent group who don’t vaccinate due to inattention or lack of medical insurance) – it will be self-selecting at some point and all the poor kids with mandatory vaccinations will be happily playing along, and rich kids without vaccinations will be sequestered and scared to get measles, or rich pregnant young women will once again be afraid of getting rubella which has a considerable potential to cause birth defects in the child.

        • liz, mom of 5 under 10
          liz, mom of 5 under 10 says:

          Yes this…..and don’t forget newborn who don’t get immunized a certain age.As my youngest approached the 1 year mark I feel I can breathe a sigh of relief as he is exposed to whatever he is exposed to at get togethers,church,holidays,parks etc. Also my oldest son cannot be vaccinated against influenza. He is 9 so I am less and less worried the older he gets, but we live in Michigan where we have been hit very hard by flu. I know as my husband is an ER Dr and adamant we DO vaccinate and I am an RN who waivers on certain vaccines. So yes….my infant has the right to be protected until its time for immunizations, but as of now others have the choice to vaccinate or not.. in our homeschool community at least. So we vaccinate , but I still worry about my new borns(we adopt so they are not receiving breast milk) and my 9 year old son during influenza season.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      Peter Theil has an interesting take on the Europe vs. American mindset. He attributes a lot of his success to being brought up in America, although to German parents.

      In the way the world is becoming more heavily weighted on individual survival and know-h, it does bring in to question how the European mindset will last beyond another 20 years as a practical way to advance in life.

      Its the age old battle of community responsibilities vs. Individual. As my husband’s boss stated to their german clients recently upon anmouncing his first holiday in 5 years, “European’s are more civilized.” Which while it may be true in a non urgent sense, America is built on urgency.

      My mother in law balks at non relience on a public school system, she also balks at my recent 1000k medical bill for when my son fell. It’s just a completely different system there with different foundations and priorities. I actually think right now in time going to Europe as an American has a lot of opportunity since the system doesnt seem sustainable in the long run. Look at whats happening on a very basic level with companies like Uber, over there.
      Adaptation and change is survival.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:


        Does your MIL live in Europe? It is definitely a different mindset over there.

        • jessica
          jessica says:

          Yes, she does. It’s been this longstanding frustration between us, but what can you do? :)

      • redrock
        redrock says:

        There are good things going on on either side of the big pond (a.k.a. Atlantic). Strangely despite holidays – and mind you that not everybody actually takes that much holidays – the productivity in many european countries is higher or comparable to the productivity in the U.S. This does not seem to indicate a failing continent (also, Europe is very inhomogeneous, and what happens in Sweden is very different from, let’s say Portugal or Poland or the UK).

  12. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    Vaccines became an educational issue when paranoid fusspots were allowed to prevent other people’s children from attending school through refusing to contribute to the herd immunity that helps keep children with compromised immune systems safe. Just ask Rhett Krawitt.

    Parents have great latitude in the upbringing of their children. They’re allowed to make truly crappy medical decisions on their children’s behalf. But parents shouldn’t be allowed to make those decisions for other people’s children.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      What happened was that foreign visitors who had contracted measles and were contagious visited Disneyland while they were here in LA, a place where thousands of people visit on a daily basis.

      From there, measles was spread to unvaccinated Disneyland patrons and workers who then spread it to other unvaccinated people, including infants who were not old enough to receive the MMR shot at daycare, as well as unvaccinated children in public school being exposed to it. Children and adults who had their vaccines did not get measles, even though the vaccine only gives a 94-99% immunity rate.

      This meant quarantine for those who were exposed to it. I’m sure that meant loss of wages and education.

      People got sick but no one died from measles during this outbreak. Yet, the outbreak coupled with multiple media articles highlighting the low vax rates in certain areas empowered the CA politicians to “do something”. So, their solution was to force every child who isn’t getting vax’d (because one can no longer receive a personal belief exemption) to no longer receive the education that they are promised and instead must homeschool if they want to remain unvaxxed.

      I choose not to make my parenting decisions from a position of fear and conspiracy theory. This law is based in fear and I just think it is wrong. There are some outs, which I think that more people will get IEP’s for their children to include no-vaccines in the report.

  13. Amy A
    Amy A says:

    I know of a baby / toddler (coworker’s grandkid) in the hospital right now hooked up to all sorts of IVs for chemo and whatever else. Liver failure. I looked up the current vax schedule for his age. Holy sh*t. An insane amount of shots. One being hep b. I found a court case pertaining to hep b and liver failure in a young child.

    These are the kinds of things that are considered in choosing to vax: odds of getting one of the diseases to odds of severe reactions to any of the multitude of injections–including tiny bodies’ ability to handle all the foreign substances injected into him/her spaced closely together (not much recovery time).

    Additionally, we are trusting that we are accurately-informed as to what exactly is in those viles. Are we really that trusting of big pharm? The government? Do we really believe we are being told the truth?

    These are the reasons why every family must decide for themselves and take full responsibility for their choices. Regarding vaccinations and other health decisions, education and so on.

    When these freedoms taken away, a lot more will follow.

  14. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    I just think it’s funny people think non vaxxed people are dangerous. I never have had a shot growing up, nor did my brothers or sisters, or cousins. No epidemic of measles lol. And also, I’m not quite sure vaccines are what caused these diseases to go away. I think it has more to do with hygiene and sanitary sewage and water system. If you would look at the data, most deaths were already almost eradicated from these diseases BEFORE the introduction of the vaccines.

    • liz mom of 5 under 10
      liz mom of 5 under 10 says:

      It’s not that they are necessarily they are “dangerous”, but when you have had infants on breathing treatments and otherwise compromised it is scary during say whooping cough season if you have a 6 week old and a ton of people around you are not vaccinated. You end up quarantining yourself to protect the baby. Also my son who cannot have the flu vaccine…we don’t put ourselves in heavily populated situations during that time. Peak time I mean.
      We do vaccinate, but i surely can’t imagine sending my kids to say public school with a bunch of non vax kids

    • ScientistMom
      ScientistMom says:

      Sorry, but you’re just plain wrong. Talk to any nurse who has worked in a pediatric ward in the past few years. They will tell you about the six kids from the same family all in the ICU with pertussis. Whooping cough has come raging back in hospitals ever since the anti-vax movement started gaining ground.

      Twenty years after the polio vaccine came out the U.S. was polio-free. There was no dramatic change in sanitation in the U.S. between the late 50s and late 70s. The difference was 100% the vaccine. As a child I and every child I knew got chicken pox. I also had the measles. None of my children have had either, nor have any of their friends. And again, the level of sanitation I lived in didn’t change in any meaningful way between then and now. The difference was that my kids had a vaccine for chicken pox and I didn’t.

      But I guess it’s these sorts of flimsy, non-scientific straws that you have to grasp to try and justify the superstitious belief that vaccines have no benefit and are magically responsible for everything that ever goes wrong for children medically. I’d be perfectly happy for you to cling to your First Amendment right to hold whatever magical beliefs you liked if you weren’t making your family a potential disease vector and thereby endangering the rest of us. And that’s where your First Amendment rights end.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        Our family is vaccinated against most diseases, but we did alter the schedule slightly which our ped was fine with.

        But I still don’t think it is ok to deny any child their *right* to a free public education because of their parents fears, distrust, anecdotal evidence, or legitimate medical issues regarding non-vaxing.

        Are you ok with children in CA being stripped of their education rights over this? These are the same parents who will be providing the home education now.

        • Bostonian
          Bostonian says:

          When I was a kid we got vaccinated at school.

          That’s a great way not to deny any child their *right* to a free public education because of their parents fears, distrust, anecdotal evidence, or legitimate medical issues regarding non-vaxing.

          • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
            YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

            It will be interesting for me to see how many more people end up homeschooling/independent study now and in the future when the law actually goes into effect. Based on the number of friends contacting me I think our ranks will grow even larger. CA already has the most homeschoolers in the country and like I have said before, it is extremely easy to homeschool here.

      • Loco
        Loco says:

        That is a lot of insults and anger directed to a stranger who has done nothing to you.

        In my ignorance, I think that talking to people, who live by their own convictions, like they are evil murderers is not doing your cause much good.

        I am sure, however, it is incredible to know as much as you do and to have no doubt that you are not wrong (and that you have not been taught any incorrect information) about everything science. And to be so damn positive that you are right that you have no need to explore or consider any other possibilities–not even hearing from parents whose personal experiences prove something other than what you know. And to be SO sure about yourself that you would rip away the rights from all of us, vaccinated or otherwise. Good god. That IS pretty magical.

  15. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Funny, I always thought vaccines *were* an education issue. Probably because all my scientist friends and family make sure to keep up with their (and their kids) immunizations and they are some of the most educated people I know. More degrees than a thermometer, and all that.

    It’s true that some wealthy parts of California don’t vaccinate their kids, but vaccination rates are pretty darn high in Silicon Valley.

    My kid sister goes to public school with a bunch of Google offspring and her school’s rate of vaccination is ~95%. Another public school in Stanford has a rate of ~99%.

  16. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    There’s one more component that is at play in California: immigration. Lawmakers are using education to control not just poor people, but immigrants in particular.

    Something similar is happening in the Twin Cities where I live with rental housing: the cities have greatly increased their licensing and annual fire inspection requirements in the last few years as more and more of the low-end housing is occupied by immigrants and refugees.

    • Amy K.
      Amy K. says:

      Schools in CA with high numbers of immigrants and children of immigrants have very high rates of vaccination. The clusters of vaccine resistors are white, affluent and suburban. If you look at the top 100 highest Personal Belief Exemption schools, very few are traditional public schools. It’s waldorfs (private and charter), a few Christian schools, independent study charter schools (I.e. Homeschoolers), etc.

      I still think there are plenty of workarounds. Look for a lot of charters and Waldorf schools to reconfigure as “learning centers” for homeschoolers.

  17. Kimberly Rotter
    Kimberly Rotter says:

    It makes me so sad to see such heated anti-vax conversation. We are all lucky vaccines were invented. If you haven’t met someone affected by polio or some other disease now mostly eradicated by vaccines, go and find one. Ask if they wished there were a vaccine for them. Do you think they were somehow responsible for catching the illnesses? Did they become afflicted because they were unhealthy? (If I only had a nickle for every anti–vaxer who says “We don’t need vaccines. We don’t get sick.”) These devastating conditions killed and maimed. I, for one, am grateful that as a society we found a solution. And I am not willing to support the movement that brings them back to our communities.
    I am a home schooler. I was a long time breastfeeder. I am pro choice. I am not a supporter of big brother or big government or whatever you want to call it. This just makes sense. Why give a family the right to expose the people around them to a dangerous vulnerability that we KNOW how to eliminate?

    • Bostonian
      Bostonian says:

      Kimberly, I think of anti-vax hysteria as a kind of social auto-immune disorder. The hygiene hypothesis links the recent rise in allergies and other auto-immune problems with a lack of challenge to the immune system. The immune system in a too-clean environment has nothing worthwhile to defend against, so it finds something like peanuts to go nuts about. As you point out, people who actually see or experience the effect of once-common childhood diseases aren’t so cavalier about vaccines. I knew more than one person with a “polio leg” growing up.

  18. ScientistMom
    ScientistMom says:

    As someone who formerly worked in the biotech patent field I don’t understand all the talk about the push for vaccines being profit driven. Except for possibly the newest vaccines (like HPV) the vast majority of the recommended vaccines have to be off-patent by now. Which means that anyone can make them, and like any generic, they can’t charge a whole lot. Trying to make a big profit on vaccines is like trying to make a big profit on aspirin. It just doesn’t work that way.

    On the other hand, now that the government is in the business of providing healthcare to everyone, the government probably does have an interest in stopping costly outbreaks of serious and preventable diseases. And I’m betting the potential economic hit to Disneyland and tourism also played a big role.

    • marta
      marta says:

      Exactly, ScientistMom and Bostonian.

      In my country all vaccines that are on the local NHS-like plan are free. These include the HPV for 13 yo girls and Prevenar (against a certain type of meningitis) for 1 or 2 yo. No vaccine is mandatory but coverage is about 98-99%.

      We’ve had no outbreaks of measles or whooping cough in the recent past (as the US or the UK have had because of the growing anti-vax movement) but most of us grew up knowing of someone with a polio leg, someone’s great grandparent who died with TB, someone’s cousin who got infertile after getting mumps as a teenager, etc…

      Bostonian, I loved your social auto-immune disorder analogy.
      Some people seem to believe living in the global economy means having a fast internet connection and hopping on and off various tecchy jobs around the silicon valleys of the world.
      Others believe it means living side by side, intertwined and interdependent on anyone from anywhere, regardless of social, ethnic, educational or finantial background.

      These are the people who vaccinate.

      • jessica
        jessica says:


        Europe cannot charge their citizens the same way we are charged in the US, due to extremely heavy government regulation of the price of drugs (that come mainly from the US). This all may be changing, though, as US corporations are developing/ attaining heavy stakes in various EU NHS programs through privatization.

        **Some people seem to believe living in the global economy means having a fast internet connection and hopping on and off various tecchy jobs around the silicon valleys of the world.
        Others believe it means living side by side, intertwined and interdependent on anyone from anywhere, regardless of social, ethnic, educational or finantial background.

        These are the people who vaccinate.**

        That is not an accurate I/Or Me/Them summation of the beliefs of the anti-vax movement, nor the Globalization movement. I can’t help but point this out. Your lifestyle may cause you to need to believe in this mantra *we are all connected and therefor must sacrifice our own personal beliefs and knowledge for the greater good*. I understand that is the prevailing mantra in Europe. This is what keeps everyone in a dependent system (not interdependent). The class system still greatly exists in Europe, whether it is paraded around or not. I’ve been on both sides of the fence in Europe. I’ve seen how both sides operate. They function vastly differently.

        The greater good is empowering people to make informed choices for their lives while not hindering their personal freedoms, whether we agree with them or not.

        As pointed out above, laws and mandates such as the recent California immunization requirement mainly affect the poorer class.

        • redrock
          redrock says:

          I was curious about your statement “…regulation of the price of drugs (that come mainly from the US).” – and checked out the list of 12 largest pharmaceutical companies on wikipedia. Top positions Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer in the US, followed by companies in Switzerland (ROche, Novartis) UK, France, UK, US, US, Germany…- with the European companies on par with the US companies. I don’t think this is commensurate with the US companies controlling the market in all pharmaceutical drugs. Sure, this might change in the future…

          I am also curious about your remark with respect to “class system alive” in Europe – isn’t one of the signatures of a class system the income differential between rich and poor, and the ability to “move up” in the world? This assumption can certainly be disputed but in country-by-country comparison of these markers the US ranks not as high as you might want to think. Indeed it often ends up behind some northern european countries, and I did not check about asia and africa which would be really interesting. Having said this, you are certainly right that life and priorities differ between countries in Europe, and the US – which is part of the fun in living in different places.

          • jessica
            jessica says:

            Hi Redrock, yes there are key differences and I do find it incredibly interesting to dig deep into the core issues. The upward mobility, right now, is harder in the U.S. due to the lack of support networks (safety nets and security) for the middle and poorer classes. That said, these same support networks across the EU give an equal quality of living for those with low incomes up to about 200k incomes, with a bit of variation between due to the massive redistribution of income. I argue that this model with the rising gap in ultra wealthy and poor is not sustainable by maintaining the status quo. Keeping expectations and dependency on a dated shared system with the idea that everyone is meant to or has opportunity to move on up in class is a lie. It worked yesterday, won’t work tomorrow. It just won’t happen without a complete overhaul of mindset.’ What got you here…’

            I looked into the Pharma Stats. U.S. Pharma owns the worldwide market at 54.6 B per year, other EU companies account for 23. 3 B.

  19. marta
    marta says:


    You point out interesting issues. I think part of the EU crisis right now is the unstainability of its past and current social security and health systems. However, going down the path of the US system is not going to save us from inequality and serious disadvantage, so I guess there should be a reform, not an overthrow, of the welfare system, of which the free-for-all-vaccines are a part.

    This, however, does not mean the mindset in Europe is orwellian unanimous. People are informed and some vaccines, in lots of European countries, are not mandatory (they are not in Portugal). People tend to trust the scientific boards behind the public institutions that draw the public health plans and to trust their own doctors. (For example, during the H1N1 epidemic, the vaccination rate was very low, despite the fact there was huge hysteria in the media and some at-risk groups could have the vaccine for free. People just didn’t think the threat was so big. Which, in the end, it really wasn’t ). Also, because of geographical and historical reasons, people do travel a lot between countries and between EU and Africa, for example. The risk, knowledge and memory of killer diseases that are preventable through vaccines is very acute, so people make the informed choice of vaccinating.

    I was wondering what the community of non-vaxers has to say about Jeovah Witnesses parents who refuse life-saving blood transfusions for their kids. Is it right to let your personal freedom as an adult interfere with the basic right of the child to be kept alive?

  20. John
    John says:

    You had vaccines and grew up to be smarter than the physicans and healthcare professionals recommending them. Why such unbridled paranoia about vaccines? The growing rate of autism cases is too high to be explained away by the toxic vaccine myth. I think the anti vaccine movement is actually proving this.

    Is this a vanity thing where vaccine denial makes you feel your children are special snowflake rich kids?

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