Discussion of Personal Belief Vaccine Exemption
Conference call hosted by Every Child By Two
Overview of Discussion:
Amy Pisani, executive director of Every Child By Two, hosted the discussion and reiterated the imperativeness of the exemption legislation issues many states are currently facing throughout the country.
Dr. Richard Pan (D-CA), a California-based pediatrician and member of the state’s legislature, discussed bill AB2109, which would require parents in California to seek signoff from their health care provider prior to receiving a personal belief exemption that proves they are aware the risks associated with foregoing immunizations. Dr. Pan also noted that as a pediatrician, he has noticed parental fear surrounding vaccines and how difficult it has been as a health care provider to highlight their effectiveness and importance for public health, given that many parents have never encountered vaccine-preventable disease in their lifetime. He also reiterated that those who argue for “parental rights” in regards to a tightened personal belief exemption need to understand that those rights end with a parents’ own child. Parents who choose not to vaccinate, however, are not only making choices for their own children, but for other people and children to which vaccine preventable disease may spread.
Dr. Paul Offit, chief infectious disease specialist of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, broadened the discussion and provided a general assessment on the varied types of exemptions and the harm that they cause. Dr. Offit noted how the “personal” belief exemption is an ill-suited title, given that the study and use of immunizations is an evidence-based system, not a personal belief-based system. He noted the myriad of studies that have been conducted in the past that label vaccines as safe and effective for use.
The call concluded with a robust Q&A discussion with participation from the wide variety of bloggers and members of the media who dialed in, including Russell Saunders (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), Liz Ditz (I Speak Dreams & The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism) and Stephanie Innes (Arizona Daily Star).
For more information about the conference call explore the links below:
1) “Once more into the breach: AB 2109” The League of Ordinary Gentlemen Blog (July 25, 2012) – “Last night I was privileged to participate in a conference call about a piece of legislation moving its way through the California state senate, AB 2109. What made it a particular privilege was having the chance to speak with both Dr. Richard Pan, a California pediatrician, state assemblymember and the author of the bill, and also Dr. Paul Offit, who has done as much as anyone in recent history to promote vaccination for all appropriate children.”
2) “Vaccine Exemptions: Conference Call with Richard Pan MD and Paul Offit MD --Pt 1” I Speak of Dreams Blog (July 24, 2012) – “This afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of being on a conference call with Richard Pan MD (who is also a California state representative) and with Paul Offit MD, who is perhaps the US's leading advocate for vaccine safety and efficacy. The call focused on vaccine exemption issues. What follows is not a word-for-word transcription (that will be posted at Shot of Prevention) but the gist of Dr. Pan's and Dr Offit's comments. Part 1 will focus on Dr. Pan; Part 2 will be Dr. Offit's remarks… I hope AB2109 passes… There is absolutely no good reason that almost all children should not be vaccinated. If this law protects more children from preventable disease, then I’m all for it.”