Bend Physicians Address the School Board on Vaccines

 

A group of 45  doctors and nurse practitioners from Bend, OR, submitted the following letter to the Bend-La Pine School Board, showing their support for elimination of non-medical exemptions for vaccines:

 

April 9, 2019

Bend-La Pine School Board

Andy High, Chair

520 NW Wall St.

Bend, OR 97703

 

RE: Support for elimination of non-medical exemptions for vaccines (House Bill 3063)

To Chair High and members of the Bend-La Pine School Board:

HB 3063 is an important bill which, if passed, will be a critical step in protecting not only the most vulnerable populations in Deschutes County, but all of us, from vaccine-preventable diseases.  HB 3063 supports the elimination of the personal and philosophical vaccine exemption for public schools and daycare centers.  Rep Helt has sponsored this bill in support of protecting the entire population; infants, children, adults, elderly and immunocompromised individuals in our county and state.

Central Oregon medical providers support this bill, because we practice and support evidence- based medicine.   So many of the families that we serve are impacted by dangerous misinformation, alternative facts, and unscientific discourse surrounding childhood immunizations.  Vaccine safety is one of the most well researched and well understood fields in medicine.  There are measured chances of risks involved with most of the interventions in medicine…antibiotics, minor procedures, vitamins…and vaccines are not without those measured risks.  However, the risks to an individual and to a population by vaccine-preventable illness are many, many times greater than the risks that vaccines pose.  Opponents of this bill will spout statistics from the vaccine adverse event reporting system as well as studies of very low-quality evidence that are scientifically and statistically unsound.  The VAERS is full of completely unverified reports of adverse events.  Anyone can enter a report in the VAERS and can claim to have experienced any adverse event, including at least one report in the system that claims that vaccines turned their child into a green skinned hulk.

As pediatricians, emergency room physicians, family practice physicians, and nurse practitioners, we base our opinions and the advice that we give our patients off of high-quality evidence that is scientifically and statistically sound.  We do not base our medical opinions off of anecdotes, google searches and certainly not off of articles that we read on social media.  We, as a group, strive to inform patients and their families of the evidence supporting vaccine safety.  Allowing each patients pursuit of liberty and freedom is always a goal but does not detract from the important quest to inform every individual of the difference between scientific evidence and internet misinformation.  Our hope is to allow families the chance at true informed consent, to make decisions for their child based on more than articles found in their Facebook feed.  Parents who oppose vaccination are good people who are fervently trying to protect their children but are unfortunately doing so based on fictional information that has been debunked over and over again by real scientists.

Prevention of outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases that cause significant morbidity and mortality is dependent on herd immunity.  Many Deschutes County schools and childcare centers are below herd immunity levels and many teeter dangerously close to this line.  Each unvaccinated child at a school or daycare center puts every child around them at risk.  HB 3063 is a bill that will allow children to attend school without fear of disease being spread by an ill-informed minority.

We are proud that a congresswoman from Bend is sponsoring a bill that will lead the way to a safer, healthier city and state.  Health care providers are better able to do their jobs and serve their populations when lawmakers support smart public health policy.  Governmental agencies have the duty and privilege of protecting their constituents.  There are many instances where government and personal liberties collide.  For example, no one is allowed to drive on publicly funded roads until they have proven that they are safe to do so by taking a driver’s license test.  If you are not safe to drive on the roads, the government doesn’t allow you to use them.  There is no reason schools shouldn’t be held to this same standard.  It is more than reasonable to expect that students using this publicly-funded benefit should not be a danger to all of those around them.  Without herd immunity, every unvaccinated person poses a significant risk of danger to the rest.

Please know that we support this bill and have no concerns that there will be negative consequences for Bend La Pine school district.  Our entire community will see improved vaccination rates, just as California communities did.  This will have positive effects for your attendance, but most importantly, will have positive health effects for all children in Central Oregon.

 

Sincerely,

Over 40 Central Oregon Medical Providers

 

Signed/Endorsed by:

Suzanne Mendez, MD

Caroline Gutmann, MD

Christa Schulz, MD

Rebecca Hicks, MD

Brenda Hedges, MD

Kristopher Cox, PA-C

Kathleen Broadman, MD

Jen Lachman, MD

Leslie Rust, MD

Abby Hendricks, MD

Carissa Honeycutt, NP

Nancy Heavlin, MD

Ellie Millan, NP

Erin Garza, MD

Marla Kosdyar, MD

William Reed, MD

John Peoples, MD

Dana Perryman, MD

Mary Rogers, MD

Jeff Meyrowitz, MD

Dana Angelos, MD

Fran McCabe, MD

Gillian Salton, MD

Dale Svendsen, MD

Diklah Orevi, PA

Ryan Petersen, MD

Katie Richards, MD

Helenka Marcinek, MD

Alison Jones, NP

Clara Lampi, MD

Brenna Lewis, MD

Joeth Ryan, PA

Robert Pfister, MD

John Chunn, MD

Jeff Meyrowitz, MD

Torree McGowan, MD

Carla Grinuck-Wood, NP

Jennifer Schroeder, MD

Brooks Booker, MD

Cornelius Peoples, MD

Jenni Neahring, MD

Jules Moratti-Greene, NP

Logan Clausen, MD

Michelle Mills, MD

Oregon Pediatric Society

9155 SW Barnes Rd, Suite 933
Portland, OR 97225

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