If States Don’t Rein In Vaccination Exemptions, It Will Force The Federal Government’s Hand, FDA Chief Warns
"Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they're creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said. Gottlieb, however, was vague on what that would actually look like. Meanwhile, the growing measles outbreak casts a spotlight on the recent rise in religious exemptions. And groups try to sway minds by taking a parent-to-parent approach.
FDA Chief: Federal Government Might Step In If States Don't Change Lax Vaccine Laws
The head of the US Food and Drug Administration says that if states don't require more schoolchildren to get vaccinated, the federal government might have to step in. Nearly all states allow children to attend school even if their parents opt out of vaccines. These vaccine exemptions are especially popular in Washington state, where a measles outbreak started last month that has now sickened at least 67 people in four states. And New York has been working to contain its largest outbreak in decades, which began in October and has sickened more than 200 people. (Cohen and Bonifield, 2/20)
The Washington Post:
Some Anti-Vaccination Parents Cite Religious Exemptions. Measles Outbreaks Could Change That.
Recent measles outbreaks in states such as Washington, New York and New Jersey have cast a spotlight on a group of Americans who receive exemptions from immunizing their children on the grounds that the vaccines violate their religious freedoms. Now the states that suffered outbreaks are taking aim at those exemptions. In recent weeks, lawmakers in the New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Maine and Vermont state legislatures have proposed eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines. A Washington state representative has proposed tightening the state’s religious exemption while eliminating a separate law that allows for a personal or philosophical exemption from immunization. (Pulliam Bailey, 2/21)
Vaccine Discussions May Be Most Helpful During Early Pregnancy
In 2017, Kim Nelson had just moved her family back to her hometown in South Carolina. Boxes were still scattered around the apartment, and while her two young daughters played, Nelson scrolled through a newspaper article on her phone. It said religious exemptions for vaccines had jumped nearly 70 percent in recent years in the Greenville area — the part of the state she had just moved to. She remembers yelling to her husband in the other room, "David, you have to get in here! I can't believe this." (Olgin, 2/20)
Vancouver-Area Measles Outbreak Grows To 68
Another Vancouver-area child was diagnosed with measles Wednesday. That brings the total number of local measles cases to 68. ... There is also one person suspected of having measles, but bloodwork has not yet confirmed the diagnosis. The vast majority of the cases are in Clark County, but the outbreak has spread to four people in Oregon and one in the Seattle area. (Harbarger, 2/20)
Facebook's Controversies Now Extend To Health And Medicine Issues
The Facebook controversies have come to the world of health and medicine. After last year’s scandals involving Cambridge Analytica and Russian trolls, this time the controversies concern anti-vaccine information and health privacy. It all started last week when journalists reported that Facebook allows advertisers to target users who have demonstrated interest in anti-vaccine information — and that anti-vaccine ads promoted on the site have been viewed millions of times. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California also sent a letter to the company urging it to stem the flow of vaccine misinformation. (Robbins, 2/20)