Last month, the California Senate passed SB 277, a bill that got rid of exemptions for "personal and religious beliefs" from the state's mandate that all children be vaccinated before they can attend school. The bill is still awaiting a vote in the full State Assembly, and gosh darn it, Kristin Olsen, the State Assembly GOP Leader, is worried that California is rushing into passing this bill without thinking things through. In a radio interview last week, Olsen explained that there's no need to go requiring vaccines just because a bunch of unvaccinated kids led to one teeny-tiny multi-state measles outbreak:


I think this is an example of people overreacting to incidences, right, and so at Disneyland earlier this year when we had the measles outbreak -- and that was of concern -- I think this was an overreaction to that situation. 125 people got sick, that wasn't a good thing, but there's also nothing to demonstrate that this new bill would have done anything to avoid that outbreak then.

And she's absolutely right, in a totally insane way: A bill requiring vaccinations for all school kids starting right away would not have prevented the Disneyland measles outbreak IN JANUARY, because it's fifteen or twenty years too late. Now, there is the possibility that Olsen is referring to the CDC's belief that the initial vector of measles at Disneyland was a person who was infected overseas, but that really isn't the point: an MIT study found that low vaccination rates -- the result of parents opting out of vaccinating their kids -- are precisely what caused the outbreak to spread so rapidly to seven states, Mexico, and Canada. So sure, this bill wouldn't have kept the first person from getting sick. It just would have prevented most of the other cases.

Olsen continued her derpfest, explaining, "We need to make sure ... that we're making decisions based on logic and sound data, not based on emotional reactions to one-time incidents."

And golly, maybe the Disneyland outbreak was just a single incident. Thing is, it's also not an isolated one -- it was preceded by a record year for measles outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which notes that the "U.S. experienced 23 measles outbreaks in 2014, including one large outbreak of 383 cases, occurring primarily among unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio." Then again, each of those 23 outbreaks was also a one-time incident, as incidents tend to be.

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Incidentally, if you want some logic and sound data, you might look at the CDC's own reporting on the Disneyland outbreak, which found that the majority of those who got sick were definitely un- or under-vaccinated:

Among the 110 California patients, 49 (45%) were unvaccinated; five (5%) had 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine, seven (6%) had 2 doses, one (1%) had 3 doses.

Further, the CDC was simply unable to determine the vaccination status of another 47 (43%) of those who got sick. Of the people who were definitely unvaccinated, 12 were infants who were too young to be vaccinated, and 28 were deliberately not vaccinated because their parents had opted out. Yr Wonket is a blogger, not a scientist, so we're willing to guess that a similar number of the "unknown status" patients were likewise the beneficiaries of their parents' opting out.

And then there's this finding from another CDC paper:

Exemptions from mandated immunizations have been shown to increase risk for acquiring disease as well as increasing the risk of a disease outbreak at the community level. Exemption rates are higher in jurisdictions where exemption requirements are procedurally easier to meet.

That there is logic and sound data, Rep. Olsen. We hope you'll understand if we get a teensy bit emotional over your idiotic refusal to pay attention to it.

[ThinkProgress / U.S. Centers For Disease Control]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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