A panel of doctors had very little patience for a Fox News host's "hurr-durr, LIBERTY" argument Wednesday, rejecting the notion that people should be allowed to opt out of vaccinating their kids simply because they don't want Big Government pushing them around. On "Happening Now" (which is not a revival of the beloved '80s sitcom "What's Happenin' Now"), host Jenna Lee discussed the current measles outbreak in California, which started at Disneyland and has since led to unvaccinated students being told to stay home from an Orange County high school. And then she unleashed Fox News Worship Words -- PERSONAL LIBERTY -- and even invoked the specter of federal regulation:


There is a question ... about personal liberty and having the choice to make the choices for your children, and also what's good for the community, if your child is going to public parks and public schools, and I'm wondering...because states have different regulations for giving parents waivers, should there be a federal regulation for parents, to say that if your kid is in public areas, they have to have certain vaccinations, because of the return of certain diseases like measles?

The doctors mostly focused on the medical evidence, for some strange reason. Maybe because they are doctors? Dr. Manny Alvarez said that "vaccines have prevented millions of children around the planet from dying" and noted that "for parents not to vaccinate their children is basically putting their children at risk for something major happening." He did speculate that if many communities started opting out of vaccinations because of "some weird belief -- and I say 'weird' because it is weird to me that they're not going to protect their children, then maybe we need a federal mandate."

Dr. Darria Lon Gillespie noted that since measles is so dangerous and contagious, "this goes from just being a personal decision to really a public hazard if you're not vaccinating your child."

Dr Frank Esper noted that smallpox vaccinations used to be federally mandated, and that while the law has evolved to let states determine which vaccines are required, it may be necessary, in the light of recent outbreaks of whooping cough and measles, then "we will need something from the top down to make sure that everyone stays vaccinated," although the best approach of course is to educate people about the value of vaccines.

Lee asked how parents would know whether other children at their kids' schools were vaccinated or not, and Dr. Alvarez said that due to privacy laws, it was impossible to know. We'd have thought the better answer is that for kids to attend school, they must be vaccinated, although that still would leave some kids showing up because their parents got a no-vaccine waiver. Even so, during a measles outbreak, the kids who aren't vaccinated would be easily spotted.

Astonishingly, Fox didn't present a single voice calling for parents to resist vaccination efforts at gunpoint, nor did they include "Dr. Bob" -- the quack who says it's OK to skip vaccinating your kids if it makes you feel better, even though vaccinations are probably a good idea, but hey, let the other parents worry about that. [contextly_sidebar id="sGHAr9OeUlsANWiekKtPz5JwBQG6Mzfi"]

We suppose that's something they'll hold for Hannity to cover in primetime.

[TPM]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. Every time he writes about this topic he gets itchy.

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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