ClearCast Episode 6: Does Nevada Need a Tough Vaccination Law Like California?

{Editor’s note} Welcome to Today’s ClearCast!

We appreciate you stopping by on your busy day. The feedback from our past episodes has been great; thank you so much for taking the time to write and share your opinions!

We will continue to try to contribute the best we can to the ongoing discussions of Nevada public policy.

Today, we take on the laws pertaining to vaccination of your kids.

A little background..

Last year, Gov. Brown1)Yes, the same one! of California signed into law one of the toughest vaccination requirements in the nation by removing the previous exemption for religious/personal beliefs.2)It seems from afar that the measles outbreak in 2015 freaked out everyone

There are still many parents in Southern California that do not want to comply with the new law, one of the few doctors catering still to these folks is Dr. Sears.

Unfortunately for “Dr. Bob,” he is now at risk of having his medical license revoked. At issue3)not the only issue is his willingness to write doctor’s notes for parents to excuse them from vaccines. (Read the full complaint here).

As Nevadans, we are very concerned about any serious disease outbreak in SoCal, given how many folks travel between destinations.

More important for Nevadans though, we need to consider if Nevada needs to adopt the tough, new California law that does not permit exemptions for vaccines..

Thanks for watching; all the best.

-Brian

{End note}

Should Nevada Adopt California’s Tough Vaccination Law?

Transcript:

Jordan Flake: Welcome to Clearcast. I’m Attorney Jordan Flake, and I’m here with Attorney Taylor Waite, and we today, in our continued effort to steer clear of anything that’s the least bit controversial, we thought we’d talk about vaccinations, so that’s obviously something that people feel very strongly about. Mostly because it brings in a lot of issues of caring about our kids, caring about public. Sometimes it brings in issues of science versus religion, but the reason this is back in the news, and the reason why we wanted to tackle it today somewhat, or I should just say touch on it today, because there’s so much in our Clearcast is because recently a doctor in California, Dr. Bob Sears, has been accused of gross negligence in connection with a child, J. G., was the child’s initials, who he’s been seeing. Just a little background on Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob has a following because he has been very outspoken critic of the California Law, which says, “You must vaccinate your children.” It’s a misdemeanor not to do so, and your children must be vaccinated, even if you have a religious opposition to vaccinations. It doesn’t matter in the State of California.

Dr. Bob met with this kid and his mother, and the mother said, “Well, when he was two and he got some vaccinations, then he couldn’t urinate. He couldn’t pass food. He basically was sick. He was lethargic.” Dr. Bob wrote this medical recommendation saying, “Okay, well, this kid doesn’t need to get medical treatment anymore.” I’m sorry. “This kid doesn’t need any future vaccinations. He’s exempt from these.” He’s tried to give basically a doctor’s exemption, but the Medical Board came down really hard on him and said, “Whoa. You didn’t take any real data. You didn’t collect any type of samples, and you didn’t send this off to other labs to determine why this kid had the reaction that he did.”

The Medical Board in California has basically sued Dr. Bob to potentially revoke his license, and it kind of just brings up a lot of these issues about the extent of which kids can … Parents can protect their kids, and make decisions about their kids’ health. I guess the question for us today, Taylor, and what I want you to weigh in on here, right now, Nevada says that, “You can have a religious exemption to vaccinations?”

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Should we adopt the California Law? Should we continue with the Law that we have? Should we say some kind of a compromise, where it’s like if you have a kid who has a religious exemption to vaccinations, that’s fine, but you can’t be in our public schools. How would you start to think about some of these issues? Maybe take us back a little, and what are some of the fundamental issues here at play?

Taylor Waite: It really is a hard question, because fundamentally, as parents, we believe that we’re entitled to do the best by our children. They’re our children. We know what’s best for them. They obviously share some traits with us, so things that worked for us, we share our religious beliefs with our children, so those are important considerations. At the same time, and again, those beliefs go way back. The idea that we’re going to allow people to have children at all, suggests that we are willing to let them parent their children, which should include, to some degree, their ability to make health decisions for their children.

Jordan Flake: The people who oppose vaccinations are extremely passionate in saying things like, “Listen. You would not let somebody inject your kid with poison.”

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: The last time that my son got a vaccination, I watched as I wondered if he was going to pass away, because for basically two days, so I’m very, very sympathetic.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: To the idea that you should be able to protect your children.

Taylor Waite: Absolutely, but I

Jordan Flake: Share your religious beliefs.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: With your children.

Taylor Waite: Fundamentally, even speaking religiously though, I think we do teach as well to our children, that our individual choices still do affect others, and now there is a limit to our ability to choose to do whatever we want to do. What I choose to do in my home, within the walls of my home is one thing, but when that begins to affect my neighbors, begins to affect the people across the street, the neighborhood kids down the street, then it does have to open a broader discussion about what we are willing to do in a society where we’ve decided to come together in public schools, and things like that. It is a difficult question.

Jordan Flake: Yeah, so we have basically, our country acknowledges the right to raise your children however you want, provided it doesn’t hurt anybody else, and the difference between people who are pro-vaccination versus anti-vaccination, is the anti-vaccination crowd maybe doesn’t recognize, or believe in, or subscribe to the idea that whether or not I put these chemicals in my children actually affects the kid down the street.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Whereas, the scientific community, by in large, is supportive of the idea that, “Listen. You have to vaccinate your kids, because that will affect the kids down the street.” Look at the outbreak of, I believe it was Measles in Disneyland.

Taylor Waite: Yes, in Disneyland. Obviously the anti-vaccination. We’ve read some of that stuff. They suggest that there wasn’t enough scientific data to determine that that actually was related to non-vaccination, given the number of foreigners that were there, and everything else. I mean, there are other arguments, but absolutely.

Jordan Flake: Right.

Taylor Waite: It does affect others. Like our willingness to vaccinate or not vaccinate.

Jordan Flake: It’s my understanding, vaccines is limited, but it’s kind of my understanding that my one child not getting a Measles vaccination is not going to have an effect, but implementing a policy where everyone can say, “Well, I don’t want to be the one to vaccinate-

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: “My child, because it could in the margins be harmful.” It’s very interesting. It’s kind of we’re trying to all make the deal that, “Listen. We know on the very margins, some vaccinations might interact badly with some people, potentially.” The science on that is hit or miss, but we’re all agreeing, we’re all buying into the system where we say, “Hey, we all vaccinate-

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: “Because we don’t want these many diseases.” Let’s talk specifically about the Nevada Law then. How do we start to think about whether or not to permit the … Continue to permit the religious exemption? That’s tough, right?

Taylor Waite: I think it is tough, but it think it has to be a consideration for parents that are willing. It is problematic, I think, for someone like Dr. Sears, assuming that a doctor could come forward with a legitimate rationale. Medical background, that was one of the concerns when you read through the information we have, is that his recommendations were not necessarily based entirely in actual-

Jordan Flake: It’s almost-

Taylor Waite: Diagnosis.

Jordan Flake: It’s almost like Dr. Sears, he had a big opportunity, “Like, oh, man.”

Taylor Waite: Yes, to prove his point.

Jordan Flake: To prove his point.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: I read that as maybe he didn’t want to go and actually run the tests, and get the data, and support. He didn’t want to go through the arduous, but well-recognized process of supporting his concern that the vaccination caused this in the child, because maybe he was worried that it would have been something else. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, that’s I know a cynical view of Dr. Bob here, but I’m concerned that he was just sitting there thinking. I mean, it doesn’t add a ton of credibility that he tried to treat an ear infection with garlic.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Color me slightly skeptical. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sympathetic to parents who want to control their children’s lives, but if your doctor … This I will stand by. I will take a slight position here. If your doctor isn’t willing to go through the well-recognized processes for diagnosing, recording all the information properly, going through the testing procedures, that’s a big red flag.

Taylor Waite: Yes.

Jordan Flake: If you’re going to be an anti-vaccination doctor, be my guess. That’s your right to academic inquiry. Go for it.

Taylor Waite: It still has to be based. If we’re going to press the conversation, then both sides have to agree that we’re going to do it in the context of actual medical evidence.

Jordan Flake: Right.

Taylor Waite: If they want to come forward with alternatives, we’ll listen to those, and we need to listen to those. There is progression. Right. The anti-vaccination, we have to be willing to listen to those, but we can’t just come in, and pound our fists, and say, “We’re not going to listen to your science.”

Jordan Flake: It’s funny, because on the one hand, we’re demanding standards, scientific standards, but on the other, when it comes to religion, it’s like, “Hey, I just started the Church of Jordan, and the Church of Jordan actually only has one tenet. Basically, you can be a bad person in all the ways you want, but you just don’t vaccinate your kids.” Do you know what I mean? Sorry, religious exemption, so we have medical standards on the one hand.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: Then we just kind of throw those out the window, and we say, “Okay, any person for religious exemptions.”

Taylor Waite: Religious exemptions.

Jordan Flake: That makes the medical community here in Nevada kind of pull their hair out, and say, “Well, then why do we have standards at all if we can just say religion?”

Taylor Waite: Correct.

Jordan Flake: Church of Jordan”4)Now accepting applications! people can just be like, “Oh, one tenet of the Church of Jordan is to not vaccinate the kids.” There’s no standards for that.

Taylor Waite: There’s always concern when we build exceptions into the law that they will swallow a law [entirely 00:10:13], when that’s always a concern.

Jordan Flake: Yeah.

Taylor Waite: If we set a rule, then we can live by that, but if we start to add exceptions, then we start to go through who is, so how do we define who is, and is not entitled to that?

Jordan Flake: Like normal, I think, we’re just raising more questions than we have answers for.

Taylor Waite: Right.

Jordan Flake: As always, we invite our listeners, and viewers, and readers out there to give an opinion about, I guess specifically any opinion you have on anything we discuss. Feel free to correct us. We’re not experts on this. We’re happy to hear you out.

Taylor Waite: Absolutely.

Jordan Flake: I think we are very interested to see, should Nevada continue to allow this law, which states, “That if you are religiously opposed to vaccinating your kids, then you’re exempt.” Is that okay to continue that? Second question we didn’t really get to, but we’d love to hear what you have to say on it, is if we do exempt kids from vaccination for religious purposes, would it be okay then to say, “That they can’t attend public schools,” or, “That they can’t go to the same daycares that require vaccination efforts,” et cetera, et cetera? Anyway, thanks for joining us for Clearcast. We barely just scraped the surface of this issue, but we’d be more than happy to hear what you have to say on it. Thanks so much, and please join us next time.

Taylor Waite: See you.

 

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Yes, the same one!
2. It seems from afar that the measles outbreak in 2015 freaked out everyone
3. not the only issue
4. Now accepting applications!
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