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Some physicians who help parents against vaccines receive medical exceptions



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By Lauren Dunn and Linda Carroll

Alyssa Hernandez is often worried about her 2-year-old son Noah leaving her home in Sacramento, California. The little boy, who had a liver transplant at the age of 6 months, can not be vaccinated against a range of diseases, including highly contagious measles, because his immune system is suppressed by the transplant.

"I'm afraid to bring him out," Hernandez said. "I'm afraid to let him go to school because you do not know what's around him."

As parts of the US experience some of the worst measles outbreaks in years ̵

1; mainly because of parents who do not have their vaccine vaccinated children – that fear is understandable. The World Health Organization has rated vaccine resistance in 2019 as one of the top 10 threats to public health.

In California, more and more parents are finding ways to prevent vaccinations for their children with the surprising support of physicians, a recent study found.

Noah Hernandez on the day he was born in 2017. Noah was born with severe liver disease and had a transplant at the age of six months. Alyssa Alimena

Despite a California law passed after the Disneyland measles outbreak in 2015, the vaccine exemptions for the "personal beliefs" for children who go to school have been eliminated in the country Low vaccination rates developed. In a number of counties, less than 90 percent are reported, which is necessary to achieve herd immunity. This is the case when enough people are vaccinated against infectious diseases to protect others in the community who do not.

This is probably due to a medical examination published in October in the journal Pediatrics, a medical exemption – a medical note that allows a child to go to school without the required vaccinations. In some schools, the medical exemption rate is up to 20 percent, according to the California Department of Public Health.

It is known that some of these doctors call some of these doctors for whom no exam or assessment is required. They pay the money and they get the medical exemption.

Californian parents who reject immunization have found a way to circumvent the law with the help of doctors who want to write medical exceptions for children who do not need it. The pediatrics study found that some medical exceptions were given with insufficient justification, e.g. B. "Family history of allergies and family history of autoimmune diseases".

Selling Medical Exceptions

The study found that the exemptions were triggered by physicians who normally do not treat children and "came from doctors who had charged fees".

Noah, seen here the day after his transplant. Since Noah must take immunosuppressive drugs to help his body accept his transplanted liver, he can not be vaccinated against many infectious diseases. Alyssa Alimena

While some physicians seemed to charge a single fee for a permanent exemption, the researchers found that some gave temporary exceptions, for about three months each, and then charged a new fee for each additional exemption Richard Pan, a pediatrician representing the 6th district of California, accuses a "handful of doctors" of having undermined the effects of the vaccine law by exploiting a loophole.

Exception, you do not really have to give the exact reason, "said Pan. "You must indicate for which vaccines you are applying the exemption and for what period the derogation actually applies. It is well known that some of these doctors call a few doctors who do not require an exam or assessment. You pay the money and they give you the medical exemption.

Even if certain reasons for medical exemption are stated, the conditions mentioned do not coincide with the science of vaccines. Erica Pan, Interim Alameda County Health Officer and Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. Richard Pan is not related.

When immunization rates drop, children like Noah Hernandez, who are unable to get a shot either because of a weakened immune system or because of their young age, are at risk, she said. In the case of whooping cough, "infants are fully vaccinated only after infancy," said Pan. "You have the highest risk of hospitalization or even death. They need protection for the community. "

Noah at the age of 18 months. Due to his liver transplant, he is susceptible to infectious diseases such as measles or chickenpox. "I'm afraid to let him go to school because you do not know what's nearby," said Noah's mother, Alyssa Hernandez. Alyssa Alimena

Richard Pan does not wobble when he talks about this Doctors sell exceptions: "What we need to realize is that many of the doctors who have broken their oath do so for their paperback. It is not based on their expertise. They monetize their license, "he told NBC News.

An Internet search found a number of websites for doctors who are against vaccinations.

One of them listed" vaccine-electing physicians by state, "while other parents Learn more about exceptions.

A Web site run by Dr. Kelly Sutton states, "Finally … The step-by-step program to help protect your child from the California one-size-fits-all vaccine mandate ! "

The site provides parents with" the tools and knowledge you need to protect their parenting rights to choose their children's health care, "and promotes Sutton's" EXCLUSIVE program for only $ 97. "

In a video on the site, Sutton asks, "With the passing of Law SB277, you are overcoming the fear that your children will be forcibly vaccinated?"

Sutton claims that she is no exception Instead, he will conduct a more extensive visit, which will include a detailed study and vaccination training [19659007] "Due to consistent under-reporting of vaccination reactions in the United States, a physician should not assume that a previous vaccination reaction or injury is documented in a patient record "Sutton said in an email to NBC News. "Accordingly, it is up to physicians to thoroughly investigate these matters."

The vaccine and health experts are disturbed by the new developments in California.

"When the Legislature closed the loophole [personal belief exemption]I was very excited." Peter Hotez, co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and author of "Vaccines Did not Cause Rachel's Autism: My Journey as a Vaccine Researcher, Pediatrician and Autism Father."

"One thing I never noticed That doctors would write fake medical exemptions, "said Hotez. "That's very scary."


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