The difficult battle between public health and personal liberty reached it’s nexus on June 30 when California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 277 into law, which effective July 1, 2016 requires children entering pre-school, elementary school, secondary school, child care centers, day nurseries, nursery school, family day care homes or development centers must have received the following vaccines: Chickenpox (Varicella), Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (TDap) and Haemophilus influenza Type B.
This drew strong reactions from such diverse public figure as Jim Carrey and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Carrey went ballistic on Twitter with a long string of critical tweets, with perhaps the most notable and covered statement: “California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory (Carrey’s spelling) vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped.”
As you may recall, Jim Carrey had a five-year long relationship with noted anti vaccine spokesperson, Jenny McCarthy.
Former Texas Congressman and libertarian stalwart, Dr. Ron Paul came out on Facebook asking, “Should the state be able to force you to vaccinate your children if you want them to be able to go to school?” Dr Paul added that our medical freedom and civil liberties were at stake. Dr Paul doesn’t oppose vaccines, but the compulsory move by Gov Jerry Brown.
While Carrey’s tweets were a rant and Dr Paul warns of the dangers of eroding civil liberties, some opponents of the new law went so far to even express death threats! On one Los Angeles state building some spray painted “4 every kid afflicted, a public figure will die. SB 277 .”(see below)
Vaccines have saved more lives than any other public health measure, it even eliminated smallpox from the human race. Polio is teetering on the edge of eradication with less than 30 wild poliovirus cases reported globally in the first half of 2015. Go back 60-70 years in the US and you would see people standing in long lines to get the vaccine to prevent the horrible outcome of the paralyzing virus.
Since the 1990s, infections with Haemophilis influenza B are so incredibly rare thanks to that vaccine.
However, vaccines always have been and continue to be contentious in this country and around the globe. Bad information clearly amplified the situation in recent years.
Death threats and Carrey’s rant aside, what about the balance between public health and parental choice? Valid question? Let us know your thoughts.