POST Online Media Lite Edition



 

In California, some doctors sell 'medical exemptions' for kids' vaccinations

Staff Writer |
A handful of California doctors are making hay off anti-vaccine parents, charging hundreds of dollars to issue medical exemptions for required childhood vaccinations, a new study claims.

Article continues below




In 2015, California passed a law eliminating personal belief exemptions for vaccinations that kids must receive before they can attend public school.

In the years since, there's been a major increase in the number of medical exemptions issued by doctors for these required immunizations, researchers found.

"After the first year, it increased from 0.2 percent to 0.5 percent of children," said lead researcher Salini Mohanty, a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "Then by the second year it had increased to 0.7 percent, which is a 250 percent increase, which is sort of alarming."

At least some of these medical exemptions are being written by doctors who charge big fees to fearful parents, according to public health officers interviewed for the study.

"I'm getting a very high volume of medical exemptions from one provider, and from what I understand, for all intents and purposes, she's selling these medical exemptions," said one official quoted in the study. "She used to just give permanent medical exemptions, and now she's giving temporary for 3 months. So now families have to go back every 3 months and pay $300 to get their temporary medical exemption updated."

These doctors are flying in the face of decades of work to develop and improve vaccines that "beat back infectious diseases that plagued humanity since the species evolved," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

"To hear of physicians advertising to issue medical exemptions, which are mostly unwarranted, is to spit in the face of those pioneers who gave us vaccines, and has made those physicians advocates of the primitive Dark Ages when vaccine-preventable diseases flourished," Adalja said.

The 2015 law made California the first state in nearly 35 years to eliminate personal belief exemptions for mandatory vaccinations, the study authors said in background notes. The law was prompted in part by a 2014 measles outbreak at Disneyland.

The law has had a positive effect on immunization rates overall in California, the researchers reported.

Following the law's implementation, the proportion of kindergartners who received all required vaccines increased to 95.1 percent in 2017-2018, up from 92.8 percent in 2015-2016.

The findings were published online Oct. 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

To get a ground-level assessment of the law's rollout, researchers interviewed 40 health officers representing about half of the local health jurisdictions in California.

The public health officials said they are concerned anti-vaccine parents denied personal belief exemptions for their children now are seeking out doctors willing to issue medical exemptions for a fee, Mohanty said.

Many of these medical exemptions cite conditions typically not considered barriers to immunization by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as a family history of allergies or autoimmune disorders, Mohanty said.

However, these conditions squeak by based on the regulatory language of the law, she said.

The number of medical exemptions issued has not yet reached the level of personal belief exemptions claimed prior to the law's passage, which for the 2015-2016 school year was about 2.4 percent, Mohanty said.

But if left unchecked, the rapid increase of medical exemptions could weaken vaccine protection for school kids, said Democratic state Sen. Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and author of the California law.

"They threaten community immunity and threaten the health of all children," Pan said of the exemptions.

Anti-vaccine parent groups appear to be sharing lists of doctors willing to issue medical exemptions for a fee, Pan said.

"It's a very small number, but that's all it takes, right?" said Pan, who wrote an editorial accompanying the new study. "They're charging $500 or more a pop for these exemptions, so they're definitely in it for the money."

Some of these doctors have been brought before the California Medical Board on ethics charges, the study reported.

But Pan suggested a more straightforward solution. He'd like to amend California law so public health officials would have the power to revoke doctors' authority to issue medical exemptions.

Pan argued the power to issue medical exemptions is a state-level public health function that has been delegated to doctors, and therefore could be rescinded if it's found they're taking advantage of patients.

For example, West Virginia pediatricians do not have the ability to issue medical exemptions—instead, they must apply to their state health department for exemptions on patients' behalf, Pan noted.

"When someone abuses that authority that's been delegated to them, then the state should be able to take back that authority from that person," Pan said. "And not only revoke that authority but then invalidate all of the medical exemptions that have been inappropriately written, as a threat to public health."


What to read next

Doctors spend one hour with patients, two with papers
U.S. doctors don't all follow prediabetes screening guidelines
Just half of antidepressant prescriptions are for depression

Domino's Pizza shuts its last location in homeland of pizza

 
Domino’s Pizza has shuttered the last of its locations in Italy, officially ending a seven-year failed attempt to bring American fast-food pizza to the Mediterranean country from which the dish derives.
 
 

Latest

Thousands evacuated from France’s Gironde as forest fires rage
UK launches vaccine booster campaign as polio spreads
Transneft halts oil to Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary
Irish Water calls on public to save water, heat coming

NEWS

Operation to rescue trapped miners in Mexico to begin this week

Mexican military deployed to help battle fire at oil facility in Cuba
U.S. obtains warrant for seizure of plane of sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch
U.S.: Dangerous heat in northeast and northwest
UK Met Office issued Amber Extreme heat warning, health agency Level 3 Heat Health Alert
Germany’s largest crematorium works around the clock to save on gas consumption
 

BUSINESS

EBRD, EU and ProCredit Bank support small businesses in Albania

Google's Equiano subsea cable lands in South Africa
Ireland's EirGrid issued second amber alert for electricity generation system
Botswana to produce battery metals
Over 700,000 Ukrainian workers in Poland
U.S. housing inventory rises at record-breaking speed
 

Trending Now

Coca-Cola HBC to acquire Three Cents for €45mn

Thousands evacuated from France’s Gironde as forest fires rage

UK launches vaccine booster campaign as polio spreads

Transneft halts oil to Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary


POLITICS

Nigeria: Buhari approves $1.3 billion Exxonmobil's oil assets acquisition by Seplat

China and Australia not ready to solve disputes
Commission approves Italian scheme under RRF to support biomethane production
Commission approves €149 million Romanian scheme under RRF to support renewable hydrogen production
Prisoners in UK to be upskilled in cutting-edge farming techniques
Agriculture Ministry: Firewood production remains sustainable in Hungary
 

Today We Recommend

Botswana to produce battery metals


Highlights 

Micron to invest $40 billion by 2030 to build U.S. memory plants

Whirlpool acquires InSinkErator for $3 billion

Devon Energy to buy Validus for $1.8 billion


COMPANIES

Commission and Moderna adapt delivery schedules for late summer and winter

RICK Engineering acquires Cypress Civil Development
900 MW offshore platform DolWin kappa on its way to Port of Rotterdam
Coca-Cola HBC to acquire Three Cents for €45mn
Hungary's MOL prepared to pay for transit of Russian oil through Ukraine
Micron to invest $40 billion by 2030 to build U.S. memory plants
 

CAREERS

Daseke appoints Bruce Blaise to board

Island Pacific appoints Herman Chiu as CFO
Horizon Bancorp appoints Thomas M. Prame as president
Encora appoints Deepak Bhandari as EVP, head of corporate development
Firmenich: Maurizio Clementi interim president of taste and beyond division
Joyce Farms appoints two new leaders
 

ECONOMY

High level of inflation in Estonia will remain

Hungary's inflation hits 13.7 pct in July
Finland's draft budget: Deficit of around EUR 6.3 billion
German economy to lose $265 billion in added value
Czech Republic reports $500mln trade deficit in June
Philippine GDP grows 7.4 percent on year in Q2
 

EARNINGS

Honda Q1 net income declines

Ralph Lauren Q1 2023 EPS $1.73
Capri Holdings Q1 profit
Lenovo Q1 net income grew 11%
Legal & General H1 profit £1,160m
Munich Re Q2 profit €768m
 

OP-ED

Micromanaging is the worst enemy of efficiency and teamwork

Niger set to monetize massive gas reserves through Saharan natural gas pipeline
Putting the brakes on EV folly that choked the market
Oil discovery in Kavango Basin may mean huge benefits for Namibians
Cape Town and Dubai battle over Africa's energy future
Is America going to lose its superpower status?
 

AGRIFISH

Uruguay will develop new citrus varieties for export

Russia's Orenburg region controlled more than 65 thousand tons of grain intended for export
Russia to ban imports of crop products from 31 districts of Moldova as of August 15
Two Russia's regions exported more than 820,00 tons of fish products since beginning of 2022
Namibia lifts restrictive measures after controlling H5N1 avian influenza
Tanzania signs 21 irrigation scheme contracts for over 26,000 ha of land
 

LEADERSHIP

If company overcomes post-IPO innovation slump, it will survive longer

62% of consumers will stop buying from brands that compromise products to cut costs
Companies must invest to avoid supply chain scandal or pay the price in lost consumers
How awards, recognition decrease inventors' creativity
Keeping employees is harder than ever. And we don't have good news
How much is 'great resignation' costing companies?
 

CRIME

PwC fined $2 million over BT audit after fraud discovered in Italy

Guardia di Financa finds unregistered foreign company operating in e-commerce
Iowa AG sues tobacco companies over $133 million in withheld payments
AG Bonta announces $15.5 million judgment against Rent-A-Center
Illinois AG Raoul announces agreement with former opioid maker Allergan
AG Shapiro secures preliminary agreement with Teva for $4.25 billion
 

Magazine

TRAVEL

The SureStay Hotel by Best Western Rockford East opens in Rockford, Illinois

Avani Chaweng Samui Hotel & Beach Club opens in Thailand
Buffalo Bill is coming to Manitowoc with his Wild West show
Pullman Doha West Bay Hotel opens in Qatar
DoubleTree by Hilton hotel opens in Malaysia
Great Dorset Chilli Festival, the hottest festival in UK
 

SEA, LAND, AIR

Porsche unveils newest generation of 911 GT3 R

2023 Subaru Crosstrek sells like hotcakes
New Mercedes‑Benz GLC, at home on any terrain
GMC unleashes new 2023 Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition
First BMW M3 Touring presented
Southern Wind Power of 2, just for you and ocean ahead
 

DESIGN

Nobody's Child, everybody's favorite

Freddy WR.UP, pants that hug you in all the right places
Stylishly luxurious house design
Great design ideas that might not work for you
Garden mirrors, explore new views of your garden
Unusual and highly functional lamps
 

GADGETS

Shure MV7 professional dynamic microphone now available in new limited-edition color

Forget streaming services, use McIntosh MR89 to enjoy AM/FM music
Infinix NOTE 12 PRO, first smartphone powered by MediaTek Helio G99
MW75 active noise-cancelling headphones, variety of new features
Parasound JC 1+ mono power amplifier by John Curl, pure delight
Cambridge Audio SX80, stylish loudspeakers for any room
 

HEALTH

New zoonotic virus Langya infects 35 people in China

Germany records first case of monkeypox in child
Denmark to offer monkeypox vaccine to gay men
Guatemala confirms first case of monkeypox
First monkeypox case identified in Moldova
At least 12 deaths reported in cholera outbreak in Afghanistan's Jawzjan
 

MEANTIME

First detection of gas in circumplanetary disk

Drought increases toxic microbe-laden dust landing in Sierras
Ancient source of oxygen for life hidden deep in Earth's crust
Length of Earth's days has been increasing, scientists don't know why
South Korea launches first lunar orbiter
Bantu speakers crossed through Central African Rainforest 4,000 years ago, changed everything