Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the last 4½ years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year, he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission.

Now, there’s a new threat: measles. An outbreak tied to Disneyland has grown from 9 to 73 cases in just two and a half weeks. Public health officials fear it will spread further.

Rhett cannot be vaccinated, because his immune system is still rebuilding. It may be months more before his body is healthy enough to get all his immunizations. Until then, he depends on everyone around him for protection — or what’s known as herd immunity.

But Rhett lives in Marin, a county with the dubious honor of having the highest rate of “personal belief exemptions” (PBE) in the Bay Area and among the highest in the state. This school year, 6.45 percent of Marin’s kindergarteners have a PBE, which allows parents to lawfully send their children to school unvaccinated against communicable diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and more. The statewide average is 2.50 percent.

Carl Krawitt has just about had enough. “It’s very emotional for me,” he said. “If you choose not to immunize your own child and your own child dies because they get measles, OK, that’s your responsibility, that’s your choice. But if your child gets sick and gets my child sick and my child dies, then … your action has harmed my child.”

Krawitt is taking action of his own. His son attends Reed Elementary in Tiburon, a school with a 7 percent PBE rate, nearly triple the statewide average. Krawitt had previously worked with the school nurse to make sure that all the children in his son’s class were fully vaccinated. He said the school was very helpful and accommodating.

lookupNow Krawitt and his wife, Jodi, have emailed the district’s superintendent, requesting that the district “require immunization as a condition of attendance, with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated.”

Carl Krawitt provided me with Superintendent Steven Herzog’s response. Herzog didn’t directly address their query, instead saying: “We are monitoring the situation closely and will take whatever actions necessary to ensure the safety of our students.”

Typically, response to health emergencies rests with county health officers. During the current measles outbreak, we’ve already seen that unvaccinated students at Huntington Beach High School in Orange County were ordered to stay out of school for three weeks after a student there contracted measles. It’s a way to contain an outbreak.

But those steps were taken in the face a confirmed case at the school.

When I called Marin County health officer Matt Willis to see what he thought of keeping unvaccinated kids out of school even if there were no confirmed cases, he sounded intrigued. “This is partly a legal question,” he said.

But he was open to the idea and said he was going to check with the state to see what precedent there was to take such an action. Right now, there are no cases of measles anywhere in Marin and no suspected cases either. Still, “if the outbreak progresses and we start seeing more and more cases,” Willis said, “then this is a step we might want to consider’ — requiring unvaccinated children to stay home, even without confirmed cases at a specific school.

Rhett has been treated at UCSF, and his oncologist there, Dr. Robert Goldsby, said that Rhett is likely at higher risk of complications if he were to get measles. “When your immune system isn’t working as well, it allows many different infections to be worse,” he said. “It’s not just Rhett. There are hundreds of other kids in the Bay Area that are going through cancer therapy, and it’s not fair to them. They can’t get immunized, they have to rely on their friends and colleagues and community to help protect them.”

Rhett Krawitt, just weeks after starting chemotherapy, in 2010. (Courtesy: Carl Krawitt)
Rhett Krawitt, just weeks after starting chemotherapy, in 2010. (Courtesy: Carl Krawitt)

Goldsby pointed to the number of people who, when facing a friend or family member who receives a challenging diagnosis, will immediately ask how they can help. “Many families will say, ‘What can I do to help? What can I do to help?'” he said, repeating it for emphasis. “One of the main things they can do is make sure their [own] kids are vaccinated to protect others.”

Krawitt has been speaking up about vaccination for a long time now. He told me about going to a parent meeting at his daughter’s school just before the start of the school year, where a staff member reminded parents not to send peanut products to school, since a child or children had an allergy. “It’s really important your kids don’t bring peanuts, because kids can die,” Krawitt recalls the group being told.

The irony was not lost on him. He told me he immediately responded, “In the interest of the health and safety of our children, can we have the assurance that all the kids at our school are immunized?”

He found out later from a friend that other parents who were present were “mad that you asked the question, because they don’t immunize their kids.”

  • LozanoBMP

    It isn’t fair for the kids that are diagnosed with cancer at a young age because then they don’t get to do many things because of the chemo treatment. As for Rhett it is going to be very hard because for the past four and a half years he has had to deal with all his chemo treatments and now he has to get vaccinated for the measeles?

    • dogctor

      Immune system recovery takes place a year post treatment in children with leukemia. This child can get vaccinated like every one else. More so because his father believes so strongly in vaccinating others’ kids. .

      • Mark Samson

        You focus relentlessly upon the trees while ignoring the forest. The particular elements of this one child’s case are an interesting point from which to launch a discussion, but the importance of the discussion derives from the public health aspect.

        • dogctor

          I am afraid you are the one who is mistaking a fake plastic palm tree -superficial, misleading journalism, fitting one journalist’s personal opinion- for a forest.

        • Savannah

          The same can be said for the other kids at the school. Some may be allergic to vaccine ingredients, or have other medical reasons for not getting vaccinated.

          So those valid medical exemptions may lead to that child getting the measles and passing it along to Rhett. Are Rhett’s parents really willing to take that risk?

          Or …. are you suggesting that other children’s health is less important than the one child (Rhett) and those other children be forced to vaccinate despite medical reasons not to?

          Even the “personal belief” exemption is often based on parents’ VALID concerns that their child may get seriously ill, or die, from the vaccines. (Even the CDC admits there is a risk)

          They have a right to their sincerely held beliefs just as much as the Krawitts have a right to their sincerely held beliefs.

          The difference is, no one is trying to force the Krawitts to do something against their will.

    • CT14

      Kids like this are what hers immunity is for. Vaccination rates of 85% and higher do a fantastic job of preventing the spread of illnesses.

      Orange County has the vaccination rates of Somalia.

      How many kids are going to die needlessly before we insist on proper public health? Seriously, kids can’t take PB&J sandwiches to school, but they can go unvaccinated because their parents watch Jenny McCarthy.

      • Duh

        Los Angeles is welcoming in the Third World, so naturally this makes sense.

  • Gary

    “But if your child gets sick and gets my child sick and my child dies, then … your action has harmed my child.”

    If that happens, it should be charged as second-degree murder, defined as “dangerous conduct and the offender’s obvious lack of concern for human life”. Maybe if the anti-vaxxers were actually held accountable for their irresponsibility, they’d stop endangering those around them.

    • Karen

      Yes but it wont help his dead child. This imbecilic arrogant anti-vaxx petulance needs yo be stopped now.

      • Jay

        http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf

        HOW ABOUT READ THE VACCINE INSERT AND READ THE PART THAT SAYS THAT YOUR ASS IS BEEN INJECTED WITH THE LIVE VIRUS…..DID I SAY VOLUNTARILY….DAMN

        M-M-R® II

        (MEASLES, MUMPS, and
        RUBELLA VIRUS VACCINE LIVE)

        DESCRIPTION

        M-M-R® II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live) is a live virus vaccine for vaccination
        against measles (rubeola), mumps, and rubella (German measles).

        M-M-R II is a sterile lyophilized preparation of (1) ATTENUVAX® (Measles Virus Vaccine Live), a
        more attenuated line of measles virus, derived from Enders’ attenuated Edmonston strain and
        propagated in chick embryo cell culture; (2) MUMPSVAX® (Mumps Virus Vaccine Live), the Jeryl LynnTM
        (B level) strain of mumps virus propagated in chick embryo cell culture; and (3) MERUVAX® II (Rubella
        Virus Vaccine Live), the Wistar RA 27/3 strain of live attenuated rubella virus propagated in WI-38 human
        diploid lung fibroblasts.{1,2}

        The growth medium for measles and mumps is Medium 199 (a buffered salt solution containing
        vitamins and amino acids and supplemented with fetal bovine serum) containing SPGA (sucrose,
        phosphate, glutamate, and recombinant human albumin) as stabilizer and neomycin.

        The growth medium for rubella is Minimum Essential Medium (MEM) [a buffered salt solution
        containing vitamins and amino acids and supplemented with fetal bovine serum] containing recombinant
        human albumin and neomycin. Sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin stabilizer are added to the individual virus
        harvests.

        The cells, virus pools, and fetal bovine serum are all screened for the absence of adventitious agents.

        The reconstituted vaccine is for subcutaneous administration. Each 0.5 mL dose contains not less
        than 1,000 TCID50 (tissue culture infectious doses) of measles virus; 12,500 TCID50 of mumps virus; and
        1,000 TCID50 of rubella virus. Each dose of the vaccine is calculated to contain sorbitol (14.5 mg), sodium
        phosphate, sucrose (1.9 mg), sodium chloride, hydrolyzed gelatin (14.5 mg), recombinant human albumin
        (≤0.3 mg), fetal bovine serum (<1 ppm), other buffer and media ingredients and approximately 25 mcg of
        neomycin. The product contains no preservative.

        Before reconstitution, the lyophilized vaccine is a light yellow compact crystalline plug. M-M-R II, when
        reconstituted as directed, is clear yellow.

        • Kansan

          My daughter was born in Viet Nam. Because we were at war with that county, children weren’t vaccinated. As a result, she lost her hearing.

          Those flat-earther parents who refuse to vaccinate their children because some quack claimed that it could get them sick are simply despicable and possibly culpable at spreading diseases that could be extremely harmful or even fatal.

        • Jim

          I am right there with you Brother. Read the Insert.

          If you want Allergies, Get Vaccinated…
          If you want Cancer, Get Vaccinated…
          If you want Autism, Get Vaccinated…
          If you want ADHD, Get Vaccinated..

          Sure, you may not get measles… but you will most like suffer with something else, because….

          The People who make the Vaccines also stand to profit from the other drugs they will sell you for the rest of your life.

      • Jay
        • Kansan

          Okay, Jay. What your URL says is that there may be a possibility that only African American kids who receive the MMR vaccine BEFORE they are 18 months old, could have a possibility of increased incidence of autism. So if those kids had their MMR after they are 18 months old, it’s not any problem. Are you thinking that you will scare parents off by circulating that eleven year old opinion by a non-physician? Kids under 18 months old are not going to school. Get your children vaccinated so you don’t kill them or other children!

          • Jim

            Autism is not a joke.

            It is a problem AFTER 18 months…. And it is not just African American issue, either.

          • Kansan

            You’ve got monsters under you bed, Jay. Call your mommy and tell her to leave the light on.

      • Hmm

        Is that the real problem, Karen, or is it illegal aliens pouring across the border with infectious diseases? This kid is just as susceptible to diseases brought in from the Third World but no one seems to want to admit that.

        • Kansan

          No, that fear is the sort of paranoid crap that you’ll hear on Fox “News.” Get yourself educated.

          • JubileeL

            Get yourself educated. Some of the “strange polio” like viruses started to show up when there was the huge influx of illegals over the summer – the same illegals the gov’t put into our school system.

          • Kansan

            Don’t pretend that your racism is really just a concern about disease vectors.

            From NBC News, July 14, 2014

            Doctors say they are concerned about false rumors and “hysteria” that the unaccompanied children coming across the border from Mexico into Texas are carrying diseases such as Ebola and dengue fever.

            The rumors have been carried on anti-immigration websites but have made it onto some mainstream media sites and they’ve even caught the eye of a member of Congress.

            Sign up for top health news direct to your inbox.

            Residents of League City, Texas, even voted to ban undocumented immigrants from being housed within their city limits.

            “Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey wrote in a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

            “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles. This makes Americans who are not vaccinated — and especially young children and the elderly — particularly susceptible.”

            The CDC says it’s addressing Gingrey’s concerns. Other doctors have expressed surprise that Gingrey, himself a retired physician, would help spread the idea that kids could spread diseases such as Ebola that don’t even exist in the countries they are coming from.

            “There is a long, sad and shameful tradition in the United States in using fear of disease, contagion and contamination to stigmatize immigrants and foreigners,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center and a frequent NBC contributor. “Sadly, this letter which rests firmly on innuendo and fear-mongering proudly continues this unethical tradition.”

            “I think that’s a little bit of hysteria that’s not warranted at this point.”

            Since October, more than 52,000 children traveling without an adult have been caught entering the United States through Mexico, which, in July, is already double the number of children seen in the previous year.

            While some of the kids are indeed ill, they don’t have anything exotic or unexpected, said Dr. Mark Ward of Texas Children’s Hospital, who is president of the Texas Pediatric Society.

            “As might be expected from children that had endured long journeys, they are tired,” Ward told NBC News. Some have common diarrheal and respiratory illnesses, he said.

            The one disease there’s a higher risk of kids from Central America having is tuberculosis, Ward added. TB is not transmitted casually, and about 9,900 cases were reported in the U.S. last year, according to the CDC.

            “I know that people tend to get focused on these sexy issues — is there some sort of dread plague that people are bringing into the country,” Ward said. “The reason for responding to these children is they are parentless. They are in a situation that is beyond their control. For humanitarian reasons, we need to ensure they get the care they need.”

            Federal officials say the children are being evaluated and treated and vaccinated as needed.

            “When children come into the Department of Health and Human Services program, they are given a well-child exam and given all needed childhood vaccinations to protect against communicable diseases,” said a spokesman for the HHS Administration for Children and Families.

            “They are also screened for tuberculosis, and receive a mental health exam. If children are determined to have any communicable disease or have been exposed to a communicable disease, they are placed in a program or facility that has the capacity to quarantine. If they have mental health problems, they are similarly placed in a specialized facility to meet their needs and not in a temporary shelter.”

            World Bank statistics indicate that some of the countries that the kids are traveling from actually have higher vaccination rates than the United States. The U.S. has a 92 percent vaccination rate for measles. Mexico vaccinates 99 percent of its children; Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras all have a 93 percent vaccination rate.

            In fact, many of the children and adults are carrying their vaccination cards with them, says Dr. Martin Garza, a Texas pediatrician who is caring for immigrants in McAllen, Texas. “They are up to date in their countries,” Garza told NBC News. “This is not the poorest of the poor kids that we are seeing. In fact, they are what might be described as middle class. They have had medical care. They have been vaccinated.”

            He said that while some of the kids are sick, it’s nothing unusual.

            “The illnesses are pretty much what I see on a daily basis at my regular office,” Garza said. They have common colds and other respiratory infections that kids get every day, stomach pain and constipation or diarrhea. “Some of it might come from the fact that they haven’t had a really good meal for months and then we suddenly feed them one,” he said.

            Garza said he has not seen a case of active tuberculosis. People can be infected latently, meaning they don’t show symptoms, but they also will not spread TB if they are infected in that way.

            “They have had medical care. They have been vaccinated.”

            Garza said he has seen some overwrought news reports about scabies and head lice. “People have some real confused notions about what scabies or head lice are. Those things are more of a nuisance than actual problems,” Garza said, noting that head lice are so common and so harmless that the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that kids not even be kept out of school because of them.

            A spokesman for Gingrey said there were worried that West African immigrants may be in the mix somehow, and that explains the worries about Ebola — which is only found in Africa. There is an ongoing outbreak in West Africa, but health experts note that Ebola makes people so ill they are very unlikely to travel far while infected.

            Swine flu caused a pandemic in 2009, but the H1N1 virus is now part of the seasonal influenza mix that circulated widely in the United States this past flu season. There is very little influenza circulation in North America right now, according to the World Health Organization.

            Dengue is found across central America, but it’s spread by mosquitoes, not by people. It’s also been found in south Texas in recent years. “Some of these countries may have dengue. I think that’s a little bit of hysteria that’s not warranted at this point,” Ward said.

            Gingrey said he feared the children might carry diseases on buses or airplanes to other parts of the U.S. “As the unaccompanied children continue to be transported to shelters around the country on commercial airlines and other forms of transportation, I have serious concerns that the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too rapidly to control,” he wrote.

            Ward said the children deserved medical care. ”Decisions about caring for these children, I think, are independent of the politics of what is causing it. It’s happening. They are here. And regardless of what you think about what drove them to be here and whose fault that is, we need to take care of them.”

    • dogctor

      How about we hold you accountable for exaggeration?
      Can you post links to cases of children a year post treatment for leukemia injured by measles? Immuno-suppression is caused by treatment & recovery takes place in 12mos….this child can get vaccinated like this parent is demanding of every one else.

      • Chel

        “Last year, he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he in remission.”

        It doesn’t say anything about *when* last year the kid was able to stop treatment. It could have been as early as January or as late as December. I assume that the child is still under care of doctors, and that his parents are following the advice of those doctors. Unless *you specifically* are one of Rhett’s doctors, you’re really being obtuse here.

        • Ena Valikov

          Not sure who is obtuse yet. I do my best not to assume anything. I merely read facts and formulate educated opinions with the help of PubMed. Hope you’ve heard of it-its a great national treasure. Please find his Doctors statement showing low measles titers and advising against vaccination. Thanks.

          • Chel

            I don’t have that. Privacy laws and all that. In leiu of that I made a few assumptions for my reply to dogcter, but none were illogical or very extreme.

            The article says Rhett completed his chemotherapy “last year”. It is the very beginning of a new year, and many people say things like” Christmas last year was nice “. So “last year” could mean anything from January 2014 to December 2014. According to dogctor’s link, 12 months is when vaccinations can be restarted after chemotherapy.

            It’s not unlikely that Rhett hasn’t been out of chemotherapy for 12 months. In fact it is much more likely that he *hasn’t* and so is still at risk.

            My most extreme assumptions are that Rhett is likely still under the care of doctors who will let his parents know when it is safe to restart vaccinations, and that his parents are listening and cooperative with the doctors.

          • dogctor

            These are all fair assumptions….the problem with assumptions as you probably know is that they can be wrong- mine and yours. We are also assuming that this parent and journalist are communicating the doctor’s advice accurately. I can tell you that I hear clients’ interpretations of doctors opinions distorted daily–and in may cases when I speak to the doctor I hear different versions than the clients’. In matters of this importance, it behooves us to get accurate information from professionals rather than blindly trust journalists who often have a message in mind, who can pick up the phone and get Rhett’s doctor to help in this important conversation. I am not qualified to do that–but I am qualified to say that journalists are often influencing public opinion in very unhelpful ways.

      • CT14

        Vaccines should be required for school attendance. If you choose to ignore reality and endanger public health, you shouldn’t be allowed to take advantage of public benefits like schools.

        There is no science that supports antivaxxers. The fraud was exposed over 15 years ago, and despite the fact every subsequent large study has shown the fears Wakefield created are false, vaccination rates have dropped.

        Over 6200 people have died from vaccine preventable illnesses since 2000. It’s past time for the laws to be changed.

        • Ena Valikov

          C.i.t.a.t.i.o.n.s N.e.e.d.e.d.

        • Ena Valikov

          S.T.R.A.W.M.A.N.

        • Jay

          DO YOU KNOW THAT THE REALITY IS THAT EVERY PERSON THAT GETS VACCINATED IS ACTUALLY INJECTING THEMSELVES WITH THE LIVE VIRUS???? CMON HOW RETARDED CAN YOU BE

          http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf

          • Scott

            Do you have any clue how vaccinations work? Obviously not, and your nutjob sources you “site” are complete, utter rubbish…

            A little education (if you can get your head out of the sand long enough to read something) for you: vaccines work by exposing the body to small, weakened doses of, yes, a “live” virus so the body’s natural immune system builds up the antibodies to fight the disease. If they were dangerous, then literally billions of people would be infected with measles, mumps, polio, etc. Here’s a real source for ya (not some whackjob site you claim to produce): http://www.livescience.com/32617-how-do-vaccines-work.html

            Wake the #%&@# up!

          • dogctor

            These viruses has been attenuated– modified not to cause disease, and this is only true of whole virus vaccine.The weakened virus replicates causing very mild symptoms, in the process, leading to immunity. Some vaccines only contain a critical component of the virus- not the entire organism.

            You are not understanding how immunization works, I am afraid.

          • joseyWales00

            All in theory…

          • Bronwyn Millar

            Again, vaccination is not immunisation. While vaccines can and do immunise much of the time, it is not foolproof. As we see from the recent measles outbreak where 60% of the infected were at least partially vaccinated. In a lifetime one would need constant boosters to maintain a decent level of immunity that would last your whole life.

            The only way to get lifelong measles immunity is to have it naturally. I had it at age 4 and am very grateful to have the immunity because when my daughter got it as a 5 month old baby, the antibodies in my breastmilk helped her to recover quickly.

          • Jim

            And you and your daughter are FINE.

            The Fear around this is crazy. Plenty of people had Measles and are just fine. I know several of them.

            Almost Everyone from my generation had the Chicken Pocs. Did you know anyone who died from it? Then, the pharmaceuticals use FEAR to get you to get Vaccinated for Chicken Pocs, too..

            Before you know it, there will be another push… Stop my child from getting the “Deadly” chicken pocs.

          • 69GeorgeWBush69

            Do you understand what the word “attenuated” means?

          • emily

            You need to keep reading beyond the words “live virus” and try to understand how a vaccine works.

          • Kansan

            Not as retarded as you, Jay. Glad you asked the question.

        • Jay
        • Jay
        • DUh

          Why are we focused on schools? This kid could pick up the measles from any of the illegal aliens in San Francisco just by walking around town.

          • Kansan

            Illegal aliens gonna’ get yo’ mama!

            Reply

        • Jim

          If you look at the stats….
          20 years ago Autism odds were 1 in 10,000
          Now it is 1 in under a 100.
          There is NO genetic excuse for that shift. Look at a graph of the growth in autism on top of a graph on the amount of Vaccinations and I think you will see something interesting.. The truth.

        • JubileeL

          Wait, if you deny me the right to partake in public benefits like schools, does that mean I can stop paying for them? Sweet!

      • C’mon Darwin

        Really not a “wild inflammatory exaggeration.” Leukemia patients die of much less dramatic illnesses every day. I’ve seen patients die from strep, staph, E.Coli, and RSV, and another had to go on a ventilator for a week from the flu. I had another patient who got exposed to a mold that is usually found on bread, and it grew in his sinuses and he eventually died from that. Did you read about that in the news? No, because strange complications from infections are just not that unusual in an immunosuppressed setting. Just because you haven’t read about it, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen. I haven’t seen measles in my hospital, thank goodness, but I live in a part of the country that has a significantly better vaccination rate. The father states that the child will get his immunizations when he is able to, but that his immune system is not strong enough yet. This child will be well aware when he is able to get vaccinated, as he will get regular blood work, lumbar punctures, and bone marrow biopsies, to ensure he has also not relapsed. In the meantime, let’s all do our part to help those who are unable to get vaccinated, due to VALID MEDICAL reasons (immunosuppression, severe allergies to one of the ingredients, active chemo), and work together to follow public health guidelines that were set up to help our society as a whole, become healthier and safer.

        • dogctor

          I am well aware of a long list of opportunists that kill immunosupressed people- whether those on chemotherapy, post-transplants, HIV patients, diabetics etc. That isn’t the point here. If indeed this child is immunosupporessed how is it in his best interest to be exposed to a herd of kids who will risk his life with many different agents, some of which you listed?
          Will the measles vaccine protect him from getting MRSA if he is immunosuppressed? fungal pneumonia?
          No. But staying at home might.

          I have nothing but respect for a child and a family going through this nightmare–been there myself with family members. That isn’t the point, though. Critical thinking here demands objective information from his doctor–not his perception of what he heard. I don’t see that the journalist even spoke with Rhett’s doctor about his immune state–which might be depressed or recovered. We do not know, and I don’t approve of superficial journalism that fails to inform.

          • C’mon Darwin

            First off, you are changing your tune, you are now stating that your point is all about superficial journalism?!?! Your last point was that he could get the vaccination because you read an article/study that said children a year out from chemo are eligible for vaccinations (clearly, an accusation that this family is skipping the vaccines, despite not knowing exactly how far out from chemo this child is individually). Additionally, the journalist DID, in fact, speak to this child’s doctor; he is quoted in the article. She did not quote the physician saying that Rhett himself was ineligible for vaccines at this time, probably because we were already told that the child was going to get his vaccines when his immune system was able (as stated in the 3rd paragraph). I’m sure this author thinks that repetitive statements are also a sign of poor journalism. She does quote the doctor later in the article…
            “Rhett has been treated at UCSF, and his oncologist there, Dr. Robert Goldsby, said that Rhett is likely at higher risk of complications if he were to get measles. “When your immune system isn’t working as well, it allows many different infections to be worse,” he said. “It’s not just Rhett. There are hundreds of other kids in the Bay Area that are going through cancer therapy, and it’s not fair to them.”” By the doctor stating “it’s not just Rhett,” he is clearly stating that he is including Rhett in the currently immunocompromised group.

            And really, your suggestion is that anyone with compromised immune system should be required to stay at home so they don’t get sick? All to prevent your child from dealing with the discomfort of a vaccination? Or because you think listening to the CDC, public health experts and panels of Pediatricians, (and other medical specialties) means that you’re part of a “herd” that can’t think for themselves!?!? You think that proving you’re a “free thinker” means that you get dictate whether or not this child should attend school? And by suggesting that they should stay home, you’re again, putting your beliefs for your child ahead of someone else’s. You are making a choice regarding your child’s health and safety because you want to prove a point; these children (and their families) want to live and feel healthy, safe and normal by returning to a safe school environment after 4.5 years of chemo. You want to continue to alienate these individuals who have already dealt with so much, for no valid reason other than proving you’re not a sheep? Should the siblings of a child with leukemia also stay at home, so they don’t get the measles your unvaccinated child gave them? Should the parents have to stay home too? They could get exposed to something at work too. What if they teach or work at your unvaccinated child’s school? Where do you draw the line on these sorts of suggestions? These kids are at risk, no doubt about it, let’s do our part to help them avoid vaccine-PREVENTABLE illnesses. These children have been confined/quarantined for the past 4+ years, to treat a disease that they had no control over. Getting back into the community may put them at a slightly higher risk of infections, but in regards to their mental health and overall growth and development, it might have been worth the risk before so many people started opting out for PBEs. Now, however, the growing number of individuals who are treating vaccines like they are an exercise in social control, are making it that much harder for these poor kids to feel safe and normal. Yes, going to school is a risk, so is being home, walking outside, riding in a car, and (clearly) going to Disneyland. Quarantining these children further is not the answer. Working together to support herd immunity and overall public health is the best way to give these children, (among others with compromised immune systems), a sense of normalcy after dealing with so much already.

          • dogctor

            The only doctor statement quoted by journalsit is “Rhett has been treated at UCSF, and his oncologist there, Dr. Robert Goldsby, said that Rhett is likely at higher risk of complications if he were to get measles. “When your immune system isn’t working as well, it allows many different infections to be worse,” he said. ”

            Where in this statement do you see any details on Rhett’s measles titers, his eligibility for vaccination or explicit advice from his doctor to attend school with other kids increasing his risks of acquiring other opportunistic infections that vaccines don’t prevent as opposed to staying home until his immune system rebounds, or has it already recovered sufficiently for him to be vaccinated?

          • I did speak with Dr. Goldsby (Rhett’s oncologist). He confirmed that Rhett could not be vaccinated at this time.

          • Bronwyn Millar

            Well said.

      • Mark

        Are you speaking specificly about children or people in general with leukaemia?

        I am an adult who has been dealing with leukaemia and what your suggesting is not the case for me or others that I know!

        I am unable to receive live vaccinations due to my “new ” immune system. Therefore run the risk of contracting something like measles from a child who’s parents were against vaccinating their child. This concept escapes me and I will never understand a parents actions to NOT vaccinate their child/ children.

        You said ” Immuno-suppression is caused by treatment & recovery takes place in 12mos” I am over 3 yeas post transplant and am still unable to receive vaccinations!! – live vaccinations that is.

        I don’t understand why the concept of vaccinating ones child against disease is up for debate! ( this remark is not directed at you but merely a statement to all )

        • dogctor

          I am so sorry about your struggle with leukemia….glad you are 3 years post transplant and doing well. No, I was speaking specifically of children- childhood leukemia is different than adult onset leukemia…the articles on immune recovery post treatment I posted were specific to children. Here is where an expert on the subject, an oncologist + immunologist would be very helpful.

          The subject is up for debate because of medical autonomy- freedom to accept/reject medical procedures (informed consent) needs to be respected and upheld.

          When a conversation pivots to criminalizing individual’s private medical decisions, the pendulum has swung too far towards harassing & pressuring individuals with free will like a herd- which I find medically dangerous and philosophically offensive.

          If that happens, it should be charged as second-degree murder, defined as “dangerous conduct and the offender’s obvious lack of concern for human life”. Maybe if the anti-vaxxers were actually held accountable for their irresponsibility, they’d stop endangering those around them.” voted up by 56 people.

      • Matt

        Dogctor just owned all of you. Dad is going way too far.

      • Dismayed

        Can’t believe the arrogance of this man. His son is sick with cancer & suffers a weakened immune system. And he actually expects dozens of other families to respond instead of him just keeping his kid home from school for the 6 to 12 months it’s going to take for that little boy to rebuild his immune system. Unbelievable! So when he grows up and he has a problem, this Dad wants us all to help teach his kid that the whole world is going to tap dance around him to fix his issues? My God, what an ego! And I am not an anti-vaxer. He wants to violate their ability to choose what’s best for their child, because in his biased mind his child’s needs are more important than anyone else’s.

    • Jay
    • Jay

      M-M-R® II

      (MEASLES, MUMPS, and
      RUBELLA VIRUS VACCINE LIVE)

      DESCRIPTION

      M-M-R® II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live) is a live virus vaccine for vaccination
      against measles (rubeola), mumps, and rubella (German measles).

      M-M-R II is a sterile lyophilized preparation of (1) ATTENUVAX® (Measles Virus Vaccine Live), a
      more attenuated line of measles virus, derived from Enders’ attenuated Edmonston strain and
      propagated in chick embryo cell culture; (2) MUMPSVAX® (Mumps Virus Vaccine Live), the Jeryl LynnTM
      (B level) strain of mumps virus propagated in chick embryo cell culture; and (3) MERUVAX® II (Rubella
      Virus Vaccine Live), the Wistar RA 27/3 strain of live attenuated rubella virus propagated in WI-38 human
      diploid lung fibroblasts.{1,2}

      The growth medium for measles and mumps is Medium 199 (a buffered salt solution containing
      vitamins and amino acids and supplemented with fetal bovine serum) containing SPGA (sucrose,
      phosphate, glutamate, and recombinant human albumin) as stabilizer and neomycin.

      The growth medium for rubella is Minimum Essential Medium (MEM) [a buffered salt solution
      containing vitamins and amino acids and supplemented with fetal bovine serum] containing recombinant
      human albumin and neomycin. Sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin stabilizer are added to the individual virus
      harvests.

      The cells, virus pools, and fetal bovine serum are all screened for the absence of adventitious agents.

      The reconstituted vaccine is for subcutaneous administration. Each 0.5 mL dose contains not less
      than 1,000 TCID50 (tissue culture infectious doses) of measles virus; 12,500 TCID50 of mumps virus; and
      1,000 TCID50 of rubella virus. Each dose of the vaccine is calculated to contain sorbitol (14.5 mg), sodium
      phosphate, sucrose (1.9 mg), sodium chloride, hydrolyzed gelatin (14.5 mg), recombinant human albumin
      (≤0.3 mg), fetal bovine serum (<1 ppm), other buffer and media ingredients and approximately 25 mcg of
      neomycin. The product contains no preservative.

      Before reconstitution, the lyophilized vaccine is a light yellow compact crystalline plug. M-M-R II, when
      reconstituted as directed, is clear yellow.

      you are injecting yourself a fuckin live virus.!!!!!!!!

      • dogctor

        The virus has been attenuated….modified not to cause disease. You are not understanding the science, here.

    • Jay
    • mike

      If your requiring my child to be vaccinated, and my child dies because of the vaccination, should you be charged with murder?

    • Savannah

      It would be impossible to prove causation in a court of law.

      Even if the child was at home every hour of every day except when in school, there is no way to *prove* any given person is the one who passed along an airborne infectious disease.

      Could a parent have carried germs home from someone at work? Could a family member/guest coming over to visit have carried the germs?

      Was their child exposed to the germs when going for a dr or hospital visit (such as, for part of their cancer treatment/follow-up). Lots of sick people at doctors offices / hospitals!

      Also – what if they could reasonably deduce their child got sick from a vaccinated child, what then? Or what if they got sick from a child who was delayed getting their booster shot bc eg they were sick when they went to the doctor and had to reschedule their shot for 2 weeks later – would that parent still be liable?

      Is it worth risking your child’s health – and possibly their life – by counting other people’s child being immune, when there is no way to know, for certain, their immunity level without a blood test?

  • Steve

    Misinformation and peer pressure has led to the wholly unnecessary lack of vaccination, and peer pressure might help – no child should be exposed due to the irresponsibility of a minority of parents. Responsible parents can unite to improve this situation: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Urge-other-parents-to-vaccinate-their-kids-too-5387157.php

  • LightRanger

    Here’s the legal authority:
    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-2nd-circuit/1688862.html

    Now CA schools need to stand up to these nutjobs like NYC did.

    • Reality

      Unfortunately California is busily welcoming in millions of unvaccinated people who entered illegally. Schools are only one small part of this situation.

  • Mel

    Fact: 1.5 million children die every year on this planet because they are not vaccinated. If your unvaccinated child ever wants to travel or see the world when they are grown up they will have to get vaccinated anyway. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    • Ena Valikov

      The relevant mortality rate is from transmissible childhood disease preventable through immunization in the US. Can you tell me what that was last year? How many kids died of measles in California last year? Thanks.

      • CT14

        6200+ needlessly dead since 2000. Wakefield’s fraud was exposed in 1998.

        Needless deaths in the US are real. How about you pull your head out of the sand?

        • Ena Valikov

          I a.s.k.e.d. f.o.r. m.o.r.t.a.l.i.t.y. r.a.t.e. f.r.o.m. m.e.a.s.l.e.s. i.n. C.a.l.i.f.o.r.n.i.a. l.a.s.t. y.e.a.r. F.i.n.d. P.u.b. M.e.d. C.i.t.a.t.i.o.n. n.e.e.d.e.d.

          • Measles

            What you’re asking for doesn’t exist. Before the Disneyland outbreak there were 20 cases in the US in 2014. There were no deaths in those cases, and luckily there have been no deaths, yet, associated to the Disneyland outbreak. Hopefully there won’t be.

          • dogctor

            Awesome…thank you. WE are making progress 🙂

        • Savannah

          Brief article re Wakefield & autism:

          “Vaccines do not cause autism”
          http://vaxtruth.org/2011/08/vaccines-do-not-cause-autism/

    • Monica Sokoloski

      You’re assuming that people don’t know this.

    • Savannah

      Scientists wouldn’t dream of lumping health stats in the U.S. with those of the rest of the world. Third world countries, and even developing countries, often don’t have even basic sanitation, clean water to drink (or wash with), and suffer from malnutrition, plus possibly a whole host of other issues that interfere with good health.

      So even if tens of thousands of kids died of measles in say, Africa, that has no connection whatsoever to kids who died in U.S.

  • Heather Steingruebl

    My daughter is a leukemia survivor as well. We didn’t venture anywhere near Marin for 3 years out of fear for her life. I couldn’t get past the idea that her life was worth less than an earnestly held conspiracy theory.

    • I’d like to talk to you. Can you please email me laliferis (at) kqed (dot) org.

      • dogctor

        How about that? I think it is important to hear from public health representatives rather than another sample of ONE! Testimonials have zero validity in science….or have you not heard that yet?

        Another testimonial that fits your message…. rather than a science based perspective of, say, Rhett’s physician.?

        Wow…journalism today…..embarrassing!

        Are you a health science journalist or just another garden variety spinner?

      • purposeful exposure

        If you are worried that your child will contract a disease that their immune system cannot handle without death then by all means, keep your child home. If you knowingly send your immune system defective or suppressed child into the world at large YOU are the one endangering your child. It is not the responsibility of everyone to nerf the world for your special little snowflake.

      • Query

        Why don’t you address the obvious issue: Avoiding Marin is pointless since this country allows in millions of people from overseas without any health checks whatsoever. Illegal immigration is a key issue here, yet you guys are avoiding it like the plague.

    • Tim

      Well I hope you avoided all of the areas illegal aliens are present in this country as well since doctors are saying that the measles outbreak was likely brought in from international travel of some sort.

      • Heather Steingruebl

        Tim, vaccination rates among recent immigrants tend to be quite high. Marin County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in California. Because vaccine preventable diseases posed such a grave threat to our daughter, we used the available data on vaccine rates to stay away from Berkley, Marin and Whole Foods. We also had the glorious option of a public school with a near 100% vaccination rate for our daughter to attend while she recovered and we looked toward a brighter future. The fact that the majority of her peers were brown and talked different is an added bonus.

  • ravenarlowe

    Because those of us that are vaccinated never, ever get sick.

    • Karen

      We might. Women on birth control get pregnant too. But most don’t.

    • mem_somerville

      Willful neglect with impact to the community is not the same thing. If a piece of my porch falls on your kid because I don’t maintain it, it’s not the same legal issue if my porch falls during an earthquake.

    • CT14

      Willfully ignorant.

      Vaccines are not 100% effective, which is why you need 85% or better vaccination rates. Herd immunity is meant to protect those who cant be vaccinated for medical reasons AND those for whom the vaccine didn’t work.

      Your implication that vaccines don’t always work isn’t a “gotcha”. It’s understood, and the reason for mass vaccination.

      • ravenarlowe

        Are you up to date on all of the recommended adult vaccine boosters for Tdap, MMR, etc? If not, you’re bringing down the herd immunity rates.

  • ravenarlowe

    Because those of us that are vaccinated never get sick with vaccine-preventable illnesses, or illnesses that we don’t have vaccines for, which could be passed to an immuno-compromised child. Makes perfect sense. Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, if your kid’s health is that fragile, they shouldn’t be out in public places where they could be exposed to germs.

    • Easy Rider

      In deference to your skilled use of sarcasm, I’ll try to keep the rest of this comment sarcasm free. I’ll also not respond to your flawed facts. Will you listen to yourself for a moment? You think this kid who has missed school because he battled cancer, now has to miss MORE school because you are too selfish to vaccinate your kids? How about you keep your kids home and this kid goes to school? That would be fair.

      • ravenarlowe

        I have an immuno-compromised kid that can’t be vaccinated, he has a medical exemption from his doctors. Do I expect the world to cater to my kid? Nope.

        • Joe

          Guess you didn’t read the part in which in which the request had an exemption for those who couldn’t be vaccinated for “medical reasons” ( your child). Indeed your child is the exact person who benefits from herd immunity. It’s truly sad that YOU cater to fools who follow “theories” without any basis in science to the possible detriment of your own child.

          • ravenarlowe

            I don’t cater to fools who follow “theories” without any basis in science, which is why I take the steps necessary to protect my child rather than risking my child’s life and then bragging about it to the media. The millions of adults over the age of 25 whose childhood vaccines have likely worn off by now are a much bigger threat to my child than the less than 1% of all US children that aren’t vaccinated.

          • Joe

            Sure case in point the recent measles outbreak (majority not vaccinated)…..
            Anyone interested can go to the CDC website for adult vaccine schedule.

          • Reality Check

            We’re importing a herd of disease-ridden people from the Third World on a regular basis; Obama’s giving them amnesty. That’s the biggest source of these problems.

          • Savannah

            But at the same time, Ravenarlowe’s child may get measles because he has not been vaccinated. And if he is going to public places – stores, playgrounds, doctors offices, etc – that’s not so unlikely.

            And he can then pass the measles along to someone like Rhett.

            I’ve asked this question in other comments:

            Is it really worth it to risk Rhett getting measles?

        • Easy Rider

          Do I believe a word of this? Nope. Nice try anti-vaxxer.

          • Savannah

            You don’t have to believe.

            What you can’t do is force YOUR beliefs onto someone else.

    • CT14

      No, measles was eliminated in the US in 2000. It’s made a resurgence thanks to antivaxxers who would rather be live in a proven fraud and a playboy bunny than the 15+ years of follow up studies or the decades of data.

      Thus kid is who is meant to be protected by herd immunity. The fact you think that people should be allowed to toss public health aside because they are willfully ignorant is why we need to change public health laws.

      • ravenarlowe

        There were 86 confirmed measles cases in 2000, per the CDC. I think what you mean is that measles is no longer endemic in the US, all of the cases are either from vaccine shedding or imported. Vaccine shedding is just as much of a risk for my child as the illness.

      • Duh

        If it were eradicated, people not vaccinating wouldn’t be a problem. The INCREASE in measles is obviously coming from overseas, aka immigration. Measles doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere among a population where it’s eradicated.

  • mem_somerville

    Kudos to the parents for taking this stand. Not just for their kid, but all the other kids in this situation. My nephew relied on the herd during his treatment too. Also in remission, and now back to full vaccinated status.

    And good on you for persisting through the excruciating process of chemo. Parents who fear vaccines for unfounded internet claims should have a look at what *that* looks like.

  • dogctor

    I am not surprised with the vitriolic herd, which comes out of the woodwork in the media lately, to pressure others to think and be a member of a herd. There is no reason this father can’t get his child immunized- instead of infringing on others’ medical autonomy.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25007393

    • oh_please

      So nice to see that Rhett’s pediatrician joined us to comment! Since you know everything, Internet doctor, I’d like to hear more of your thoughts around medical autonomy!

      • Ena Valikov

        I think it would be great to get Rhetts pediatrician to comment on whether vaccinating him is contraindicated. I highly doubt you will find a medical doctor who believes medical autonomy isn’t a profoundly important ethical principle- the crux of this story, though, is balancing it against beneficence.

    • John

      But that’s the problem. That child is at unnecessary risk for a year. That’s the main point of this story

    • CT14

      The point is others should not have “medical autonomy” when it come to proven public health measures.

      We don’t let parents refuse medication or surgeries for their children even if they think that prayer is the only answer. We protect children and prosecute their parents for neglect.

      It’s exactly the same here. Antivaxxers. *believe* despite all evidence to the contrary that vaccines are bad. That’s irrational and endangers public health.

      There is no scientific controversy over vaccines. There’s only the poorly informed and willfully ignorant against every shred of data for decades.

      • Monica Sokoloski

        There is scientific controversy. Lots of it. Acquaint yourself with the facts.

        • TBGR_FTL

          There is a cultural controversy, not a scientific one. Acquiant yourself with the terms.

          • dogctor

            Your name is?
            Your educational level is?
            Your experience as a public health servant is….?

            Dr. Ena Valikov

          • Monica Sokoloski

            Perhaps you don’t think you’re qualified to inform yourself and make an educated decision. I however feel that I’m perfectly capable of doing so. All people have the moral obligation to research medical decisions for themselves, especially when their children are involved. I know what a peer reviewed research paper looks like and I’ve seen more than a few that question the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Do I have to have a doctorate in order to use my eyes and report a simple fact?

          • 69GeorgeWBush69

            Uh, you’re a doctor of veterinary medicine, not a M.D. Now, don’t you have some anal glands to express or something?

          • Monica Sokoloski

            No my friend. There are actually scientific papers questioning vaccines, scientists questioning vaccines, doctors questioning vaccines, and government data sets that put a lot of the typical pro-vaccine claims in a dubious light. I think that’s sufficient to call this a scientific controversy. But I’m sure you disagree, and you’re entitled to your opinion.

      • dogctor

        Because an anonymous unaccountable, quite possibly uneducated or biased offensive poster who labels people to stigmatize them- on the internet says so?

        Ena Valikov

        Your name is?

      • dogctor

        I am glad your world is black and white and everything in it is this clear and tidy, but life isn’t like that.

        1) the term anti-vaxxer is offensive. I’ve been vaccinating professionally for 25 years and have never met one of them. I have met many people who have a right to be informed about benefits and risks of vaccines.

        2) There is no scientific controversy over the fact that every single intervention, including vaccines has benefits and risks-which are individual and need to be decided on by the patient and their private doctor–not an anonymous unaccountable poster, a media blitz and a mob on the internet.

        3) May the universe protect others from idiotic zealots like you and may it bite you- when you are persecuted for making a valid medical decision that others disagree with.

    • C’mon Darwin

      You have no idea how long it takes for any one individual patient to recover from years of chemotherapy. I work with this patient population, and every patient’s bone marrow and immune system recovers differently. Yes, eventually this child will be eligible to restart and complete his vaccination series, and as stated in the article, he will get his vaccines at that time. Believe me, this family is under regular medical care and they certainly don’t need a “dogctor” providing them with advice based on a single study he read (which although I give you credit for at least using a valid medical platform, the study you chose is done on 90 children in Iran, not likely the best source for current best practices in Pediatric Hematology). The article says he finished his treatment last year, which, seeing as it is January 2015, could mean, he just finished chemo in December. Your own research said that immunity could take a year, meaning he might not be eligible until December 2015. This patient population has been through enough to not have to deal with the ignorance of a select few. Your child can’t stand an injection? Cried at the sight of a needle? You’re afraid of a sore arm for a day, or perhaps a fever? Maybe a rash? (Weird, those are also some of the symptoms of a measles infection).These kids get ports placed in surgery, multiple bone marrow biopsies, get stuck with needles on a weekly, if not daily basis, get monthly lumbar punctures with chemo, and spend months in the hospital. They didn’t choose this. They look forward to returning to school, because it gives them the opportunity to feel normal. They know they are putting themselves at a slight risk already, but now, these kids can’t even return to school without the additional fear that they will be exposed to something that is vaccine preventable. As many anti-vaxxers state, in a developed country, measles, is a disease that is somewhat self limiting, with a rash and a fever. However, in this child’s case, he is part of a population that is at the biggest risks of complications from illnesses, especially ones like measles. And yes, I’d love to pretend that letting you opt out of vaccinations is just your choice and part of your medical autonomy, but the fact is, your choice affects others, and the health of the community as a whole, or, the herd as a whole. Ask the family of a child with leukemia how they feel about “medical autonomy” when they’re pressed with the “choice” or 3+ years of chemo or imminent death (which could be days to months, depending on their counts at diagnosis). If you don’t want to be “a member of a herd,” then leave. That is also your choice. Go create a creepy little school, full of conspiracy theories, selfish attitudes and unvaccinated children. This vaccine-supporting “herd” will work together to improve the health of its community, including those with valid medical reasons for opting out, and follow public health recommendations and guidelines. Then we’ll let Darwin do his thing.

      Additionally, your insensitivity is astonishing, how can you even dare to suggest that this family is not following proper medical advice by being unvaccinated at this point? This family has probably seen more brilliant doctors over the past year than you have in your entire life. And, if you weren’t skimming the article for details that only support your cause, you would have read that the family said he will get his vaccines when his immune system is healthy enough. Unless you have seen this individual child’s lab results, bone marrow biopsies and medication list (among other things), you would have no way of knowing the status of his immune system, even though your 90 person study in Iran suggests that he’s eligible. I know this will fall on deaf ears, but, for the sake of the community as a whole, including individuals with severe allergies, infants, elderly and those with compromised immune systems, please think (and care) about how your decisions can affect others. Please step outside your selfish, “herd mentality,” conspiracy theory and fear-mongering bubble, pull on your big boy/girl panties and get on board with the guidelines of public health and pediatrician supported guidelines. Let your child get their shots. Sure, he/she may cry for a bit, but I’d hope you agree that it’s better than, for example, getting 75 people diagnosed with measles after a visit to Disneyland. Who am I kidding, preventing your child’s tears and sore arm are clearly more valid and valuable to society than anything else, ever.

      • dogctor

        There is a very simple solution to this dilemma–get Rhett’s doctor on the phone and publish an interview with him/her.

        As a general rule I discount anyone who labels people an “anti-vaxxer” and more so people who chose to accuse others while remaining under a cloak of anonymity which makes them completely unaccountable.

        Ena Valikov- someone whose job it is to administer vaccines to protect you from zoonosis by a life-threatening disease for which there is no cure.

        • socal

          I’d love to see you actually RESPOND to the irrefutable statements and sane, logical information C’mon Darwin posted rather than continuing to hid behind your tired, weak arguments.

      • socal

        Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being the voice of reason and sanity on this horrific thread.

  • Xanadon’t

    The PBE percentage numbers for each school are very misleading. It does not mean that all those children are completely unvaccinated. They could have declined or delayed as few as one of the required vaccinations (which are Polio, DTaP, MMR, Hepatitis B & Chickenpox) and it still goes on the record as a PBE. Honestly I could care less if a healthy kid has their Chickenpox or Hep B vaccinations. I trust parents to make the decision if their kid is at risk for Hep B and if they think Chickenpox is worth vaccinating against.

  • disqus_wvMLVA1hDr

    Did he ever receive his first mmr? He didnt get diagnosed until well after the age when he should have had his first dose. Or were his parents vaccine refusers too, until he got leukemia?

    • Chel

      Even if he did get his first dose, he wouldn’t have been able to get the second (given between 4 and 6). So he could still be compromised.

      • joseyWales00

        You said it , vaccines don’t work!

    • Rhett received his first MMR around 1 year. But chemotherapy generally wipes out the antibodies he would have had from the vaccine. The recommendation for children who have been through chemotherapy is to “redo” all the vaccines. As it says in the post, Rhett’s immune system is still rebuilding. Doctors are assessing when he will be recovered enough from the chemo to begin getting his vaccines again.

      • dogctor

        So says you-What are his titers? guess you haven’t heard me ask you to post an interview with his actual doctor for us to formulate our own educated opinions instead of basing it on your biased one.

        Journalism in this country is a joke-designed to dumb people down rather than inform them.
        Thanks for your contribution!

  • Bronwyn Millar

    It needs to be said – Vaccination is NOT immunization. About 60% of the recently infected in the States were fully vaccinated. The vaccine does not work very well.

    • 69GeorgeWBush69

      You are totally jumping to conclusions with your last sentence. Could it be that, because a majority of people in the US are vaccinated, and that vaccines do not have a 100% successful immunization rate, that most people who contract measles in the US would be those who received the vaccine? What would really support your argument is if you showed that getting the vaccine puts you at higher risk of getting measles than not getting it. But you can’t because that data doesn’t exist.

      • Savannah

        So what if just one vaccinated child at Rhett’s school DID get the measles, and passed it along to Rhett? Is it worth it to risk Rhett getting seriously ill, or even dying?

  • CT14

    There should be no personal exemptions. Only medical exemptions. Vaccines are safe and proven medicine with decades of data. The antivaxxers date from fraud Andrew Wakefield’s “study” of 12 cherry – picked kids at a birthday party, a “study that cost him his license and got him 36 convictions for fraud. No amount of large follow up studies disproving any fears about vaccines have had any effect. It’s time to remove the PBE.

    • Monica Sokoloski

      They are not proven in any sense of the word. Can you provide any study that proves safety or efficacy, or are you just going off of what your doctor and the CDC says? There are mountains of evidence that question both the safety and efficacy of many if not most of the vaccines. Are you familiar with this research/evidence? If not, you should be before you speak with such certainty on a subject you know very little about.

    • ravenarlowe

      A classic argument from someone that’s never read the study.

      • Joe

        I’ve read the study, the partial retraction, and the full retraction. The results could not replicated. The other authors (except one) removed their support. Wakefield was a payed expert for US lawyers suing US vaccine manufacturers at this time. Indeed some of the patients in the study were children of parents suing vaccine manufacturers. Britain’s General Medical Council investigated Wakefield, found he deliberately falsified his research and barred him from practice in the UK. So just what is your point?

      • Monica Sokoloski

        Not fond of responding directly to what someone says?

    • Also

      It’s time to remove illegal aliens who bring in all sorts of diseases.

  • Nope

    Infants should not be vaccinated due to the immune system and blood-brain barrier not closed. For the same reasons so there’s that…

    • TBGR_FTL

      You are an ignoramus.

  • isabelle

    “If we cannot be free to make informed, voluntary decisions about which
    pharmaceutical products we are willing to risk our lives for, then we are not free in any
    sense of the word. Because if the State can tag, track down and force individuals against
    their will to be injected with biological products of unknown toxicity today, then there
    will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the
    greater good tomorrow.” Barbara Loe Fisher, Cofounder and President of the
    National Vaccine Information Center

    I believe it is the right of the individual to make this decision and as a parent to make
    the decision for your child. I believe there are risks involved in Vaccinations. I believe
    one needs to be very informed when making this private decision and understand why
    they are making this choice while weighing all possible consequences. Since 1988 over a
    billion dollars has been awarded to families who have been harmed by vaccines from the
    Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund. Some children have had at least 24 vaccinations by
    the age of 5, if their parents follow the 2012 CDC Immunization Schedule.

    “Despite scientists’ best efforts, eliminating risk is impossible. Vaccines are biological
    products with biological effects, says Juhani Eskola, deputy director general of Finland’s
    National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki. We can never make them 100%
    safe”.

    Doctors have published books explaining the risk of Immunizations, these risks do not
    match what the CDC publishes. In my opinion some people do not believe the CDC and
    lack trust for the system. In my opinion some individuals have a hard time swallowing
    some of the information other Doctors put forth in support of vaccinations. Between
    1955 to 1963 the poliovirus vaccines where infected with the SV40 virus. SV40 is a
    naturally occurring virus that infects monkeys. Sv40 in clinical studies with animals has
    been shown to create tumors.

    • Monica Sokoloski

      This is what it comes down to really. Freedom.

      • Michael Morgan

        I agree. they are free to stay home. Everybody’s happy.

        • dogctor

          The entire school or Rhett?
          whose immune status may quite possibly make it perfectly safe/ or not -to be vaccinated?

        • Monica Sokoloski

          Sure. If they stay home, then they should get a tax break so they don’t have to pay into the school system. Sounds great to me.

    • isabelle

      “Despite scientists’ best efforts, eliminating risk is impossible. Vaccines are biological
      products with biological effects, says Juhani Eskola, deputy director general of Finland’s
      National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki. We can never make them 100%
      safe”.

    • Jay
  • ludicrous_speed

    It’s simple, parents of unvaccinated kids should homeschool them. After all, when you don’t vaccinate, you’re keeping your money out of the pockets of eeeevill Big Pharma. So you should easily be able to afford to quit your job and become 100% responsible for your child’s education. Problem solved!

  • Monica Sokoloski

    Has it occurred to any of you folks that vaccine preventable illness are only a small fraction of the illnesses this kid could contract and possibly die from? Why are we focusing on measles/vaccines? If he could DIE from getting sick, then he should absolutely not be around a bunch of germs, because you can’t vaccinate against most of them. School isn’t the place for him until his immune system has recovered. It’s simple really.

    • C’mon Darwin

      Yes, it has occurred to me. School is also, probably one of the only times the child has been allowed to feel like a child. Mental health is a huge issue for children who have been through an ordeal like this, and most of the kids I’ve seen get more excited about the opportunity to return to school than they do about Christmas. Yes, he is at risk by going to school, but vaccine preventable illnesses are….preventable! By focusing on those that are preventable, he can minimize his overall risks. He’s been going through treatment for years and putting himself at risk all the time, from chemo toxicity to organ damages, to relapse and infection. I think we should all be able to understand that this kid, and individuals like him, deserve the opportunity to feel normal and safe, by being in safe, healthy school.

      • Monica Sokoloski

        Apparently his immune system he is at incredible risk. I think the child’s life is more important than feeling like he’s just like everyone else. At least for the 12 months or so that doctors say it takes for the immune system to recover. If you can’t vaccinate for every virus, then it just isn’t safe for him to be at school. Safety is more important than happiness. At least for a time.

        • C’mon Darwin

          It’s not just 12 months, it’s the prior 4.5 years, plus the additional 12 months. It’s the fact that you’re choosing to put someone else’s child at risk, and taking away some of his opportunities by actively choosing not to vaccinate. It’s the opinion that your choice matters more than his or his parents. It’s about the fact that these kids are behind developmentally and physically, because they’ve been confined to the hospital and homes for so long. It’s that many of them have to end up on anti-depressants after all they’ve been through, because they haven’t had as much exposure to others. It’s not “happiness” that I’m concerned about. It’s about minimizing the preventable risks, so that the child can grow and develop with his peers as much as possible. You try staying at home for 5 years. See if you can stand it. Please don’t try to simplify it to telling any person with a compromised immune system to “stay home” or “just avoid places of possible exposure.” Since you made the choice to increase the population’s risk of developing measles, you should have to accept the consequences, not those who were not afforded the luxury of having such a choice. Unfortunately, we can’t track anti-vaxxers every move. We can’t put them in a bubble to prevent the spread of their spreading of PREVENTABLE illnesses, or confine them to their homes, as you’re suggesting for others.

          And, it’s not just about Rhett and his experience with leukemia and chemotherapy. There are lots of reasons why someone would have a compromised immune system for life. Kids who have had an organ transplant, do you expect them to stay at home forever? If the tables were turned and your unvaccinated child had to stay home for 5 years, or the rest of his schooling for that matter, would you feel this strongly about “staying home” as a reasonable option? I’m fairly certain that you would be singing a different tune. But, clearly, it’s never been about others having a choice in the matter.

          • Monica Sokoloski

            I’m not choosing anything. I think the discussion about vaccines is irrelevant. Do you understand that there are a great many of non vaccine preventable illnesses that can kill this child? If you understand that, then how on earth could you justify putting that kid in a germ factory?

  • TBGR_FTL

    Lots of ignorant armchair physicians in here thinking they know more than the worldwide medical community because they read a few articles from Mercola or NaturalNews. What a bunch of ignoramuses.

    • Monica Sokoloski

      All those stupid people who like to research facts instead of naively taking orders from their government. What idiots.

      • joseyWales00

        A natural-born ass-kisser…

  • Monica Sokoloski

    Has it occurred to any of you folks that vaccine preventable illness are only a small fraction of the illnesses this kid could contract and possibly die from? Why are we focusing on measles/vaccines? If he could DIE from getting sick, then he should absolutely not be around a bunch of germs, because you can vaccinate against most of them. School isn’t the place for him until his immune system has recovered. It’s simple really.

    • joseyWales00

      All you know is fear… that’s all you have to preach.

    • joseyWales00

      You need to find yourself a bubble 🙂 Or a hamster ball.

  • Jay
  • Jay
  • Jay

    M-M-R® II

    (MEASLES, MUMPS, and
    RUBELLA VIRUS VACCINE LIVE)

    DESCRIPTION

    M-M-R® II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live) is a live virus vaccine for vaccination
    against measles (rubeola), mumps, and rubella (German measles).

    M-M-R II is a sterile lyophilized preparation of (1) ATTENUVAX® (Measles Virus Vaccine Live), a
    more attenuated line of measles virus, derived from Enders’ attenuated Edmonston strain and
    propagated in chick embryo cell culture; (2) MUMPSVAX® (Mumps Virus Vaccine Live), the Jeryl LynnTM
    (B level) strain of mumps virus propagated in chick embryo cell culture; and (3) MERUVAX® II (Rubella
    Virus Vaccine Live), the Wistar RA 27/3 strain of live attenuated rubella virus propagated in WI-38 human
    diploid lung fibroblasts.{1,2}

    The growth medium for measles and mumps is Medium 199 (a buffered salt solution containing
    vitamins and amino acids and supplemented with fetal bovine serum) containing SPGA (sucrose,
    phosphate, glutamate, and recombinant human albumin) as stabilizer and neomycin.

    The growth medium for rubella is Minimum Essential Medium (MEM) [a buffered salt solution
    containing vitamins and amino acids and supplemented with fetal bovine serum] containing recombinant
    human albumin and neomycin. Sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin stabilizer are added to the individual virus
    harvests.

    The cells, virus pools, and fetal bovine serum are all screened for the absence of adventitious agents.

    The reconstituted vaccine is for subcutaneous administration. Each 0.5 mL dose contains not less
    than 1,000 TCID50 (tissue culture infectious doses) of measles virus; 12,500 TCID50 of mumps virus; and
    1,000 TCID50 of rubella virus. Each dose of the vaccine is calculated to contain sorbitol (14.5 mg), sodium
    phosphate, sucrose (1.9 mg), sodium chloride, hydrolyzed gelatin (14.5 mg), recombinant human albumin
    (≤0.3 mg), fetal bovine serum (<1 ppm), other buffer and media ingredients and approximately 25 mcg of
    neomycin. The product contains no preservative.

    Before reconstitution, the lyophilized vaccine is a light yellow compact crystalline plug. M-M-R II, when
    reconstituted as directed, is clear yellow.

  • Kevin Moore

    I don’t think we should have laws dictating medical decisions or that discriminate against children because of their parent’s decisions. That’s a dangerous path to tread and it has implications for many topics outside of vaccination. However, as a society there are other ways to eliminate dangerous ideologies. Personally I think anti-vaccers need to consistently have their stupidity shoved down their throat. Make them realize the damage they’re doing and the risk they are reentering into our country.

    • dogctor

      I was going to upvote you until I read this : “Personally I think anti-vaccers need to consistently have their stupidity shoved down their throat. Make them realize the damage they’re doing and the risk they are reentering into our country”
      Personally, I discount anyone who name calls and labels people over a decision you disagree with.

      • Thomas Baldwin

        it must suck now that the world hates you for being antivaccine. But it’s really funny for me.

        • dogctor

          Genius, I make a living giving vaccines–have been licensed by the State of Caifornia to do so for >25years. You?

  • grimecl

    No child should die if a vaccine can prevent it.

  • Cathy McMahan

    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/167/5/598.long Risk of Childhood Leukemia Associated with Vaccination, Infection, and Medication Use in Childhood
    The Cross-Canada Childhood Leukemia Study

  • g

    you all were vaccinated,because you parents and grandparents knew how bad it can get if you weren’t-yet you choose to indanger everybody around you!There is NOTHING in the bible which states you should not get vaccinated-however remember the first comandment!We all believe in different things and try to protect our children as best as we can-there is a reason why there is vaccinations-to protect EVERYONE.Please think about it-ask your grandparents-do your research-vaccinate!!!!!!

    • Ann

      Yeh? Grandparents also thought cigarettes were not harmful and butter was good for you.

  • Frank

    What a selfish and uneducated moron! 7% of children are supposed to be home schooled because of his one child! First of all, his child can get measles from the newly vaccinated kids in his own school since they are injected with a live virus. His child can also get measles from going to the doctor, or to the store, or to the park, etc.! Should they not allow unvaccinated population to go to these places, too, to “protect” his child?! Second of all, his child can get anything – flu, cold, germs – easily since he has weak immune system. Conclusion – keep your child at home, home school him, let him rebuild his immune system away from kids whether vaccinated or not. Be a responsible parent and do not blame the others who made best choices for their kids. The problem is YOU, not the unvaccinated children. Do not get on the news and in the papers to advertise your ignorance and stupidity.

  • Frank

    What a selfish and uneducated moron! 7% of children are supposed to be home schooled because of his one child! First of all, his child can get measles from the newly vaccinated kids in his own school since they are injected with a live virus. His child can also get measles from going to the doctor, or to the store, or to the park, etc.! Should they not allow unvaccinated population to go to these places, too, to “protect” his child?! Second of all, his child can get anything – flu, cold, germs – easily since he has weak immune system. Conclusion – keep your child at home, home school him, let him rebuild his immune system away from kids whether vaccinated or not. Be a responsible parent and do not blame the others who made best choices for their kids. The problem is YOU, not the unvaccinated children. Do not get on the news and in the papers to advertise your ignorance and stupidity.

  • Diane

    This father asked the right question at the end. “is it my responsibility to isolate my children from your children?”
    Well, yes, Mr. Krawitt, it IS YOUR responsibility. It is not my job to protect your kid. Your son could get a cold at school which could send him into a tailspin. Your quite fortunate that your child has survived. I have a feeling you haven’t met any of the many, many parents who lost their children to vaccines.

    • diane

      Please excuse the typo in the second to last sentence. **You’re quite fortunate.

  • I have deleted a comment below that included profanity. Here are our community guidelines: http://www.kqed.org/about/help/discuss.jsp

  • Funny he should say this…according to Johns Hopkins Univ. those with immuno-compromised systems due to chemo/cancer should not be around anyone who has had a recent live vaccine (including measles). This info can be found on page 113 of this patient guide:

    http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/kimmel_cancer_center/patient_information/Patient%20Guide%20Final.pdf

    It says nothing about coming in contact with anyone who is unvaccinated. Looks like this guy has got it backwards…those who have been vaccinated pose a very real risk to his child. He better get his facts straight, especially in light of the rush to vaccinate/booster right now.

  • ryan

    To those who deny the science behind anti vaccines http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/25/mmr-vaccine-caused-autism.aspx

    Look outside the money hungry usa. Other governments admit this vaccine can do harm. Read the uk case studies.

  • Marie

    We don’t know why our children are sicker today than in generations past. JRA, diabetes, autism, and asthma are epidemic. Cancer is also plaguing the young. I’m so sorry your child has suffered. We need a study to see what group of children are healthier: the Vaccinated or the Unvaccinated. If I had it to do all over again, with what I know and have learned too late, I would not vaccinate my children in the across the board one size fits all manner it is done today. I believe the vaccines have caused much of this generations ill health.

  • DMiller

    I won’t use vaccines developed from the tissue of aborted babies. If you agree, sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/centers-for-disease-control-urge-merck-to-revive-single-dose-measles-and-mumps-vaccines

  • Jim

    I am proud to say that I nor anyone in my family will NOT ever be vaccinated ever again. In the LAND OF THE FREE, you should NOT be FORCED to take anything into your body that you don’t condone.

    If you believe so much in Vaccines, then Vaccinate your own kid. If it works so great, then you have nothing to worry about.

    Vaccines CAUSE Disease. If you want to take the chance, then get vaccinated. I am not saying that you should not have the option. What I am saying is that you SHOULD have an option.

    There are plenty of people that had Measles that are fine.
    Plenty of people who have had Chicken Pocks are fine.
    Plenty of people who are Vaccinated have got health issues.
    You should be FREE to make the choice for yourself, after weighing the pros and cons.

    I will say that For me, it would be OVER MY DEAD BODY that I am forced to vaccinate.

  • JubileeL

    Sorry, but why should anyone be forced to do anything? Don’t like that not everyone is vaccinated? Don’t want your kid to get sick? Keep him home! There are plenty of good educational programs online now – yes, even for young kids. Homeschooling is an option when it’s the health of YOUR child you are worried about. You can’t worry about everyone else’s kid – you are responsible for your own child.

  • Becky

    Vaccines also kill people. In fact more people died last year from the vaccine than from measles themselves… SO if my kid dies from the vaccine is THAT considered second degree murder? Hmmm… as long as we are all “getting facts straight” every individual who receives the MMR vaccine sheds the live virus for 2-3 weeks after receiving the vaccine, endangering EVERYONE around them vaccinated and un-vaccinated alike… including this little boy. So the amazing irony is, this boy is in more danger going to school with vaccinated children than he would be with un-vaccinated children.

  • Ken

    FACT, far more kids DIE from the the MMR vaccine than die from Measles, Mumps or Rubella. Do you really want to force kids to take something that causes adverse reactions to one in six kids, severe reactions to one in 30,000 and has KILLED many children. Most reports say over 100 deaths cause by the vaccine, but ZERO deaths from the actual diseases the vaccine is supposed to prevent during the same time period.

  • Pingback: TissuGlu, measles, and herbs: Cool stuff I read this week | Teagan Kuruna()

  • Scott

    Has anyone mentioned that the outbreak could have been caused by the vaccine itself. The mmr vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine meaning a weakened live version of the measles is used. Rare but possible it can take hold. That is why weakened immune cannot have. The CDC refuse to comment on what strain broke out here in Cali. Just don’t be so quick to judge. It may have been a Vaccinated child that got everyone sic!

  • Scott

    Last year 0 died from measles. 108 from mmr vaccine. VAERS the government reporting agency That keeps track of deaths from disease. If they are truly worried time to home school. You cannot force people to vaccinate.

  • mike

    Medical ethics are clear: No one should be forced to undergo a medical treatment without informed consent and without their agreement to the treatment. We condemn the forced sterilization of the ’20s and ’30s, the Tuskegee medical experiments infecting black inmates and the Nazi medicine that included involuntary “Euthanasia,” experimentation and sterilization. How can we force vaccination without consent? Vaccination is a medical treatment with risks including death. It is totally antithetical to all ethics in medicine to mandate that risk to others. If you think the government has the right to forcibly vaccinate people – for the good of society – what is to prevent them from forcibly sterilizing people, or forcibly euthanizing people, or forcibly implanting a tracking device – for the good of society? You may think those examples are extreme (although two-thirds have happened), but the principle is the same. You are allowing government to have ultimate authority over your body.

  • Savannah

    Vaccines do not *always* work. Some kids get the disease from the vaccine itself. Vaccines / booster shots wear off sooner in some kids than others. And some kids may have to delay their vaccines / boosters because they have a cold or some other minor illness that is a contraindication for getting the shots. And yet some other kids may not be able to get vaccines /boosters at all for medical reasons (allergy to vaccine ingredients, or even the same as this Krawitt child – a weakened immune system)

    At any given moment, it is IMPOSSIBLE to detect any individual child’s immunity level without a blood test.

    So maybe a better question would be:

    Should a parent with an immuno-compromised child be allowed to risk their child’s health by sending them to school, knowing that, even if every student has up-to-date vaccine records, they are putting their child at risk?

  • sunshine

    If your child is too sick to be vaccinated, then keep your own child home until HE can be vaccinated. You expect everyone else to get vaccinated, except your own? How do you know the other children aren’t too sick to be vaccinated either? These are tough choices for you, and honestly, since most of the people getting sick from the measles HAVE BEEN VACCINATED, why would you risk your child’s life sending him out in public when he could STILL get sick. I’m sorry your child was recently so ill, but you seriously have no clue what the other families are going through, and WHY they opted out.

    • Savannah

      Good point.

      Plus, their child is likely visiting the doctor / hospital for cancer care, which is exposing him to many infectious diseases from other patients going to the doctor. Therefore, other children at the school are being put at risk by him.

Author

Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for "Best Topical Reporting" from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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