Anti-Vax’ers Lose In California

Remember the bit I posted a while back about autism causing whooping cough?  Some parents, afraid that vaccines caused autism despite plentiful evidence to the contrary and even outright debunking of the original “study” that first made the claim, have been deciding not to get their children immunized, including opting out of the whooping cough vaccine.  Not surprisingly, that resulted in an increase in the incidence of the disease.  That won’t be happening in California any more, however, thanks to a new law going into effect.

The new statute requires that all middle and high school students be vaccinated against whooping cough before the next school year begins in the fall.  The disease, also known as pertussis, is highly infectious and the vaccine does not provide permanent immunity.  The effectiveness of the vaccine begins to fade after ten years.  The vaccination should be covered by health insurance and is available at no cost as part of the federal Vaccine for Children program for those without insurance.

“A big reason the legislature passed this was because of the pertussis epidemic was very big this year,” says state public health medical officer Dr. Eileen Yamada, “and there was a realization that we had significant number of susceptible students in schools.”  There were more than 7,800 cases of whooping cough reported in 2010, of which 10 were fatal.  “It’s always important to be vigilant and make sure our young people are safe,” Yamada says.

For those who are willing to endanger the lives of other peoples’ children because they buy into pseudo-science and media hype, reason and sanity has, for once, at least, won out in California.  Kids will either have to be immunized or be kept home away from other children.  The only problem that I see with this legislation is that it is limited to middle and high school students; it should be applied to children of all ages.

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