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Several legal challenges to the new state immunization mandate are expected on the heels of infighting among medical experts, nonprofits and celebrities.
California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped.— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015
Carrey clarified his position in subsequent tweets:
I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015
The nonprofit health care provider AIDS Healthcare Foundation was quick to rebuff Carrey and other celebrities speaking out.
One month prior to the December Disneyland measles epidemic, when one unvaccinated woman infected 131 Californians and other visitors—70 percent of whom hadn’t been vaccinated—AHF launched an AirheadCelebs campaign to combat “the undue influence certain celebrities are having on the entire vaccine issue.”
“We thank Governor Brown for quickly signing SB277 into law and for recognizing this bill as an important means of protecting the public health of Californians, particularly young schoolchildren,” AHF President Michael Weinstein said in a statement. “We also want to sharply rebuke ‘Dumb & Dumber’ star Jim Carrey for calling Governor Brown a fascist for signing the bill. Carrey will soon have a place of prominence on our ‘AirheadCelebs’ hall of shame website.”
But Carrey wasn’t alone.
The National Vaccine Information Center, a nonprofit supporting religious exemptions to immunization, decried the state denying a school education to children who can’t prove they’ve received multiple doses of 10 federally recommended vaccines.
“There is no public health emergency in California or any other state that justifies giving up our human and civil rights,” NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher said in a statement. “These kinds of oppressive laws are a prescription for tyranny and will lead to fear and distrust of government health officials and medical doctors.”
SB 277 does exempt children with allergies or immune-system deficiencies from having to be immunized, and parents still have the option to homeschool unvaccinated kids. But NVIC argues not every family can afford to homeschool their children and parents could be fined or imprisoned if their kids are truant.
State Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician, wrote the bill—fraught with lobbying on both sides of the issue—targeting the 3 percent of unimmunized children in California. Though a small minority, in communities where half of students go unvaccinated “herd immunity” protecting the vulnerable from disease is jeopardized.
“The parental choice question is big and important, but what is more important here is individual and larger public health,” Dr. Dean A. Blumberg, an infectious disease expert at University of California, Davis, told The New York Times. “There is no doubt in the scientific community that there are no dangers in vaccines.”
That won’t stop several expected legal challenges, the most compelling argument being the NVIC’s that children’s constitutional right to a free education might be being violated.