The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons claims an outbreak of measles in Washington State is the “latest news hook for efforts to tighten vaccine mandates and oppose efforts, as in Arizona, to strengthen protections for informed consent and parental rights.” The report comes after Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey announced that he would veto bills that would erode vaccine coverage in the state.
On Wednesday, Ducey said he would veto legislation that critics say would lead to fewer immunizations. Ducey told reporters, “I’m pro-vaccination. I’m anti-measles.”
“All medical interventions, including vaccines, have risks and benefits,” stated Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) executive director, Jane M. Orient, M.D. in a press release. “Physicians have the duty to advise patients according to their own best judgment, and patients have the right to decline to follow their advice. Patients also have the right to be fully informed and not restricted to governmentally approved information.”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943. Its motto is “omnia pro aegroto,” or “all for the patient.”
AAPS argues that legislators need to consider the following:
Vaccines are neither 100 percent effective, nor 100 percent safe, according to AAPS. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out nearly $4 billion for severe vaccine damage. It is the only recourse for injured patients, as manufacturers are immune from liability.
The last U.S. death from measles occurred in 2015.
Extremely high vaccination rates do not prevent all measles outbreaks and may even worsen overall harm from measles.
“Medical freedom is a basic human right,” states Dr. Orient. “Sacrificing it in the name of population health is likely to worsen public health.”
“Governmental preemption of patients’ or parents’ decisions about accepting drugs or other medical interventions is a serious intrusion into individual liberty, autonomy, and parental decisions about child-rearing,” states AAPS in a letter to congressional committee members.
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. Since 2010, there have been between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States and about 10 to 20 babies, many of which were too young to be fully vaccinated, died each year. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or child care facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. To find out more about the VFC program, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/ or ask your child’s health care professional.
Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.