As many of you may know, my main focus has switched to my Vaccine Central blog. Here is a sampling of some of the latest entries I posted there:
- California Whooping Cough update 09-07-10 – 8 infants have died so far in the largest outbreak in decades.
- Ohio declares whooping cough outbreak – Franklin county has seen double the number of total 2009 cases, through August of this year only.
- American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mandatory flu shots for all health workers – About time I say.
- Anti Vax claims dissected – just a small sample obviously.
- 100 million children to be vaccinated against measles in China and 1.5 million against polio in Afghanistan
- Vaccine Preventable Death – yet another infant dead of whooping cough
- Flu vaccine efficacy and safety – Study Analysis
Are parents forced to vaccinate their children? Are vaccines mandatory in the U.S.? This is a question that worries many parents, and it is a claim that is made very confidently by many in the anti-vaccine crowd, and it appears the answer is yes, and no. The CDC has a recommended immunization schedule that most pediatricians follow. That schedule is not mandatory and many parents work with their pediatricians to come up aith alternate schedules, even though they may be going against their pediatrician’s advice when they choose to do that.
Nevertheless, we don’t live in isolation in a mountain top; we live in a society which has rules to protect the whole, and vaccines are no exception. Most states require children to be up to date with their vaccination schedule in order to attend day care centers or public schools (I am not sure how private schools handle this, so for the sake of the argument let us assume they follow the same guidelines as public ones). Those same states, on the other hand, provide opportunities for parents to exempt their children from the vaccination requirements. In this entry we will review the legal requirements, and what exemptions are available to parents when it comes to vaccinating their children.
The best sources of information in regards to this issue that I have been able to find are reports prepared for the U.S. Congress by the Congressional Research Service, CRS, a think tank that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events, whose mission statement reads as such:
CRS is committed to supporting an informed national legislature — by developing creative approaches to policy analysis, anticipating legislative needs and responding to specific requests from legislators in a timely manner. With a rigorous adherence to our key values, CRS provides analysis that is authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan.
The CRS prepared reports titled “Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws” which seem to have been compiled by different attorneys at different points in time. For example I found this one, dated 10/26/09 by Kathleen S. Swendiman; this one from Angie A. Welborn last updated on 01-18-05. A couple of earlier versions of Swendiman’s report can also be found at the opencrs website. Keep in mind that these are reports compiled by attorneys and were provided to the U.S. Congress, as such I consider the information in here to be of the highest quality. So what do these reports say about mandatory vaccinations?
Skepdude has decided to specialize! During a recent Twitter debate with various skeptics about the scope of skepticism, many mentioned that, while the scope can be very broad, it is best for people to specialize in a specific area or domain. I agree. That is why I decided to create a new blog, called Vaccine Central, which will be my focus from this point on. I decided that the best way for me to help folks, is to focus my time and energy on the vaccine issue. If you read the About page you’ll see why I decided to concentrate on this issue specifically. Many blogs and bloggers handle vaccine issues at all times, more notably Orac and SBM, but still finding the information one is looking for can be very arduous. My mission is to set up a blog that makes it as easy as possible, through clever use of categories, subcategories and tags, for parents to find the information they are looking for quickly. Thus, enter Vaccine Central, the new home of Skepdude. Skepfeeds will eventually be shut down, or just left inactive for I don’t want to give up the blog name just yet. You want it? Make me an offer!
No fear though, I intend to stay immersed in all things skeptical, and I intend to make Twitter my venue for all things of interest to my skeptical mind. So keep following me at twitter.com/Skepdude or search for @Skepdude, and also do go over to the new blog and subscribe to the RSS feed. However, Vaccine Central is my new home; that’s where you’ll find me on a day-to-day basis, sifting through the web finding all the good information I can find on any and all vaccine related questions/claims and presenting it in a concise, easy to digest manner to the reader. The entries will be coming out much slower than they used to at Skepfeeds, except for the News category which I suspect will be the most frequently updated one. The goal of quality of the information demands that time be taken to ensure no nonsense makes its way to the blog. However, eventually as the number of entries builds up, so will the value of the blog.
I am still debating the category structure. Once I have a clear layout of the main categories and subcategories it will be posted at Vaccine Central for people to comment. Your input will be crucial, to ensure that information becomes very easy to find and access. A good category/subcategory structure is essential; your help will be much appreciated.
Come along and support me in my quest; it’s not gonna be an easy one, but it could very well turn out to be a very important one.