Monday, May 13, 2024








        There is no major crisis yet, but California and the rest of America are currently under unquestionable threat of a variety of epidemics, some of which could be crippling or fatal.



        Make no mistake: This is the work of anti-vaccination activists led by current independent presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who was working to discredit vaccinations long before the COVID-19 pandemic, even as he denied being an anti-vaxxer.



        RFK Jr., milking his assassinated father’s name and reputation for all he’s worth, maintained in a Congressional hearing that “I have never been anti-vaxx. I have never told the public to avoid vaccination.” But just last July, he also said “There is no vaccine that is safe and effective.”



        Hey Junior, ever heard of the Sabin polio vaccine? Thanks to that one, there were no – zero – cases of the crippling polio virus detected in this country between 1979 and 2013, a 34-year period unprecedented in world history. No such thing as a safe and effective vaccine?



        Since that lone 2013 case, which might have been transmitted by a foreign traveler to one of the rare individuals in America who never got the Sabin vaccine, there have been no more. But in 2022, traces of wild polio virus were found in wastewater in three New York counties.



        There is similar, if not quite as absolute, effectiveness from the other vaccines required for admission to California public schools: vaccines against measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), in addition to three doses of polio vaccine.



         Measles causes fever, rash, coughs, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Complications can include ear infections, coughs, brain damage and even death. Consequences of diphtheria include difficulty breathing, heart rhythm problems and occasionally death. Besides its trademark of a whooping cough, pertussis can cause nervousness, dry mouth and nausea, among other symptoms.



        Each of these is highly contagious, with vaccination the only certain defense against them for those exposed to infected persons.



        Vaccinations against these diseases were not required by public schools merely on some whim. The requirement came only after vaccines were long proven safe and effective.



        It’s true Covid vaccines were not as thoroughly proven as the others, but there is no question those vaccines are the main reason hospital case loads dropped radically after vaccinations began, to the point there are few places that now require masking.



        None of this stopped Kennedy and his Childrens Defense Fund from trying to convince parents to obtain medical exemptions from almost all vaccines for their children, many by using the few doctors willing to certify some children as having health risks if they are vaccinated.



        It’s also true the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) admits that Covid vaccines created a minor incidence of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart’s lining), almost wholly among adolescents and young adults. These cases number less than 100 in several years of Covid vaccination, making the odds minimal for any individual to have lasting ill effects from Covid vaccines.



        But listen to Kennedy and you’d think the cases number in the millions. His well-publicized, but inexpert (he’s not a physician, not even a renegade one) rhetoric is one reason why even as a few thousand measles cases popped up around California and elsewhere last winter, pediatricians reported a sharp increase in the number of

parents with fears about getting their kids vaccinated. One very dangerous side effect of all this has been that hearing exaggerations about the relatively few problems with Covid vaccines also spurred fears of other vaccines.



        This fear causes some parents to keep their kids out of schools where vaccination is required unless parents can produce a medical excuse. Along with the problems inflicted by online schooling, it is a large reason for the recent increase in home schooling.



        Milking the very fears he has helped stoke is Kennedy, who might affect this fall’s presidential election, even though it’s very uncertain which of the major candidates might be most impacted.



        The upshot is that there is now a threat of epidemics of diseases long considered all but extinct. If they arise, anti-vaxxers and their vastly exaggerated concerns will be at fault.




    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

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