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Dr. Bob Sears: Mandatory Vaccination Violates Patient Rights, Not the Answer to Measles

( [email protected] ) Feb 26, 2015 10:29 PM EST
California pediatrician Dr. Robert Sears shares his thoughts on measles and the recent proposed legislation that, if passed, would infringe upon a patient's right to decline vaccination.
An incoming kindergarten student gets his measles, mumps and rubella shot in this file photo. (David McNew / Getty Images)

In an article entitled "Mandatory Vaccination is Not the Answer to Measles," California pediatrician Dr. Robert Sears shares his thoughts on measles and the recent proposed legislation that, if passed, would infringe upon a patient's right to decline vaccination.

Instigated by the measles outbreak in January, several states are enacting legislation which would make vaccination mandatory in a variety of ways, with no exemptions. Dr. Bob Sears, author of "The Vaccine Book," is sensitive to the fact that many parents have hesitations about vaccinating their children - perhaps because some are hesitant to inject their children with cells from aborted babies, which are present in three vaccines, or with the aluminum content in many of the shots.

Whatever the case, the well-known pediatrician believes firmly that the ability to give informed consent for medical treatment is one of the most important patient rights. "As a pediatrician, I give patients the MMR vaccine almost every day in my office. And I follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control which mandate that I provide informed consent. The American Medical Association describes informed consent as a patient's right of self-decision and a basic policy in both ethics and law that physicians must honor," Sears says.

Although they are rare happenings, serious reactions to vaccines can and do occur. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists deafness, long-term seizures, coma, or "lowered consciousness" and permanent brain damage as rare but serious side effects of the Mumps, Measles, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. "If vaccines were harmless to every single person who received them, then I could understand putting this decision in the hands of our elected officials," Sears says - "Over $3 billion have been paid out to victims of vaccine reactions. Not $3 million. Not $30 million. Not even $300 million. But $3 billion. Are we paying that much money to victims of pretend reactions? I think not."

Dr. Sears maintains that the media, politicians, and even some in the medical community have blown the measles outbreak out of proportion, given the disease's history in America.

"It's measles, people. It's not the plague. It's not polio. It's not Ebola. It's measles. If the plague hits, let's force everyone to vaccinate. But measles? Measles? We need something a lot more dangerous than that if we are going to rob each and every patient of the sacred right of informed consent," Sears writes.

California and several other states are drafting legislation which would remove religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccine mandates, infringing on patient rights. Dr. Sears has provided those who would like to express their concern to legislative representatives with a list of different bills being introduced in each state.

"If you would rather make your own medical decisions within the sacred confines of the doctor/patient relationship, then let Sacramento know now. If you would rather give politicians the power to make medical decisions for you, then give them your support ... I'm sure they'll make plenty of other wise medical decisions for you in the years to come," he writes.