NEW YORK – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has jumped into the California mandatory vaccine debate, invoking themes of Nazi Germany in voicing strong objection to a bill introduced to the California Assembly after a measles outbreak infected more than 100 people that would no longer allow parents to exempt their children from vaccines because it goes against their personal beliefs.
Kennedy charges information about the dangers of vaccines has been suppressed because of the influence of pharmaceutical companies.
“They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy told a California audience at the Crest Theater in Sacramento on Tuesday, referencing federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”
Kennedy was in Sacramento to attend a screening of the film “Trace Amounts,” a documentary he claims helped halt a forced vaccination measure in Oregon.
Anti-vaccine activists visited State Capitol offices Monday, offering free tickets to a “Trace Amounts” screening to every California lawmaker, the Sacramento Bee noted.
The first three rows of the movie theater were cordoned off for lawmakers, however, the seats were empty at the screening at which Kennedy spoke, though some staff members attended.
“Trace Amounts” is an activist documentary that chronicles the story of Eric Gladen, an engineer who claims the mercury-based thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines since the 1930s to prevent bacterial and fungus contamination, in a vaccination he took at age 29 caused him major neurological symptoms. It sent him off on a filmmaking path exploring concern that thimerosal in vaccinations can cause autism in children.
See the official “Trace Amounts” trailer:
“I was a 29-year-old engineer and I got scratched with a rusty nail in my backyard,” Gladen told KOMO-TV in Seattle. “I hadn’t had a tetanus shot in 11 years or so, so I went and got a routine shot. Within a few days, some symptoms developed. And then slowly over time, over about three to six months, major neurological symptoms kicked in.”
In the interview, Gladen explained it was a long process, with many different tests and doctors, to finally figure out what was causing his illness.
“Ultimately, it was pinned directly to that tetanus shot,” he said. “Once I got on a protocol that would remove the mercury, my symptoms started to disappear. And in about six months, all of my symptoms were gone.”
At the 2015 Hollywood premiere of “Trace Amounts,” Kennedy led a panel discussion that included Gladen, concerned parents and several medical experts who shared Kennedy’s objections to mercury in forced vaccination programs.
See the panel discussion on “Trace Amounts”:
WND reported in March concerns that measles, a disease reappearing in the U.S. today after health authorities in 2000 declared the disease eliminated, would be the next medical battlefield. The battle would pit government scientists at federal medical institutions such as the CDC along with the United Nations in an ethical conflict against anti-vaccine activists contending forced vaccinations could cause adverse health consequences more serious than the disease sought to be prevented.
As WND reported, U.N. health professionals have argued the risk of disease epidemics may justify silencing the ethical or health objections voiced by activists like Kennedy who object to mandatory vaccination government-administered programs.
“Vaccination may be the only practical way to protect people against certain diseases, such as meningococcal meningitis and measles,” concluded a study titled “Ethical considerations for vaccination programs in acute humanitarian emergences” published in the United Nations Bulletin of the World Health Organization.
“Vaccination should be voluntary unless it becomes critical to ‘prevent a concrete and serious harm,’” the paper concluded. “The degree of risk to communities will determine to what extend individual rights may be restricted. Where the threat of widespread, serious infectious disease is imminent, individual liberties may be justifiably curtailed.”
The Siracusa Principles endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council state: “Public health may be invoked as a ground for limiting certain rights in order to allow a State to take measures dealing with a serious threat to the health of the population or individual members of the population. These measures must be specifically aimed at preventing disease or injury or providing care for the sick and injured.”
Disneyland measles outbreak
The 2015 outbreak of measles most likely started from an 11-year-old unvaccinated traveler who became infected overseas then visited the Disneyland amusement park in California, the CDC reports. The strain of measles virus was identical to the type that caused a large outbreak in the Philippines in 2014.
Watch a CBS News report:
The Centers for Disease Control reported a record number of measles cases in 2014, with 644 cases from 27 cases reported to the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, NCIRD.
This year a new record may be set, with 173 measles cases reported in 17 states from Jan. 1 through March 6.
The CDC further reported the majority of people who get measles in the U.S. are unvaccinated and that travelers with measles continue to bring the disease to the country.
The CDC stresses the spread of measles can become an outbreak when the disease reaches a community in the U.S. in which groups of people are unvaccinated.
Link between immigration and measles
The World Health Organization reported as of Jan. 20 there were 58,010 suspected cases of measles in the Philippines, including 21,420 confirmed cases and 110 deaths in 2014. The WHO further reported 25 U.S. travelers who returned from the Philippines in 2014 became sick with measles.
“The World Health Organization and the Philippines Department of Health are working to control the outbreak, including conducting vaccination campaigns,” the CDC reported Feb. 19.
The CDC recommends that infants 6 to 11 months of age should have one dose of measles vaccine if traveling internationally, with children in the United States routinely scheduled to receive measles vaccination at 12 to 15 months of age. The CDC additionally recommends that infants vaccinated before age 12 months should be revaccinated on or after the first birthday with two doses, separated by at least 28 days.
A measles outbreak in Canada this year has resulted in 119 cases of the disease in Quebec’s Lanaudiére region, including a student who attends the École intégrée de Saint-Pierre.
The Canadian Broadcasting Company in Montreal reported that up to 700 students and staff members of the Quebec school were at risk of contracting measles, with children as young a 4 attending the pre-kindergarten program in the elementary grades at the school.
School authorities in conjunction with public heath officials in Canada implemented a protocol that identifies all the unvaccinated people at the school and offers them a vaccine. Those who refuse to be vaccinated are required to stay home for two weeks.
“I invite the people, the parents to make sure their children are vaccinated,” said Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois. “It’s a protection for their child, but for all the people around.”
With 91 percent of the region’s general population estimated to be vaccinated for measles, the risk to the general population in the Quebec outbreak is considered minimal.
Moral debate over mandatory vaccinations
The idea of suing parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, known in California as “Anti-Vaxxers,” has risen in discussions over the Disneyland measles and fears that a seriously deadly virus like Ebola might be transported to the U.S., said Dan Diamond, a columnist at California Healthline, in an article published in Forbes Jan. 28 titled “Measles Can Kill, and It’s Spreading. Sue Parents Who Didn’t Vaccinate? Absolutely.”
Noting that before the measles vaccine in 1963, the rate of infection was close to twice that for polio, Richard Epstein, a Peter and Kirsten Bedford senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in a opinion piece published in Newsweek Feb. 3 titled “Measles Vaccine: Whose Rights Are at Risk?” argued the Disneyland measles outbreak put on the table the issue of mandatory vaccinations.
“From the earliest times, therefore, the police power has always been construed to allow public officials to take strong action against individuals who posed threats to the health of others by the spread of communicable diseases,” Epstein wrote.
He argued the legal question is not whether compulsory vaccination statutes could be found to be constitutionally acceptable but how far such laws should go.
He concluded compulsory vaccination statutes could require, for instance, children be kept from public places, including from school on the grounds that unvaccinated people create a public health risk.
“Yet agonizing choices will arise if the number of serious measles cases continues to rise inexorably,” he argued.
“The blunt truth is that even libertarians and other defenders of small government should support the basic constitutional framework that gives public officials extensive powers to control against infection and disease by devices such as quarantine and vaccination,” he concluded. “Apart from the forced vaccination of compromised individuals, it is difficult to carve out some enduring constitutional island of individual rights from the general principle of state control.”
The CDC maintains there is “no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site.”
In 2014, Kennedy edited a book titled “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak” that was subtitled “The Evidence Supporting the Immediate Removal of Mercury – a Known Neurotoxin – from Vaccines.”
He argued the preservative containing mercury in Thimerosal causes a series of neurological disorders, including autism and hyperactivity in the form of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.