Catching Up With Previous News Items

Parental Dispute in Canada

We previously told you about two parents in Canada who were litigating in court whether their children would be vaccinated. The mother is against vaccines, but the father sued to gain custody and get the children immunized. Initially, and arbitrator ruled in favor of the mother based on the testimony of a known anti-vaccine physician from the United States. Recently, the judge in the case allowed the father to bring his experts to the court, for which several experts in medicine and immunizations agreed to testify at no cost. (The expert brought by the mother charged several thousand dollars for her testimony.) Now, we have an update from Radio Canada:

“A (British Columbia) judge has ordered the vaccination of two children over the objections of their mother, who questioned the safety of immunization. The case went to provincial court in Salmon Arm, in B.C.’s southern interior, because of the father’s concerns about recent measles outbreaks and a warning that education officials might not allow his two sons to attend school during an outbreak unless they were immunized. The mother attempted to introduce a report into evidence written by a U.S. doctor who testified in the high-profile case of a Michigan mother who fought for years to keep from vaccinating her young daughter. But Judge Stella Frame questioned Dr. Toni Lynn Bark’s qualifications to speak about immunology, virology or epidemiology as well as her claims to be an expert in “vaccine adversomics.” “It is difficult to know whether or not this is junk science or a recognized emerging field,” Frame wrote in her eight-page decision. “Presented as it is in her report, her theory or opinion sounds like a conspiracy theory.””

Assault on California Legislators

Last year, as the California Legislature was debating a bill to restrict medical exemptions to vaccination, a woman in the gallery of the senate threw an item with a red substance into the seats where the senators were seated. She then proceeded to rant against the bill, repeating several anti-vaccine bits of misinformation. It was later found that the item she threw was a menstrual cup and the liquid was menstrual blood. She has been now charged with felony charges for her actions. The Sacramento Bee reports:

”Sacramento prosecutors have filed felony charges of assault on public officials and vandalism against anti-vaccine activist Rebecca Lee Dalelio for allegedly dumping menstrual blood onto California state lawmakers from her state Senate gallery perch in September.

The three-page complaint filed Thursday sets the stage for a Monday morning arraignment in Sacramento Superior Court – four months to the day the Santa Cruz County woman shut down the state Senate on the final day of the legislative session by hurling a blood-filled menstrual cup onto the lawmakers below.

Dalelio shouted, “That’s for the dead babies,” as she was detained and led from the chambers by California Highway Patrol officers. Lawmakers finished their session in a nearby hearing room. The 43-year-old Dalelio from tiny Boulder Creek in the Santa Cruz mountains was originally arrested on suspicion of four charges including felony vandalism, misdemeanor battery and four other counts related to disrupting official state business.”

Undercover Investigation of Anti-Vaccine Activism

CBC-Radio Canada conducted an undercover investigation of anti-vaccine activism in the United States and Canada. They caught up with several of the more famous and most-followed anti-vaccine individuals and groups, looking at how much money they charge for their speaking engagements and what tactics they used to avoid being banned from social media.

Measles in the Congo

The measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo we told you about a while back continues. The latest number of deaths has now passed 6,000. CNN reports:

“Measles has killed more than 6,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization has said.

In a statement (January 7, 2020), the organization called on international partners and agencies to increase resources to fight what it called the “world’s worst measles epidemic.”
Around 310,000 suspected measles cases have been reported in the DRC since last year and a shortage of funds remained a “huge impediment” to efforts to curb the outbreak, the WHO said.

The WHO said even though the agency and its international partners have vaccinated 18 million Congolese children under the age of 5 against the disease, routine immunization coverage is still low across the country. It said 25% of reported cases in the country occurred in children under 5, who are most vulnerable to the vaccine-preventable disease.”

Measles in Samoa

The measles epidemic in Samoa is now decreasing, but several islands in the area are experiencing a rise in the number of measles cases. Most of those cases are believed to be imported from Samoa, and a vigorous public health response is underway there to prevent what happened in Samoa, where the death toll stands at 81 confirmed measles deaths. Most of those deaths are children, and most of those dead children were not immunized.

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Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/renenajera Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

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