Every time I ask a parent if they have heard of the new law Governor Jerry Brown signed into effect barring kids from school unless they get their shots, they say they have never heard of it. Every. Single. Time. I on the other hand want to shout it from the rooftops. Starting next year (the law does not go into effect until July 2016) any child who is going to be newly enrolled into daycare, preschool or elementary school must be fully up to date on their immunizations or they cannot be admitted. My son would be enrolling in Kindergarten next year and because we have chosen to delay his Hep B vaccine (with the consent of our doctor) he will not be allowed admittance. Again, my child will not be allowed to go to school under this new law because we are missing one shot. California has officially become a police state where lawmakers are infringing upon the basic parental right of being able to choose which medical procedure you want your children to have. And no one knows about it.

So what’s the big deal, you might ask. Why not just give my son the Hep B series of three shots so he can be up to date and attend school? Well here’s why. When I was pregnant with my son my midwife wanted to know if we were going to vaccinate our newborn baby with the first shot in the series. This shot is routinely given in all hospitals on day 1 of an infant’s life. Since we were lucky enough to have a home birth it was easy to decline. It just didn’t feel right to give a tiny one day old baby a shot. My midwife knew that I was not Hep B positive myself so that there would be no risk of me transmitting the disease to my baby. So that was an easy shot to forget about since the only reason it’s given to babies it to prevent infection via the mother (there is a lot of blood during birth), and I was not a Hep B carrier. The fact that this is coming up 4 years later is infuriating. You see, the Hep B vaccine is part of the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule. The CDC believes it is appropriate to vaccinate all newborns in case their mother was a Hep B carrier and didn’t know it. Only I knew that I wasn’t. So we didn’t vaccinate our newborn.

Now, I mentioned above that we were going to delay the vaccine. This is because I am one of those “educated” parents the CDC slams, lowering the vaccination percentages and creating one of those “pockets” of under-vaccinated neighborhoods. The media loves to discredit parents like me. I actually read what the CDC publishes about this disease and have spoken with my doctor. I believe I am a person capable of evaluating the risk versus the benefit of this shot. So we have decided to wait until our son is sexually active. That is because you can only get Hep B from sharing bodily fluids or through exposure to blood of an infected person. I was a very rebellious teenager and can only hope my kid is nothing like me but just in case this seams to be a reasonable enough course of action.

Now for all those “facts” I just can’t help but use my educated brain to form a logical conclusion with, taken directly from the CDC website.

How is Hepatitis B spread?

Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected. People can become infected with the virus during activities such as:
  • Birth (spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth)
  • Sex with an infected partner
  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
  • Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
  • Exposure to blood from needlesticks or other sharp instruments

What are ways Hepatitis B is not spread?

Hepatitis B virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing.

How likely is it that acute Hepatitis B will become chronic?

The likelihood depends upon the age at which someone becomes infected. The younger a person is when infected with Hepatitis B virus, the greater his or her chance of developing chronic Hepatitis B. Approximately 90% of infected infants will develop chronic infection. The risk goes down as a child gets older. Approximately 25%–50% of children infected between the ages of 1 and 5 years will develop chronic hepatitis. The risk drops to 6%–10% when a person is infected over 5 years of age. Worldwide, most people with chronic Hepatitis B were infected at birth or during early childhood.

I love the facts about whether Hep B will become chronic or not.  Most healthy adults with no underlying health conditions will recover from acute Hep B infections. In fact, the CDC says “During this short-term infection, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids…” While small children, especially infants have a much greater risk of developing chronic infections, the risk drops to as low as 6% for children once they reach age 5. So not only does my son have a very small chance of getting infected, he has an even smaller chance of not making a full recovery. So why the f%*k is this shot one of the 10 currently being mandated for school entry? It literally makes no sense. Except when you picture law makers creating public health policies who know nothing about medicine. Then it makes perfect sense.

Please join me in fighting this new law before it goes into effect. There is a campaign currently gathering momentum called the SB277 referendum. We are trying to gather over 400,000 signatures in order to postpone this new law from taking effect. If we succeed it would go to a vote and the people would decide if this new law makes any sense during the 2016 elections.  You will see signature gatherers (myself included) standing in front of grocery stores and at community events from now until September 15th. Please, stop and sign the petition. My son deserves the right to an education.

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