As measles outbreak spreads, Michigan anti-vaxxer group hits Lansing

Suzanne Waltman, president of Michigan for Vaccine Choice, stands before Michigan’s Capitol on Thursday. “It is a kind of frightening time for parents who choose not to vaccinate,” she said. (Courtesy photo)

[CORRECTION and UPDATE: An earlier version of this article mistakenly used the former name of the Troy-based group, Michigan for Vaccine Choice. The article has been updated. Also, on Friday the state reduced the number of confirmed measles cases from 41 to 39 following additional testing. The article now reflects that lower number.]


Even as Michigan health officials urge vaccinations amid a measles outbreak that now counts 39 cases, residents opposed to mandatory vaccines converged on Lansing Thursday to deliver a message of their own to lawmakers.

“Don’t take away our choice,” said Suzanne Waltman, president of Michigan for Vaccine Choice, a Troy-based nonprofit group that has fought mandatory vaccination since 1994.

“Are we going to be forcing parents to get vaccinations against their will? It is a kind of frightening time for parents who choose not to vaccinate.”

May 31, 2019: Unvaccinated student rates rise for third straight year in Michigan schools

Despite experts’ warnings that so-called “anti-vaxxers” are opening the door to a surge in preventable diseases like measles, Waltman told Bridge Magazine that risk is overblown.

“Can we just take a breath and look at what we are talking about? Forty-one cases out of 9 million people in Michigan. Is that really a cause for concern? There are probably other things we should get more concerned about,” Waltman said.

“Can we just take a breath and look at what we are talking about? Forty-one (measles) cases out of 9 million people in Michigan. Is that really a cause for concern?” — Suzanne Waltman, anti-vaccine advocate

Waltman said her group – about 150 strong, including some with families, from 23 Michigan counties – was meeting throughout the day with legislators and staff representing about half the state House delegation and roughly 10 state Senate offices.

Waltman also is listed as treasurer for the Michigan Vaccine Freedom PAC, which spent more than $10,000 on statewide candidates in 2018. That included $1,000 each for Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and state Sen. Pat Colbeck in their unsuccessful primary bids for governor, as well as smaller amounts for dozens of other candidates.

While hardly outsized in political clout, these organizations are symptomatic of growing suspicion over vaccination that’s percolated among parents for years. Fed by the Internet, some of that traces back to a 1998 British study that claimed a link between a preservative used in vaccinations and autism – a study later found to be fraudulent.

The tension between public health and parents’ right to make religious or values-based decisions about their children’s welfare is also playing out in a legal case just a few blocks from the Capital, where this week the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments involving a couple charged with negligent homicide after refusing to get treatment for their infant with jaundice, who subsequently died. The parents said they believed God would heal the girl.   

Among the targets of Thursday’s legislative visits by people opposed to required vaccines was the office of Democratic state Sen. Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids, where members met with a Brinks staffer.

Brinks was not available for comment to Bridge but said in 2017 the state has a responsibility to protect all children in the state from the threat of communicable illnesses.

“We can talk about best practices, but the underlying issue here is how we, as representatives of all people in the state, balance the rights of the overwhelming majority of people to be free from preventable illnesses with the 4 percent to 5 percent of people who want to be free from the inconvenience of getting the education.”

Southeast Michigan has been ground zero for the state’s measles outbreak, with 39 cases reported thus far in Oakland County. As Washtenaw County reported its first case, the Washtenaw County Health Department hosted walk-in vaccination clinics Tuesday and Wednesday in Ypsilanti free to those with Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance as well as those who remain uninsured.

Michigan’s measles patients range in age from an 8-month-old baby to a 63-year-old, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. While measles can be serious in all age groups, children under 5 and adults older than 20 years are most likely to suffer from measles complications.

One-in-four cases lead to hospitalization, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The last recorded U.S. measles fatality was in 2015.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, though small outbreaks have occurred in recent years. According to the CDC, there were 465 cases nationwide as of April 4. That’s more in the first three months this year than all last year. The surge in measles stretches well beyond U.S. borders, with more than 100 countries reporting major outbreaks in 2018.

In Kent County, health officials urged vaccination against the disease even though it has no reported cases.

“Measles is a is a very contagious disease that can have lifelong health complications,” the Kent County Health Department warned in a statement.

“The best way for a person to protect themselves against measles is by getting the (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine,” said Adam London, the department’s administrative health officer for KCHD.

In the past decade, state health officials have taken steps to reduce the number of children who go unvaccinated.

In 2014, Michigan had the sixth-highest rate of unvaccinated kindergartners in the nation.  An outbreak of whooping cough at a Traverse City charter school late that year produced more than 150 suspected cases. Grand Traverse County had one of the highest opt-out rates for kindergarten vaccination in the state at the time and was six times the national average.

At the time, state law generally required parents to immunize school-age kids against communicable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, mumps and tetanus – unless they received a waiver that allowed them to opt out for medical, religious or “philosophical” reasons. Michigan remains one of 17 states that allow philosophical waivers.

To reduce the number of waivers, the state Department of Health and Human Services announced in 2015 that parents who want to opt out for non-medical reasons must sit down with a local health worker for an educational session on vaccine-preventable diseases before obtaining a waiver.

“We were not aware of the rule until the day it happened,” Waltman said at the time. “We thought it was a stealth move.”

In the first year after that rule was enacted, MDHHS reported the number of statewide waivers dropped by 35 percent.

Medical groups including the American Medical Association have long touted the safety and effectiveness of vaccines in protecting vulnerable groups - especially children - from epidemic diseases, while warning that vaccine opt-outs pose a risk to the population at large. In 2015, it recommended that state policies limit vaccine exemptions to those given for medical reasons.

In 2017, several hundred people packed a hearing room of the state House Education Reform Committee, many of them anti-vaccine parents who objected to the new waiver rules. The hearing produced comments on a pair of bills, including one to eliminate the waiver change. Neither passed the Legislature.

One lawmaker said the bills were about protecting a parent’s right on how they raise their children.

“This is about parental rights,” then-state Rep. Jeffrey Noble, R-Plymouth, said at the time.

“I came to Lansing after 25 years in the ministry to help with individual and parental rights, which have been taking a beating in recent years.”

Noble, defeated in the November election, received a $100 contribution from Michigan Vaccine Freedom PAC.

Among those who made the trek to Lansing Thursday was a woman named Sara, from metropolitan Detroit. She declined to give her full name because of fear of harassment. She told Bridge she is the mother of three young children, ages 2, 4 and 6, who have never been vaccinated.

“After doing a lot of research on the entire issue and the vaccines themselves, we decided this would be best for our children,” she said.

She said she believed vaccines have not been adequately tested for possible cancer-causing ingredients and expressed concern that cell lines from aborted fetuses are used in the production of vaccines, an issue discussed at length on the website of Right to Life of Michigan, an anti-abortion group. She also cited a 2011 report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that found that adverse reactions to vaccinations are underreported.

As for the assertion that parents who opt out of vaccination for their children endanger others, she said: “My children’s health is my main priority. I don’t feel that the risk of vaccination is worth taking for my own family.”

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Thu, 04/11/2019 - 4:25pm

Why are you publishing the views of these anti-vax lunatics? We have a responsibility to vaccinate our children, for the TINY minority that can't be vaccinated.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:31pm

We are mostly “ex-vaxxers” with vaccine injured children. Nothing lunatic about that!!

Mother of Vacci...
Thu, 04/11/2019 - 7:49pm

As (manufactured crisis) measles spreads (hmmm), Michigan PARENTS OF INJURED AND DEAD children hits Lansing. There you go, fixed your whore headline. Geeze, you media hacks can even craft an accurate headline. You're ALL bought. Sickening. Roll up your sleevies fools, you're next!

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 9:38am

I have yet to see ANY Data that suggests that vaccines cause the harm that anti-vaxers profess. In the immortal words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts."

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 2:50pm

Zooman: Vaccine science is similar to tobacco science.
A better quote would be "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Mark Twain

Fred Jones III
Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:09am

Doubtful about it being the vaccine(s) that injured the child/children. Wishing them all well and hoping everyone grows up happy and healthy. Please do consider the fact-based science and continue to read as it becomes available. This is a dynamic, not a static, issue and things will change for the better over the coming years.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:05pm

If there are lunatics in this world, you are the one who fits the bill. Do you know there is a Vaccine Injury fund in America? Do you know that families and individuals have to sue in a Federal Court and prove without a doubt using medical doctors as expert witnesses (on both the Plaintiff and Defenses side)? Did you know that the vaccines you obviously claim are harm free have been proven to have caused Deaths and severe injuries in that Federal Court and that same fund has paid out over $4 BILLION dollars in damages that were proven 100% to be caused by vaccines? Perhaps the "lunatic" is the one running around making rude remarks and calling other's deragatory names without knowing actual government published facts about how harmful the chemicals they are injecting into people really are? Look up some data, there has been 1 death in the USA in over 20 years and the reality of that death was the female ACTUALLY died from Pneumonia but also happened to have measels at the time (which was only discovered at her autospy). Again, facts that can easily be researched.

The data currently being used to scare Americans (100,000+ deaths a year) comes from measel cases in third world countries where they do not have sufficient nutrition, access to medical care and are vitamin deficient. None of these things exist in America and that is why there is no actual death from measels in over 20 years. Compare that with the 100's of proven claims in the vaccine injury court. 0 deaths to 100's of injuries and deaths. You are more than free to google and research yourself instead of believing everything the biased media tells you. I assume you have enough intelligence to do that given you were able to navigate to this webpage and post your remarks. Right?

The media (powered by Merk) is blasting this into the headlines to pull your attention away from the fact that there are literally hundreds of people quarantined out at sea right now because the MMR vaccine doesn't work. Google - "navy quarantined for mumps". See for yourself. The Government and Merk do not want the public to know and they are doing everything they can to keep the public eye focused away from the truth regarding their vaccines - that they don't work like they claim.

By the way, do you see any commercials or news casts about Streptococcal deaths? No? Me neither. No information about the virus, it's potential dangers, etc.... weird. Especially since it actually does kill up to 1,600 people in the US annually. Again CDC data, read yourself, don't take my word for it. Compare that to the ZERO measels deaths. Rather Odd that we don't hear about that and hear about an itchy rash instead (measels in case I lost you).

Another funny thing, the media keeps talking about outbreaks but they don't mention that the measels vaccine is actually a LIVE virus (not disease like the media keeps using to scare people) and that people who get vaccinated can actually cause measels. For example, in 2014 the "Disney Outbreak" was actually 37% caused by the vaccine strain of the measels. Google it "disney cdc vaccine strain" see what comes up, don't take my word for it.

Oh and Google "VAERS" while you are at it. It may enlighten you to know that Doctors and Patients (jointly) reported over 58,380 adverse (bad) events as a result of vaccine injections in 2018. Of those, 412 people (kids, adults) died. 1,237 were permanently disabled as a result of those vaccines and 4,217 had to go to the hospital because of the serious reaction to those vaccines. Perhaps even more baffling is that since 2003 there have been 158 deaths (8 from Michigan) immediately following receipt of the MMR vaccine.
Weird right? A Government run system that doesn't tell you anything about this but that blasts the public about a few hundred cases of an itchy rash caused by the measels (while covering up the mumps outbreak in the vaccinated militray population at the same time I might add).

Another odd fact is that in the 1980's the Autism rate was 1 in 10,000 people. Back then the doses of vaccines was around 20. Now in 2019 the number of doses is 74 (of 16 vaccines - so numerous of the same one over and over again) and oddly enough the Autism rate is now 1 in 59 with a projection on it's current growth rate to be 1 in 2 within the next 30 years. That's right, 50% of the population being born will likely have Autism. Yet despite these facts, the media and government has everyone focused on an itchy rash that was extremely common before the vaccine was invented in 1963 with a 0.0001% death rate Globally between 1959 and 1962.

And oh my, get this, your not going to believe it but there is this thing the CDC publishes called the "Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary". You should totally Google the 2018 version of that. It will probably make you laugh at what those "Lunatics" are objecting to injecting into their childrens bodies and into their bodies! Totally worth the look, Trust me!

In closing, maybe you should stop raving with an uneducated opinion and read a little bit of the data the people you believe are saviors have published. It will perhaps blow your mind!

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 8:46am

Cool Gish Gallop. You're going to need to cite sources before we believe literally any of this

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 1:58pm

Does citing their neighbor drinking a beer, standing around a bon fire count?

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 9:55am

Wow, so much misinformation. I checked the Disney outbreak and found NOTHING stating measles caused by the vaccine, although 45% were not vaccinated. The reference to autism is akin to comparing increases in automobile accident deaths to vaccines. There may be a correlation, but drawing an inference of causation is careless. The original writing on autism caused by vaccines was debunked. Did you know that 'US spending on science, space, and technology' correlates with 'Suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation'? Based on the 100% failure rate of my samples of your examples, I find the writing untrustworthy.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:53am

The moon is made of green cheese!

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:38am

How can I believe someone who cannot even spell the word "measles" correctly?

Bob Short
Sat, 04/13/2019 - 10:11am

Never had a typo?

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 2:07pm

Great Gish Gallop of Gibbering Nonsense. You're relying upon the work of a quack who's license was pulled. Wakefield. Because he faked the results.
You morons will get children killed.

You don't want to vaccinate? Fine. Then stay in a cave, away from the rest of society. No public schools for you. No college. Enjoy.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 4:53pm

Have you read Wakefield's study? Guess not, because people who have read the actual study see a whole different story. It's about the groups findings in the gut of autistic kids, not autism itself.

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 1:44pm

I am appalled. How selfish to think your one child's life is worth the tens, hundreds and potentially thousands of other children they could affect as the direct result of reusing to vaccinate.

It was a quick and very easy decision to decide to vaccinate my child. I love her with every fiber of my being. That being said, if I had refused to vaccinate based on the highly illogical idea that she would somehow become autistic or the statistically almost impossible chance that the ingredients in said vaccination would cause her permanent illness or death--I would be selfish and cruel.

Vaccines statistically overwhelmingly save lives. That is a fact. Who are you to think your child is worth more than someone else's?

Tue, 09/24/2019 - 6:15pm

Oh vaccines save lives, huh? Go to Nigeria and India and tell them that. They're suing Bill Gate over his vaccines that have caused damage to MANY people by the way. They have enough sense to stop the experimentation and go after the pricks unlike we do. But they're safe because Merck told us so, right?

ProHealth ProSc...
Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:06pm

Jason:  We aren't anti vaccine. We are pro-choice. There are numerous families in our group that represent "the tiny minority that can't be vaccinated."  We vaccinated our children & the shots injured them.
WE are the group in the community that should be acknowledged as heroes. We took one for the team and our families suffered. Please stop denying our existence and labeling us as anti-vax. We are pro "informed consent" & pro vaccine CHOICE.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 8:52am

This headline is so misleading and disingenuous. There are no anti-vaxxers. Many of us are pro-choice with all medical decisions. Including the right to vaccinate, innocculate our children or not. Because it is a choice. For now.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:36am

You are wrong about that. I personally know at least 5 people that have chosen not to vaccinate because they believe the false report that was put out and later rebuked, and removed. I am also old enough to have been around when these vaccines were developed by scientists working around the clock to battle a disease that was spreading like wildfire and killing people. I also read enough to know that if we allow this disease to rear it's ugly head again, it will evolve like infections and bacteria have, to be resistant to the vaccines. It's all great for those who chose to not vaccinate, however, for those around them it puts their lives in peril.
I remember when they discovered how AIDS was spread. They were jailing people that had it and had unprotected sex, because they knowingly put others in danger. Sorry, but I feel the same about vaccinations. Either live in your own community of non-vaxers or get the vaccine. Again, I'm old enough to have seen these diseases in action and the damage and destruction they can do.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 2:33pm

Ellen: Instead of pro-choice citizens living in our own community, why don't YOU move to a communist country? Dictatorship? It's more suitable with your thinking. America isn't a good fit for someone that doesn't value freedom.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 3:15pm

In the glorious communist future, no children will need to be vaccinated, because previous generations of vaccinated children will have eradicated those diseases. That's the dream

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 9:05am

No, you're anti-vaccine, and youre not heros. We've seen the results of your propaganda in Minneapolis and the Pacific Northwest. You idiots are getting kids killed

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 6:20am

Where exactly are these dead children? You may want to recheck your sources...

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:32pm

TINY minority that can't be vaccinated?

Pretty sure there's what you would call a 'tiny minority' who are injured by vaccines.

I mean, unless VAERS pays out gazillions for nothing?

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:14am

Please cite your source proving that "gazillions" have, in fact, been paid out by VAERS.

Thank you.

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 6:14pm

Ah, yes - the anti-vaxxers are out in force. Repeating the same lies as before with no links other than to their favorite, fact free websites.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 8:24pm

Agreed with Deborah. My kid was injured by the MMR (nerve damage). It’s been a big trade-off for an overwhelmingly benign childhood disease. Lunacy is exposing ALL kids indiscriminately to the potentially harmful side effects of vaccination, especially without screening for predisposition to injury... I know in retrospect that my kid should NEVER have been vaccinated when he was bc of certain genetic traits and some conditions he was battling at the time of vaccination. Yet I was told it was safe. Informed consent is key.

Anna Smith
Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:01am

Assuming your child was actually injured by MMR (which is, frankly, doubtful), a child who is injured by a vaccine for measles would almost certainly die or be severely injured from an actual infection with the disease.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:26pm

Grab a brain!
The sick and vulnerable are the vaccinated!

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 4:58pm

The title doesn't correctly represent the beautiful group of ladies who care about the medical freedom for all Michiganders. Some of these ladies have vaccine injured children and they want to make sure their kids will be protected against medical tyrrany and exemptions will be available to all families who choose to opt out of any vaccines that might pose more risk than benefit to their families.

Ann Farnell
Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:09pm

These are the same people who deny choice to others but insist upon it for themselves.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:35pm

“We can talk about best practices, but the underlying issue here is how we, as representatives of all people in the state, balance the rights of the overwhelming majority of people to be free from preventable illnesses with the 4 percent to 5 percent of people who *****want to be free from the inconvenience of getting the education.”****

What exactly is that supposed to mean?

'Inconvenience of getting the education' my derrière. What I am trying to 'avoid' is aduvant ingredients injected in to my child's body.

What I will NOT take is my medically vulnerable child being forced to be vaccinated.

Everybody pipes up about medical waivers being there to protect vulnerable children.

Let me tell you something. My child's specialist and three additional doctors are all in agreement that vaccines are NOT a medically safe choice for my child.

But guess what? His chronic medical condition that leaves him vulnerable, which is rare in children, is NOT on the very short list of reasons to qualify for a medical exemption.

If you want to 'protect the vulnerable children who can't be vaccinated' PROTECT MY CHOICE.

And, by the way, the appropriate term would NOT be 'anti-vaxxer'... I could give a rip if other people want to vaccinate. Go right ahead.

What I am is PRO. MEDICAL. CHOICE. Put that in your notes, news writer.

And what a very good portion of 'us' (the Americans fighting for everyone's freedoms) are EX-vaxxers, parents of injured children.

Calling people 'anti-vaxxers' leaves out the essence of the fight: medical choice and prior experience with adverse vaccine reactions; both valid issues.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:31pm

Julia, AMEN!!!

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:41am

except that your choice affects other people's health and lives. If it only affected you, hooray, but you are putting others in danger of death.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 1:55pm

Every anti-vaxxer tells you, "Oh my child was injured by vaccines." But they never explain in detail what the injury or allergy is. Your probably part of the same group of Americans fighting for their right to bear arms, no thank you.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:37pm

Good for them! They are fighting for all of our rights to take care of our children. Medical tyranny is wrong.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:42pm

This article is fraught with misinformation. There are multiple legitimate studies that outline the risks of vaccination. No parent or child should be morally forced to be vaccinated when those who manufactured the vaccines are not being held legally accountable for vaccine injuries. We are called to protect our selves and our own children and to make these decisions fir our families as we are ultimately left with their care. The risks of vaccines far outweigh the illness which in the case of measles have been no deaths. The numbers of those suffering from lifelong vaccine injuries and even death are far greater than the cases of measles. I will not set myself or my child on fire to "protect" someone else with the risk of injury and death, especially in light of the vaccine failure. The outbreaks have occured in highly vaccinated individuals meaning that the vaccine is highly ineffective. The measles contracted today is more likely from the vaccine strain rather than the wild virus. Also, please not that the concerned individuals are not "antivaxxers". Many are those who have legitimate safety concerns and have children who have vaccinated and now have vaccine injured children or children who have died from the very thing that was supposed to have prevented illnesses. This is the USA. Forced medical procedures with risks via injection is not a part if "the land of the free".

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:44pm

Who cares what these dangerous, negligent, ignorant morons think? Stop giving them airtime. Anti-vaxxers are a public health hazard and deserve to be stigmatized the same as, say, drunk drivers or people smoking in nurseries. Stop amplifying their bullshit.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:24pm

Mike the Pharma troll!!
When you have no facts, resort to being vile !
Lol...typical Pharma dog!!

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 6:18pm

Love your reaction... Thanks for motivating me to contact my legislators to urge them to push for mandatory vaccinations and stop this utter 'flat earth' nonsense. You have no facts. Please point to facts that aren't fake news.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:55pm

MVC stands for Michigan for Vaccine Choice. This group has parents who vaccinate, delay, opt out of one or two, and don't vax at all for a variety of reasons. Many of whom that did vaccinate and now have a family member who is injured. The group is composed of a variety of medical, legal, and other professional members. Using anti-vax is a derogatory term and does not apply to all people who are questioning the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and deserve the right to chose what is injected into their bodies. What is going on this year over a few measles cases, when we have measles every year, is an overreach that has it's own agenda. Remember, even if you want to opt out of one or two vaccines out of the ever growing schedule, you ARE pro-choice.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:30pm

I'm curious to know if Ted Roelofs actually wrote this, or just copy and pasted from every other vaccine related article. It seems journalists are incapable of original reporting anymore.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:31pm

I thought reporters were supposed to find the truth? Inaccurate information in this :(

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:43pm

I thought reporters were supposed to find the truth? Much inaccurate information in this :( I thought journalists were supposed to have a standard and not print misinformation? There are so many more that could not be there or who are afraid to speak because of the vicious hate from uneducated vaccinators. See comments... so much hate because of fear and inadequate education on the subject.

Ron Alexander
Thu, 04/11/2019 - 8:18pm

The author should listen to the 9 hour deposition that Stanley Plotkin gave in an Oakland County Court last year. He revealed the very dark side to studying vaccines! He talked about testing them on "those who would never be productive members of society. " He also testified to using more than 70 aborted babies for a study on the DTP vaccine.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:42am

Any person who would use aborted babies for a study is disqualified. Atrocious!

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 12:51pm

Do you feel the same way about medical research performed on cadavers?

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 8:33pm

"Can we just take a breath..." No, moron, we can't. Because those "only 41 cases" (so far, and rapidly increasing daily) are real people, who didn't have to die, and include any immunocompormised individual, like people undergoing chemotherapy, and transplant patients. My friend is one such individual, who is currently at home under quarantine indefinitely, because if she develops measles, that could very well lead to complications and death. You seem to take offense at the term "anti-vaxxer." How about "anti-science." You are entitled to your beliefs and feelings and fantasies, but your willful ignorance is causing a grave, widespread health risk. Let's make it personal: If Grandma has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, your anti-vaxxed/ex-vaxxed/un-vaxxed/parentally neglected kid could expose her to the measles and very well kill her. Do you want your kid to kill Grandma? Get your head out of the sand and get vaccinated.

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 9:08pm

This is propaganda!

FU Suzanne and ...
Thu, 04/11/2019 - 9:34pm

All of these selfish, stupid jerks should go live in a segregated area together where they can quickly die off from the diseases that the rest of us would like to avoid and keep away from our immuno-compromised, but sane, members of society.

Yeah Suzanne, who cares about those 41 (and growing) people and the fact that they could wind up with brain damage or dead? Also, pretty sure Sara’s not winning any research awards anytime soon...

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 11:24pm

Julia, I replied in support of your comment over an hour ago... It’s not there. Apparently comments are being pre-censored?? If they legit don’t allow supporting certain people’s views, that’s pathetic. ‘They’ fear the truth, pansies. Js. IF this comment even passes the posting nazis, we’ll see lol

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 11:51am

Um...are you referring to the Amen! Comment? Cuz it's there. Right by the comment you replied to.

Sun, 04/14/2019 - 11:54am're referring to the pre-review process! Yeah, that's there to avoid deliberate abuse and profanity. You know, probably people whose comments are just insults on either side.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 7:13am

Bottom line: there's a safe and effective vaccine to prevent measles; unfortunately, there's no cure for stupid.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 8:37am

"It is a kind of frightening time for parents who choose not to vaccinate.”

And now because of folks who are ignorant of science, it is once again becoming afrightening time for the rest of us.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 8:47am

Selfish assholes, championing discredited scientists and bad data, to the detriment of the entire populace

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 5:04pm

Name calling is not called for. They are sincere people who are fighting for your choice to vax, delay, be selective, opt out of one or two, or a few don't vax at all. Many are doctors, lawyers, medical professionals, and parents of injured children. Have you read Wakefield's study? Guess not, because people who have read the actual study see a whole different story. It's about his groups findings in the gut of autistic kids, not autism itself. Vaccines have caused dozens of other adverse events like autoimmune disorders, seizures, etc. that are skyrocketing.

Hiram Fitzgerald
Fri, 04/12/2019 - 8:48am

Parental rights to not vaccinate their children, thereby exposing them to possible serious long-term morbidity consequences. But women do not have the right to make decisions about abortion. Seems a contradiction in concepts of "parental rights". But what else can we expect from a republican dominated legislature?

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:08am

I would be more comfortable with these parents if they home-school their children and stay out of public places. Perhaps they could have their own communities like Monsey and Williamsburg, NY where hundreds of cases of measles have occurred. I am uncomfortable with forcing parents to vaccinate, but at some point the rights of the general public override the rights of the parents. It's much like the abortion question - does the rights of the fetus override the rights of the mother? The compromise would be to keep their children separated from the general public. Doesn't sound feasible to me, but keeping their children out of classrooms would be a good start.

Aldon M.
Fri, 04/12/2019 - 9:39am

I am writing concerning vaccinations and measles. We are told that we are experiencing an increase in the number of measles cases. We are told that to counter this increase we need to vaccinate. The vaccination we are told we need is the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. I have the following questions:
1. If we need a measles vaccination, why do we need to be vaccinated against mumps and rubella?
2. Who is going to pay for this vaccination? Is there a profit motive?
3. Does anyone know what makes up the MMR? What are all the ingredients? After all, we recently had a problem with the preservative(s) that keep the vaccine from spoiling and families claiming that the vaccine caused serious problems in their children.
4. Have you read the report, Measles Outbreak in a Highly Vaccinated Population—Israel, July-August 2017? This report was in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which is a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It implies that the more vaccinated the population, the more measles you have.
5. Have you read the report, The Vaccinated Spreading Measles: WHO, Merck, CDC Documents Confirm, by Sayer Ji, January 30, 2015? This report states that “20 years ago, the MMR vaccine was found to infect virtually all of its recipients with measles. The manufacturer Merck’s own product warning links MMR to a potentially fatal form of brain inflammation caused by measles. Why is the evidence not being reported?” It states that people who receive live-virus vaccines, such as the MMR, can then shed that live virus, for up to many weeks and can infect others.
6. Have your read the report, Government Research Confirms Measles Outbreaks Are Transmitted By The Vaccinated, in Collective Evolution, October 31, 2018? It states that the MMR carries profound health risks and indexes over 25 in the article.

It has been stated that we go insane in a group and come to our senses one at a time. We see entities stating that this group must be vaccinated or they will be fined or not allowed to do this or that. If people are sick, I see no problem in having them quarantined. I have a problem in injecting people without knowing all the facts. I call it informed consent. We are only being presented with one side—there are measles cases so we must be injected with something that someone thinks we need to stop a supposed measles outbreak. We have reports of municipalities banning people from public places and judges overruling the municipalities saying that there are not enough measles cases to warrant the banning. After reading the above, one could conclude that there is some type of motive for injecting the vaccine (profit, crowd control, see what type of reaction we receive, or something else) other than preventing a disease outbreak.
When I started school, I had measles. I remember the red spots and having to stay in bed until I recovered. When I went back to school, I do not remember anyone being missing. I do not remember anyone saying that they had been in the hospital. It is hard for me to understand the publicity measles is now receiving. What is different now?
Yesterday, 4/11/19, I talked to a person involved with school administration. I was shocked and horrified to hear that schools must have 95% of their students vaccinated or they can lose $1,000 per student in school aid. My understanding was this was per all the students, not just the ones not vaccinated. This takes vaccination out of the health category and puts it into the financial category. Kind of puts a different perspective on an administrator's $150,000, or more, yearly salary and poisoning your children.

Anna Smith
Fri, 04/12/2019 - 9:55am

Here's the bigger question: should 150 families be allowed to jeopardize the health of 9 million people? The answer is a easy no.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:05am

I completely support parent's right to not vaccinate their children or adults to refuse vaccines for themselves for any reason or none. I simultaneously support very strictly enforced requirements for attending publicly funded schools and child care centers of "all vaccinations up to date, unless there is a medical exemption endorsed by a County public health official". In addition, all members of a household with any unvaccinated member must maintain strict quarantine for 14 or more days after exposure to any of the infectious diseases for which vaccines are normally required by law. Obeying a quarantine order should be an allowable absence protected by the FMLA, and any paid sick time the worker has should be useable during a quarantine period. Also, work places must be free to require that vaccinations such as tetanus or flu shots be kept up to date if workers are likely to be exposed to sources of infection on the job. Again, exceptions should be made only for medical reasons endorsed by county public health officials.

Bodily integrity is a fundamental human right, and includes the right to choose or refuse medical interventions of all kinds. Choices have consequences, however, and those members of society who have little choice but to depend on herd immunity because they can not have vaccines should be protected by society. We shouldn't allow people who are merely suspicious of Big Pharma to force the immune-suppressed or immune-compromised into exile for their own safety.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:19am

Do you believe that the government has a right to regulate based around child safety using science-based laws and regulations? Do you believe in a law the requires children to be in a child seat and laws that criminalize children from being left unattended in a hot automobile? Perhaps we should hold parents criminally liable if their child gets measles and is injured or dies from it or spreads it to other children. Your choice would remain intact, but you would be held liable if your decision hurts your child or other children. It is my opinion that not vaccinating your children is putting your interests and desires over that of your children and I hope that you are able to let your children grow up and be their own person instead of continue to force to interests and desire onto them. Medical science has eliminated polio, and has negated the deaths that used to result from measles. If you are an adult, you have the right to choose to put yourself at risk, but the government has the legal right to protect your children from your bad decisions and hold you, the parent, liable for those decisions.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:31am

Can you really blame parents for being skeptical with so much corporate money and corruption in pharma?

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:36am

anyone stupid enough not to vaccinate their children is guilty of child abuse and if worse comes to worse - premeditated murder

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:36am

So I’m going to chime in here as a medical professional. There are always risks with vaccines, just like there are with any medical treatment. You can always have allergic reaction to antibiotics, but you wouldn’t refuse treatment for an infection that could kill you just because of the risks.

I empathize with the parents who had children with adverse affects from vaccines: it’s awful that it happened, and I hope your children make full recoveries. No one in the medical profession wants anything bad to happen to our patients, especially when they’re children.

But despite the risks, vaccines are DESPERATELY necessary. These are not “relatively benign” illnesses: these are illnesses that can and frequently DO kill children, even if we start treating them after we see symptoms.

If you’re lucky enough that the disease doesn’t kill you, there are so many severe and permanent consequences. Mumps can lead to permanent infertility and deafness. Encephalopathy, which is inflammation of the brain, can occur with all the diseases treated by the MMR vaccine, and can result in a coma. Measles can lead to myocarditis, and infection of the heart muscle, that can result in cardiac problems for the rest of their life.

Vaccines ARE overwhelmingly safe, but nothing in medicine is a guarantee. As I said, if your child had a reaction to a vaccine, I’m so sorry and I hope they recover, but serious vaccine reactions are the extreme minority. More children will die from measles than would be injured by the vaccine. Again, these aren’t mild illnesses that you just suffer through and recover from; they can and do maim and kill children with terrifying frequency, regardless of treatment. It’s always terrifying doing something when you know there’s a chance something could go wrong, but the benefits MASSIVELY outweigh the risks. Every time you get in a car, there’s a chance you could wreck, but you still drive. Any time you go into surgery, there’s a chance you could die on the table, but if surgery is what will save your life, you do it. Vaccines are the same. I don’t want dead children. Neither do you. Vaccines are how we keep an epidemic from happening. Vaccinate your kids.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:57am

Unfortunately, I believe , what we will have to see is an epidemic of: Polio, small pox, measles, pick your disease, before people start to wake up. NO vaccine or medication is 100% effective or safe.
Always curious about the anti-vax parents and whether or not THEIR parents had them vaccinated.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:08am

Isn't it interesting that the politicians (e.g. Patrick Colbeck & Brian Calley) who have received funding from the Pro.Medical.Choice group of anti-vaxxers are the same ones who are anti-choice when it comes to a woman's personal medical choices. Colbeck & Calley support this fringe group's uneducated fear, but won't support a woman's ability to have an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.
This group is the epitome of hypocrisy! Choice for me, but not for you.

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 8:56am

Right on Jim...

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:12am

“Can we just take a breath and look at what we are talking about? Forty-one cases out of 9 million people in Michigan. Is that really a cause for concern? "

This is an incredibly naive and uneducated remark, not to mention self-centered. A single measles case has lead to 38 additional confirmed cases. ONE PERSON has lead to THIRTY-NINE total cases. If this outbreak were to jump from the specific community it is currently thriving in, those numbers could skyrocket across the entire state. Also, people can (and do!) die as a result of measles. As a country, we have been incredibly fortunate to eradicate the disease (year 2000) due to vaccination. It will be incredibly sad if the disease once again becomes endemic to the U.S. thanks to anti-vaxx parents.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:36am

I personally know at least 5 people that have chosen not to vaccinate because they believe the false report that was put out and later rebuked, and removed. I am also old enough to have been around when these vaccines were developed by scientists working around the clock to battle a disease that was spreading like wildfire and killing people. I also read enough to know that if we allow this disease to rear it's ugly head again, it will evolve like infections and bacteria have, to be resistant to the vaccines. It's all great for those who chose to not vaccinate, however, for those around them it puts their lives in peril.
I remember when they discovered how AIDS was spread. They were jailing people that had it and had unprotected sex, because they knowingly put others in danger. Sorry, but I feel the same about vaccinations. Either live in your own community of non-vaxers or get the vaccine. Again, I'm old enough to have seen these diseases in action and the damage and destruction they can do.

Frederick Fenters
Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:46am

As contagious and potentially deadly as measles can be, there is NO excuse for ignoring a proven method to prevent the disease. The only reason that would be acceptable for failure to vaccinate is a demonstrable allergy to vaccines. This is not just a decision about your child, this is a decision regarding my children and other children in MY family. How are the Anti-Vax activists justifying forcing their prejudices and decisions on us while demanding their "right" not to accept scientific facts?

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 1:25pm

Since the pro-disease folk, or pro-choice as they like call themselves are less than 0.01% of America can we not just segregate there nonsense in an isolated 'sanctuary cities' in each state? The danger they pose to childrens health and life should not be up for debate, if the parent is negligent and incapable of caring properly for their children they should not even have a voice in the matter.

Timothy Hofer
Fri, 04/12/2019 - 3:24pm

Vaccines are extremely safe and the benefits vastly outweigh any harms.
Vaccines are one of the only medical treatments that are cost saving for a society.
If you do not vaccinate kids they are at a higher risk of illness than if you do vaccinate them and it puts their friends at risk of illness.

If you are want to see the evidence for vaccine safety you can start at the American Academy of Pediatrics website on vaccine safety.

But virtually every medical society and health system in the US and the world will agree.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 3:27pm

Vax your kids morons. There's no god to be worried about dumbasses.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 3:27pm

A wide range of industries have carefully studied the tobacco industry strategy. These companies understand the value of uncertainty and skepticism in deflecting regulation, defending against litigation, and maintaining credibility despite the marketing of products that are known to be harmful to public health. Oh wait a minute, vaccine manufacturers don't need to defend against litigation any longer. They convinced our government to protect them from liability a long time ago in 1986! Ask yourself WHY a government would agree to shield a manufacturer from lawsuits when they only sell SAFE and EFFECTIVE products.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 5:10pm

Michigan for Vaccine Choice are sincere people who are fighting for your choice to vax, delay, be selective, opt out of one or two, or a few don't vax at all. Many are doctors, lawyers, medical professionals, and parents of injured children. Have you read Wakefield's study? Guess not, because people who have read the actual study see a whole different story. It's about his groups findings in the gut of autistic kids, not autism itself. It's not just about autism, it about dozens of other adverse events like autoimmune disorders, seizures, etc. that are skyrocketing. The injured are being ignored and ridiculed for following what they were told was safe and effective. Be sure you educate and have fully informed consent before you vaccinate.

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 5:22pm

An unvaccinated person is a walking biological weapon, plain and simple.

Sat, 04/13/2019 - 12:59am

I hope someone can help me, I understand how people want to blame the outbreaks on individuals/their parents who decided not to be vaccinate, but who are all the people being infected? Are they also people who weren't vaccinated? Could it be they were vaccinated but the vaccinations are 100% effective? Is it possible that for some individuals the vaccinations have a lower effectiveness either in how the immune system reacts to the vaccine or in how long the anti bodies are sustained by the system?

What is the worst possible outcome for a person contracting measles and what has been the experience of those part of the outbreaks?

Sat, 04/13/2019 - 12:40pm

Children and adults who are non-vaccinated put others at risk. I am not seeing any non-vaxers reflecting on the rights of those who support vaccinations. There are certain high risk groups (the very young, immune compromised) who are legitimately unable to be vaccinated and thus at risk from non-vaccinated people. Further more, no vaccination is 100% effective. For the 0-5% of people who have received a vaccination but for who do not end up protected, they are relying on the rest of us to be vaccinated for their protection. There is societal responsibility to look out for each other's well being.

Byron Baker
Sun, 04/14/2019 - 9:45pm

Where are the PSA's for vitamin's A,D, &C? All proven to help.
I thought Roe v Wade settled privacy of healthcare and soverinty of your own body.
" Its not the disease, it's the terrain" Pasteur

Fred Jones III
Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:04am

Keep your unvaccinated kids away from everybody. Vaccines work. The science is proven.

I Believe In Science
Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:12am

This explains the minivan I saw last Thursday near the Capitol - plastered with anti-vax bumper stickers and swerving all over the road with no regard for other drivers and vehicles.

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 3:08pm

I read through about half these comments before getting too depressed to continue. A national scholar on health and ethics, Dr. Lawrence Gostin, pointed out that if you are in favor of vaccination and want to depress vaccination rates, please by all means attack and demonize those who resist vaccinations. I'm saddened by the vitriol directed at those who oppose vaccinations. The one sure way to isolate and entrench them is to belittle their concerns.

I happen to support vaccinations and feel that Michigan should drop granting waivers on philosophical grounds. But I also support dedicating resources to help identify at-risk children before they are vaccinated, and to giving families a little greater flexibility in terms of their timetable for obtaining vaccinations. I think we could find common ground here if we stopped the name calling.

Here's a link Dr. Gostin's work:

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 12:15pm

If a child gets measles from another child that didn't get vaccinated because of family's choice, that family should be sued .. period.

Fri, 04/19/2019 - 1:26pm

Today's article in Live Science News: 43 year old Israeli El Al flight attendant contracted measles but not known if she got them in NYC or in Israel . She has been in a coma on a ventilator for 10 days. There are hundreds of active measles in each country nowl

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 12:19pm

I think that there may be many lurking parents reading articles and comments like these, wondering if you should start or continue to vaccinate your children. After all, if vaccines are truly safe, what are all of these articles, studies and vaccine-injured children about? Surely there must be something to this or wouldn't this have all died down by now?
I was in your shoes ten years ago. I felt I owed it to my first-born to see what all the fuss was about. So I read articles like these plus all the anti-vaccination info I could find and started compiling a bibliography of studies and other evidence that were supposed to prove vaccines were dangerous. I wound up with 10-12 pages. I was a grad student at the time, so I used my access to Lexus Nexus (a powerful academic search engine) to chase down these sources so I could read the info for myself. My findings: 1) 10% of the articles could not be found. They were either published in very obscure journals or they were fabrications. 2) more than 70% appeared in trade journals, not peer-reviewed scientific journals. Anyone can publish something in a trade journals - no one verifies the study or results... not a good source for making profound medical decisions. 3) article writers often mis-stated the studies results, sometimes flagrantly so. In one case, an article writers used a real study but completely made up results! S/he was pretty much counting on no one checking. And finally, 4) every anti vaccine study I looked at had tiny sample sizes, definitely not something you could extrapolate to the larger community.
Basically my message to unsure parents is this - anti-vaccine propaganda relies heavily on innuendo, emotion and challenges for you to "look it up for yourself." Which is actually the only area where I agree with anti-vaxxers.... look up their alleged evidence (the actual study, not a summary of it) and I think you'll find, as I have, that the real danger here is not vaccines at all.

Tue, 09/24/2019 - 6:47pm

You know what I noticed about people who are anti-choice vaxxers? They are a NASTY bunch of people. They start every statement name calling, are super critical, and hyper judgemental. Some even wish harm on the pro choice parents and their children. It's disgusting and I sometimes wonder if years of tons of vaccines have an affect on behavior in a bad way. Can they help it? Is it another form of vaccine damage? They claim that their abhorrent behavior is all in the name of saving their kid, who somehow suddenly faces mortal danger because there are two unvaccinated kids in their school and a small measles outbreak in some town they never knew existed before, thousands of miles away. Feels like the Twilight Zone episode where the aliens are messing with a town of people and in the end most of them are hysterical and turning against each other. Rod Serling saw the future.