Monday, February 9, 2015

Tucson doctor group aims to make AZ number 1 ... in measles

This is the same group of right-wing, goofball MDs who were out in front opposing Affordable Care. If you care about public health, this is a must read. Here are snippets from the front page report by the AZ Daily Star.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a small group of doctors known for a skepticism of government, last week issued a news release opposing mandatory vaccination and raising questions about vaccine safety.

The Tucson-based group, which was founded in 1943, in that same release makes a link between autism and the measles vaccine, which is called MMR (measles, mumps and rubella).

The information from the group and its leader, Tucson physician Dr. Jane Orient, ignores evidence-based medicine, public health officials warn. Orient could not be reached for comment last week.

"I don’t believe that Dr. Orient’s comments are based on the best understanding of public health science. She’s wrong," Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Francisco Garcia said.

And when the media covers the issue and puts one member of Orient’s group in a news story alongside one person supporting evidence-based medicine, it creates false balance, those same experts say.

Hey, Daily Star reporter: it DOES create false balance and when you do it, you are guilty of journalistic malpractice. At least the Star reported the actual imbalance favoring medical science.

"When Dr. Orient makes her comments and you have just one person respond, it looks like the two opinions are equivalent and they’re not," said Beth Jacobs, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

"What would be equivalent is to have her comment and the comment of a million doctors, nurses and epidemiologists who understand vaccination. That’s what would give the opinions equal balance."

This is a big deal for AZ. We are one of states allowing parents to opt out of vaccinations because of "personal belief". The article contains statistics on the effectiveness of measles vaccinations but also indicates what may be in store for AZ kids.

Arizona is one of 20 states that allow what’s called a "personal-belief" exemption from vaccines that are otherwise required for children to attend school. While the number of parents choosing personal-belief exemptions remains small, it has lately become a growing group.

The percentage of preschoolers statewide with nonmedical vaccine exemptions has quadrupled since 2000, for example. It’s now at 4.1 percent.

And state data show that 9.1 percent of all Arizona kindergartners who attend charter schools also have personal-belief exemptions from getting vaccinated.

So those stats suggest that there is a chance for AZ to finally reach first place at something - number of measles cases.

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