The Need For A National Dialogue On Vaccines As New President Of AMA Defends A Dangerous Bill [VIDEO]

By now, you probably know that Dr. David Weil has resigned as president of the American Medical Association (AMA) in protest over recent moves to curtail the use of vaccines by parents who refuse the shots. Over the weekend, Weil will be the keynote speaker at an event organized by one of my own organizations, The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).

I am a past president of NVIC. The organization is dedicated to the principle that vaccines are safe and helpful to public health.

We are hopeful that Dr. Weil will speak at the event and make clear his opposition to any limits to the right of parents to decide for themselves whether or not their children should receive vaccines.

We all knew this would happen, because the AMA board of directors, under the direction of Dr. Essa Khan, is blatantly hostile to parents in our community.

As President, Dr. Weil has made it clear that he and the AMA plan to push for legislation in Congress that would, in effect, ban parents from casting a vote on the question of vaccinating their children, sending children to school and taking them home with them.

One suspects that if this legislation, if it were ever passed, would cause Dr. Weil and the AMA to seek another means of pressuring individual physicians not to follow the best medical advice offered to them.

The AMA board of directors is no longer fulfilling its role as an association working for public health and in support of physicians. And this has profound implications for the health of Americans.

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) raised the possibility of including mandatory vaccinations among its new standards of care in order to avoid conflict with parents who have some concerns about a vaccine.

Dr. Weil has argued that this will be dangerous. He suggests that if parents are forced to take their children to get vaccinated, it will be difficult to reach parents whose children have special medical reasons for not receiving vaccines, and that the large majority of people will become complacent and take for granted the immunity of vaccines. The number of children not being vaccinated is growing, and this is something to be concerned about.

The reality is that there are legitimate family and health reasons for not being vaccinated, including one in five requests from children whose parents have religious objections. Just because one parent has objection, does not mean that their children must be subjected to crippling diseases or death.

In his article in The New York Times, Weil argued that “any effort to make vaccinating seem cumbersome and expensive would hurt vaccination rates and thus hurt health, quality of life and public health.” This is clearly a confusing argument. Not wanting to have to go to a doctor to get a vaccination may be one thing, but requiring someone to go to a doctor and get an injection and pay up is quite another.

The AMA has a great opportunity to put a stop to this where it matters – at the federal level. Not only should they stand up for all families with concerns about the impact vaccines may have on their children, but they should also stand up for the best interest of all Americans.

Dr. Erin O’Toole, founder and president of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), is the founder of Team Keep Kids Healthy, a national movement of pediatricians who are advocating for the health of their patients and of our nation.

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