As New York prepares to ban religious exemptions for vaccinations following recent measles outbreaks in the vaccine-averse Orthodox Jewish communities, the New York Times reports that around 60% of the 300 or so students attending New York's ultra-liberal Waldorf school are unvaccinated. Of note, a 2014 analysis of CDC data by RealClearScience concluded that "anti-vaxxers are clearly more associated with the political left."
Founded in the early 20th century by eccentric Austrian educator Rudolf Steiner who invented a metaphysical philosophy known as "anthroposophy," the pricey Waldorf schools (which can run from $25,000 - $40,000 per year), ban textbooks from the 6th grade, while all forms of technology such as smartphones are prohibited altogether.
Steiner believed that diseases were influenced by "astral bodies," and that Anthroposophical medicine could "extend the knowledge gained through the methods of the natural sciences of the present age with insights from spiritual science," such as using mistletoe to treat cancer.
In 1923, Steiner wrote: "Treatment with modified virus vaccine is effective in the case of diphtheria, because the body is thus given a strong impulse to become active, but it has unfavorable after-effects. Particularly if a child is treated with vaccine, it will later suffer a hardening of its organization. One must therefore strive to replace vaccines with bathing treatment, especially in the case of diphtheria."
Steiner's beliefs are reflected in the parents of Waldorf students, according to the Times.
The mother of an unvaccinated child here in the New York suburbs says eating papaya helps to combat measles. The father of another child who has not been immunized believes that big pharmaceutical companies are paying millions of dollars to doctors, government officials and even judges to bury the truth about vaccine complications.
Another mother says the souls of her children are on a journey that vaccines would impede. “As a parent, for me, a lot of my job is to just not put extra obstacles in that soul’s way,” she said.
All three parents represent an anti-vaccine fervor on the left that is increasingly worrying health authorities. They often cluster around progressive private schools that are part of the Waldorf educational movement, and at the Waldorf school here, 60 percent of the school’s 300 or so students were not vaccinated against measles and other highly contagious diseases as of late last year. -New York Times
In March, a federal judge in Rockland County, New York where the Green Meadow Waldorf School is located, barrred unvaccinated students from returning to the campus amid the simmering debate over measles vaccinations. Ed Day, a county executive had some harsh comments for the "mentally nebulous" anti-vaxxers, saying "The anti-vaccination movement is a serious threat to public health."
What about vaccine injury courts?
According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, the taxpayer funded National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out around $4.1 billion in claims since 1988.
Between January 2016 and December 2017, the majority of 4,311 compensable settlements were from flu shots (2,949 or 68%), which makes sense as they are annual treatments. As for other vaccines, the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)) and its booster DTap vaccines comprised 510 compensated cases, or 11.8%. Measles shots accounted for just one compensated case over the covered period.
That said - there are plenty of potential side-effects of vaccines which don't rise to the level of provable injury, and which have nothing to do with autism or mercury.
As we noted last August, a 2009 study from the University of British Columbia which injected mice with a human-equivalent dose of aluminum oxide found in some vaccines, observed that: "The multiple aluminum hydroxide injections of experiment 2 showed profound effects on motor and other behaviours as shown in Figs. 4 and 5. Multiple aluminum injections produced significant behavioural outcomes including changes in locomotive behaviour, and induced memory deficits on water maze tasks."
And a 2013 study conducted by Israeli and Italian researchers focusing on Gulf War Syndrome and other Autoimmune/inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA) conditions, found that adjuvants were "found to induce autoimmunity by themselves both in animal models and in humans," particularly for people predisposed to autoimmune issues.
"For instance, silicone was associated with siliconosis, aluminum hydroxide with postvaccination phenomena and macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome," reads the abstract.
Most medical professionals and pro-vaccine groups, however, point to the wide array of "vaccine-preventable diseases" which have killed tens of thousands of people - primarily influenza and to a lesser extent, Hepatitis B.
As such, many parents have requested that vaccinations be offered "a la carte" so that their children can be vaccinated against deadly diseases, while skipping largely-survivable "childhood inconveniences."