Rob Schneider cries "FREEDOM!" to refuse vaccination

This weekend was the 4th of July, Independence Day. It’s the most patriotic holiday of all, at least for Americans. We celebrated it in the usual way, with parades, fireworks, the odd lost digit or two, and barbecues. Unfortunately, there’s another thing that the 4th of July inevitably brings on as well, and that’s the invocation of liberty to support dubious causes. Given what happened last year around this time in California, regular readers probably have an idea where I’m going with this. Yes, I’m referring to antivaccine activists invoking “rights” and “freedom” to justify their refusal to vaccinate their children. The invocation of “parental rights” and “health freedom” are the ultimate dog whistle for antivaccinationists, wherein patriotic ideas like “freedom” are co-opted in the cause of not vaccinating. Dr. Bob Sears excels in this; he’s not even subtle about it. Conservative politicians with a propensity for antivaccine views, like Rand Paul or my very own state senator, also like to conflate “freedom” in general with the “freedom” not to vaccinate. That’s leaving aside even the most loony antivaccine politician of all, Donald Trump.In California, as SB 277 took effect on July 1 and eliminated non-medical exemptions in California, antivaccinationists lost it even more than they usually lose it.

So whose turn is it this time to use the 4th of July as an excuse to spew antivaccine nonsense and try to repackage it as “freedom”? This year, I’m afraid it’s very disappointing. Seriously, antivaccinationists really do need to find a higher quality celebrity to represent them. Yes, this year they got Robert DeNiro, but his handlers are clearly desperately trying to keep him from publicly spouting too much antivaccine nonsense, and he hasn’t been much heard from since he let it be known that he wanted to make a “vaccine documentary” with Harvey Weinberg. So I guess when the 4th of July rolled around, all they could count on was Rob Schneider.

Yes, that Rob Schneider.

This time around, Schneider wrote something (or someone wrote it for him) for The Vaccine Reaction, a blog published by Barbara Loe Fisher’s Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). Blowing that antivaccine dog whistle loud and proud on the 4th of July, Schneider entitled his post We Must Protect Our Vaccination Informed Consent Rights, and, yes, SB 277 seems to be the inciting factor.

But first, experience this introduction:

The most basic of all human rights is the ability to have control over your own body and be able to exercise informed consent when making medical decisions that can harm you or your child.

There is a concerted effort by the pharmaceutical industry, medical trade groups and their lobbyists and our paid elected representatives in state and federal government to persuade legislators to abolish rights that individuals and parents have in making informed choices about what is best for their health and their children’s health.

In 1986, Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act and declared that government licensed and recommended vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court said the same thing when they shielded vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury lawsuits: vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” Their words.

Um no. Not quite. Clearly, Schneider’s conflating two different things, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act that formed the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and a legal decision from five years ago, Bruesewitz v. Wyeth. The NCVIA never actually uses the term “unavoidably unsafe.” Rather, it states:

...[n]o vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if the injury or death resulted from side-effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.

Schneider seems to be taking a common antivaccine trope in the wake of Bruesewitz v. Wyeth and, as is his usual habit, not thinking clearly about it; that is, ife he can even think at all. First of all, as Dorit Reiss explains, even if the NVCIA did characterize vaccines as “unavoidably unsafe,” that doesn’t mean they are dangerous or, just as importantly, defective. To be defective, a product has to be unreasonably dangerous, either because it was poorly made or designed or because consumers weren’t aware of its dangers.

There is such a thing as an “unavoidably unsafe” product, as Reiss explains:

There are some products which, in the present state of human knowledge, are quite incapable of being made safe for their intended and ordinary use. These are especially common in the field of drugs. An outstanding example is the vaccine for the Pasteur treatment of rabies, which not uncommonly leads to very serious and damaging consequences when it is injected. Since the disease itself invariably leads to a dreadful death, both the marketing and the use of the vaccine are fully justified, notwithstanding the unavoidable high degree of risk which they involve. Such a product, properly prepared, and accompanied by proper directions and warning, is not defective, nor is it unreasonably dangerous.”

The last sentence is the important one: A vaccine whose benefits outweigh its risks is not unreasonably dangerous or defective – even if the risks are as frightening as those attributed to the Pasteur vaccine, let alone modern vaccines, with their much lower risks.

In other words, an “unavoidably unsafe” product is not a dangerous product. It’s a product with risks, even when properly used, but where the benefits of its use outweigh the risks. This is, of course, true for vaccines, whose risks are very, very low indeed. As for Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, I discussed the case in detail when its ruling was first announced, which is when antivaccine activists latched on to the term “unavoidably unsafe,” and Dorit Reiss discussed it in even more detail a couple of years ago. It was a ruling that the NVCIA preempts claims that a vaccine manufacturer should have sold a safer formulation of a vaccine.

But I’ve spent more time discussing this point that I had planned. What stands out in particular is the dog whistling going on here. Notice how Schneider claims to be standing up for the right to “informed” consent, when in fact nothing in SB 277 invalidates informed consent. Parents can still refuse to vaccinated, but there is a consequence. Their children can’t access services where the presence of unvaccinated children endangers everyone by degrading herd immunity and facilitating outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease. In reality, what antivaccinationists want is not informed consent, but what I used to like to call “misinformed consent,” because what antivaccinationists want to use as the basis for informed consent are misinformation and pseudoscience that vastly exaggerate the risks of vaccines and vastly underestimate the benefits. I say I used to like to call it that because these days I think I prefer calling it “misinformed refusal,” to contrast it better with true informed consent. Maybe I’ll start doing that, because “misinformed refusal” of vaccines is exactly what people like Rob Schneider are promoting, while invoking freedom:

All pharmaceutical products, like prescription drugs and vaccines, carry a risk of permanent injury or death. No drug or vaccine is 100% safe or effective 100% of the time. It is also true that, as individuals, we do not all respond the same way to drugs and vaccines.

When there is a risk of permanent injury or death from any drug or vaccine, we must have a choice. If choice is taken away and people are forced to use any drug or vaccine licensed and mandated by our government, then we are no longer a free people but live in state sponsored medical tyranny.

I’m just waiting for Schneider to paint his face half blue, as Mel Gibson did playing William Wallace in Braveheart, and start yelling “FREEDOM!” imagining himself meeting William Wallace’s fate as a martyr for freedom.

Not surprisingly, this being Rob Schneider and all, his next move is to repeat common, easily refuted antivaccine tropes. For instance, he rants about how THREE BILLION DOLLARS have been paid out to children and their parents under the VICP since 1988. Whenever I see an antivaccine activist capitalizing “THREE BILLION DOLLARS” I can’t help but think of Doctor Evil in the Austin Powers movies demanding for his ransom one...MILLION DOLLARS! (Muahahahahaha!) It’s basically a rehash of the misinformation Schneider laid down three years ago about the Vaccine Court. For instance, he claims that most parents don’t know the deadlines for applying to Vaccine Court for compensation, without actually citing any data that this is true, and points out that 2/3 of claims are rejected. Of course, given how many people believe that vaccines cause autism and conditions that they don’t cause, labeling such conditions “vaccine injury,” it strikes me as pretty good if the VICP compensates 1/3 of complainants, assuming that Rob Schneider’s figures are correct, which is something I never assume. For example, one wonders what the percentage of complainants compensated is if you leave out the 5,000 cases of the autism omnibus, whose claims that vaccines cause autism were rejected based on test cases.

Much of the rest of the post is a “greatest hits” of the antivaccine movement. For instance, Schneider claims that Congress and the Supreme Court gave vaccine manufacturers COMPLETE IMMUNITY from product liability and personal injury suits when in fact that is not true. If a complainant is not compensated by the Vaccine Court, that complainant can then access the regular courts. All the VICP does is to require that the first step be the Vaccine Court, which uses a loosened standard of evidence for determining vaccine injury and even pays the court costs of complainants. The only reason antivaccinationists hate the Vaccine Court is because unscrupulous lawyers preferring to gamble on the chance to get big payouts from the regular courts rather than accepting the certainty of being paid much less by the Vaccine Court have convinced them that they could be compensates so much more if the Vaccine Court didn’t exist. In reality, these lawyers do not have the best interests of the truly vaccine-injured (as opposed to those whose parents only think they’ve been vaccine-injured) at heart at all. It is far better for such parents to have a higher probability of payout and have their court costs covered even if they lose than it is for them to gamble on big payouts with the vast majority of them receiving nothing at all.

Others are there, too, such as the claim that vaccines cause all sorts of horrible problems, that children receive more vaccines than any other generations, and how it was “media hysteria” over the Disneyland measles outbreak last year that lead to SB 277, making the claim that only “2.5% of children attending kindergarten in California had a personal belief exemption on file but those children will be blocked from getting a school education starting in the fall.”

Or you could look at it this way, the way a study in February looked at it:

The percentage of fully vaccinated kindergartners entering the state’s schools in 2015-2016 was the highest in a decade: 92.9%, up from 90.4% last year. State health officials say the measles outbreak at Disneyland a year ago might have scared a few parents off the vaccination fence, but SB 277, combined with another bill from 2012 that required parents to talk to a pediatrician before obtaining an exemption, had more to do with it.

That could be the difference between effective herd immunity and ineffective herd immunity.

After all that, Schneider concludes:

Now there is a concerted effort by public health officials to mandate vaccines for adults, too. Health care workers are being fired if they don’t get an annual flu shot, which CDC admits is a vaccine that doesn’t work half the time!

With hundreds of new vaccines being developed by industry and government, it is very important that we protect our legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccination for ourselves and our children because our civil rights also are being threatened if vaccination is tied to our ability to get an education, a job or medical care.

First off, no one is tying vaccination to our ability to receive medical care; that’s just not going to happen. As for tying vaccination to our ability to get a job, yes, that can happen, but only in health care fields involving direct patient contact, which is as it should be.

Of course, Schneider views this all as a huge conspiracy between industry and government to “force” vaccination when in reality it is nothing of the sort. It’s an effort to keep vaccination rates above the threshold of herd immunity in the face of antivaccinationists like Rob Schneider.

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Interestingly enough, I take various medications that could, trivially, kill those not requiring those medication.
By the antivax standard, those medications and my aorta shoud burst.
I'm also a childhood smallpox vaccine recipient, in adult life, receiving it yet again, several times. As it's the most risk full vaccine on the planet, I'm still cool with it.
Seriously, when a disease kills more than a third of its victims, yeah, the modest, but currently unacceptable risk is worth the effort.
Today, smallpox is extinct.
My honest, last dying wish, preferred long before I even get old, is, polio, measles and German Measles are all rendered extinct, along with diphtheria. I have modest hopes.

To the antivaxers, some of which threatened me, a singular member even managed to both dox me and threaten my entire family, as I responded then, as now, go for it.
If I'm feeling charitable, I'll use a firearm, as that's utterly unlikey a black hole shining like new money, let's suffice it to say, as back then that I did relate, it'd be edged weapons only and you'll depart in two body bags.

Yeah, there's a side of myself that I honestly loathe, but was treasured by the military enough to hold up a retirement for half a year.

I always wonder when I read about "medical FREEEEEEDOM!", would the advocates stand by my side if I decided to inject myself with, for example, a bubonic plague or some other highly contagious and lethal disease and then spend time with them and their children.

I mean it is my body and I should have complete freedom to do with it as I wish.

By The Smith of Lie (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

One more area where we may see - are already seeing - school immunization requirements tied to job is daycare or school workers. To remind you, in 2015 California also passed SB792 which requires daycare workers to receive certain immunizations - and appropriately so, for people working with young children.

I think what's common to health care and daycare workers are three things, and it's the combination of them that makes immunization mandates justified:
A. These are service professions, where you go in choosing to make your job serving and taking care of the interests of another. It's therefore appropriate to expect you to take precautions to do so.

B. These are professions where you work with vulnerable populations - sick people or young children.

C. These are already heavily regulated professions - you go in knowing your conduct, and to some degree personal conduct, will be subject to very intensive and intrusive regulation.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

About the 90-92% vaccine coverage:

That could be the difference between effective herd immunity and ineffective herd immunity.

Especially if most of these unvaccinated 10% are congregating around the same places, like a school. You could have a 95% coverage at the state level and only 80% in your own neighborhood.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 05 Jul 2016 #permalink

Freedom. The thing that ensures we can't control infectious diseases or gun violence. The thing that ensures women can't upset us by wanting to control their own bodies. Oh yes.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Narad will probably correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Bruesewitz expressly rejected the claim that vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe". Also, that if a claimant is rejected, their options are to accept the ruling, or appeal based on administrative reasons (i.e., the Special Master made a mistake), not that they can take their claim to the civil courts and sue directly.

However, manufacturing defect and labeling defect claims are still wide open for people to pursue in civil court.

The majority in Bruesewitz found that Congress was not referring to the unavoidably unsafe classification when it wrote the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, you are right.

I addressed that in the post Orac cited from -…

And you're also right about the result of Breusewitz. Petitioners unhappy with the NVICP result can no longer go to the regular courts with design defect claims, but they can with manufacturing or warning defect claims.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Todd W. (not verified)

Actually, Dorit could probably clarify. IANAL, as everyone knows, which is why I probably should have shortened the Bruesewitz section. After all, the overall point is that "unavoidably unsafe" doesn't mean what Rob Schneider and other antivaxers think it does when they use it to scare parents. And I do think you're right, neither the NCVIA nor Bruesewitz, I think, actually uses the term "unavoidably unsafe."


"the overall point is that “unavoidably unsafe” doesn’t mean what Rob Schneider and other antivaxers think it does"

True. IIRC, the Bruesewitz ruling said that the "unavoidably unsafe" language does not apply, but even if it did, the benefits of vaccines still outweigh the risks, and so they are not unreasonably risky.

No one is being forced to be vaccinated. Even the healthcare and daycare workers. Don't like it? Get into a different profession. You're not going to be kidnapped, whisked away, and have a needle thrust into your arm.

Healthcare workers who are against vaccination are already suspect in my mind.

Also, I really wouldn't want to send my kids (especially a baby) to a daycare where the staff weren't up to date on their vaccines.

Rob Schneider makes wasteoids appear intelligent. I invite Mr. Schneider to visit Eloy, AZ, where employees of a detention center are even now showing the consequences of "vaccine freedom" with regards to a measles outbreak (starting late May) in this facility that is up to 22 cases-- thanks to employee refusal to vaccinate (with subsequent media notification with each new case about places in Casa Grande and Phoenix where the newly infected staff member visited whilst contagious with measles.

From a recent news article when the case count reached 22 (… ):

When measles cases started surfacing at the Eloy detention center in the spring, Pinal County health officials made two requests, Health Director Thomas Schryer said.
"One was for the inmates or detainees to become vaccinated," Schryer said. "They all agreed to do that so they are immune and are not passing the disease amongst each other.

"The other was for the staff to either be vaccinated or provide proof of immunity," he said. "However probably about 40 percent of the staff have not done that, and what we’re seeing today and the reason we’re seeing cases out of that facility is because the staff are passing measles amongst each other, and unfortunately they’re going out into the community, so we expect to see more cases from those exposures."

He said workers are refusing vaccination requests and employers are trying to convince them otherwise.

This is what happens, Mr. Schneider, when people are "free" to refuse vaccines without consequences--they put are communities at grave risk, which is especially worrisome given that hundreds of Arizona schools are not at herd immunity levels for measles (AZ had the worst MMR rate for children in the US in 2015 per the annual CDC survey).

Even (to me at least) further infuriating is that the Director of the Arizona Dept of Health Services (AZDHS) does have the power under law ( , section H) to stop this outbreak but has refused to do so. It is only a matter of time if this measles outbreak (the largest since Disneyland in the US) continues before it breaks into the surrrounding communities.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

@ Chris Hickie

where employees of a detention center are even now showing the consequences of “vaccine freedom”

As a side effect, the inmates must be overjoyed with the free show.

"OK, warden Johnson is looking a bit pale. The betting pool is open. How long before he calls in sick, and how long before he comes back."

"Not so tough now, eh, mate?"

By Helianthus (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

De Nero is making a vaccine documentary with Harvey Weinberg?

I really hate people in the "service" industry that refuse common sense regulations - and especially those who want "religious" freedom to discriminate.....if they wanted that kind of "freedom" then perhaps they shouldn't have started a business who's sole purpose is to serve the public...then entire public.

From what I can gather, antivaccinationists support quarantine for dangerous infectious diseases. Well, many diseases are contagious while incubating prior to becoming symptomatic. We could, of course, quarantine everyone returning from abroad; but our borders are porous. In other words, not only not vaccinating ones own child puts him/her at risk; but risks other children as well if the unvaccinated child joins the chain of transmission. Since there are children who can't be vaccinated, e.g. autoimmune diseases, undergoing chemotherapy, and/or whose immune system just didn't respond sufficiently from vaccination, they have rights to.

The bottom line is that in a modern civil society, people have both rights and responsibilities. Unfortunately, Americans forget the second part "responsibilities." I find it offensive when antivaccinationist parents state publicly that their only concern is their own child. If everyone thought that way, they would rue the day they had made their statement. In addition, the antivaccinationists parents are ill-informed about the "risks" from vaccinationists, mostly mild reactions, though a few serious ones; but exponentially fewer than from the natural diseases they protect against.

Just an historical tidbit: Washington ordered variolation of all troops under his command. Smallpox killed 1/3 or more during an outbreak, leaving others blind, and recuperation time was long. Variolation had been found to reduce deaths to under 2%, closer to 1%, from the variolation. Yes, the procedure, a primitive form of inoculation, killed approximately 1% as opposed to the disease killing 1/3 or more. Most people would think Washington's decision highly responsible. The main point is that mandatory vaccination is nothing new in this country. And Washington offered the variolation to the civilian populations where his troops were and many availed themselves of it.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink


The notion that General Washington ordered smallpox inoculation of the Continental Army in 1777 simply isn't true as Jenner wouldn't make his discovery for another 19 years.

By Chadwick Jones (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Though it was true that he ordered the inoculation, I'm not sure how far it went from there. So, my mistake-- there is some truth to that claim.

By Chadwick Jones (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Just an historical tidbit: Washington ordered variolation of all troops under his command.

A wise precaution. More than a century later, nearly 90% of American military deaths, and about 60% of total casualties (including wounded), in the Spanish-American War were from disease rather than battle.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

@ Chadwick Jones

Jenner showed that vaccination for smallpox worked. However, I said Washington variolated his troops. Variolation was brought to England by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1717 and first used in a smallpox outbreak in 1721 in Boston. Ben Franklin initially opposed it; but later did some of the first statistical calculations, using number died and denominators of those variolated and those not, finding far fewer died who were variolated. There is a great little book, entitled "The Pox and the Convenant" about this episode in American history.

Variolation involves scratching the scab of someone with smallpox, taking the substance obtained and scratching someone who is still unaffected (in China, they powdered and inhaled it). Vaccination involved scraping the sores from an infected cow and then scratching the substance on a person. Before mouthing off, trying using Google and checking.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

If your children have such wide freedom, why do you refuse to let them drink, carry guns, have sex with another person, sign up to contracts and so on?


Moreover, paedophiles have THEIR adult freedom to engage with sex with your child because the rights of children to a safe and healthy life, despite being unable to enforce such rights personally are granted by society to be enforced BY that society, against the freedoms of the adult wishing to engage in practices that may be deleterious to the child.

Society has the right to vaccinate your child against the parents wishes for just the same reason as they would have the right to remove you from their life if you wished to have sex with them. EVEN IF the child claimed it was voluntary.

Because it's not YOUR child, they belong to themselves. You're responsible for their health. No more right than that.

And you don't have the right to risk them, even if you fervently believe it the best thing for them if society believes otherwise.

Don't like it? Move to a different country that will allow you.

E.g. Thailand.

At the hospital I work at, you are given a choice about getting the flu vaccine, get it or where a mask while you are at work.

By Ted YOunt (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

I hadn't thought about the rabies vaccine for a long time, but I do remember how awful its side-effects were. So bad that sometimes parents of bitten children would rather risk rabies than the vaccine. It seems to me there must be an opportunity there to produce a purified protein derivative that would have reduced side-effects. As I recall, there were reactions caused by egg allergy because of the use of eggs in the manufacturing process. There's no necessity for a rabies vaccine to contain egg protein. Why can't they use recombinant DNA to make a viral coat protein?

By Mark Thorson (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

@ Mark Thorson

From Wikipedia:

Rabies vaccines may be safely used in all age groups. About 35 to 45 percent of people develop a brief period of redness and pain at the injection site. About 5 to 15 percent of people may have fever, headaches, or nausea. After exposure to rabies there is no contraindication to its use. Most vaccines do not contain thimerosal. Vaccines made from nerve tissue are used in a few countries, mainly in Asia and Latin America, but are less effective and have greater side effects. Their use is thus not recommended by the World Health Organization

The human diploid cell rabies vaccine (H.D.C.V.) was started in 1967. Human diploid cell rabies vaccines are inactivated vaccines made using the attenuated Pitman-Moore L503 strain of the virus.[7] Human diploid cell rabies vaccines have been given to more than 1.5 million people as of 2006.[citation needed]

In addition to these developments, newer and less expensive purified chicken embryo cell vaccine, and purified Vero cell rabies vaccine are now available. The purified Vero cell rabies vaccine uses the attenuated Wistar strain of the rabies virus, and uses the Vero cell line as its host.

Only the vaccine made in chicken embryo cells would cause egg allergic people to react.

According to Wikipedia there is a recombinant rabies vaccines; but only used for animals.

The original Pasteur vaccine was quite nasty, involving multiple injections in the stomach muscles with lots of side-effects; but I haven't heard of many with the newer vaccines. Keep in mind that all vets and veterinary personnel, people working at zoos, game wardens, etc. get them prophylactically.

Given that except for, as I remember, 2 cases that survived full-blown rabies, if a bite is from a suspected rabid animal, any parent refusing the newer shots would be quite foolish.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

The scenario/film I'd like to see: Schneider as the patient entering sugery for his bowel obstruction.

Schneider: "I'll be OK won't I doc; I don't want to get an infection or anything"
Doc: "We'll have to see. I don't wear gloves or wash my hands before surgery. Didn't they tell you?"
Schneider: "Gulp! ..Whaaat...?"
Doc: "It's against my principles. I invoke "Health Freedom" - that should accord with your views surely Rob?"
Schneider: "Err.. I'm not too sure about that."
Doc: "Oh come on, what's the worst that could happen? Maybe you get some resistant coliform bug from my dirty hands? What's that compared to my rights to operate in the way I chose, unfettered by medical constraint and infection guidelines produced by some pharma shills?"
Schneider: "But..but.."
Doc: "And I hope they told you about my being a Hep B carrier and all. I didn't want the Hep B vaccine forced on me you see when I was a student. You'll understand exactly why, of course. Let's just hope I don't nick myself while I sew up your colon, shall we?"
Schneider: "Uhhh..."
Doc: "Rob? ROB..? Mr Schneider?! Quick someone get the arrest trolley and dial for the crash team!!!"

Wow: Even Thailand vaccinates. So do most developing countries, because they remember what happened when they didn't.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

And I do think you’re right, neither the NCVIA nor Bruesewitz, I think, actually uses the term “unavoidably unsafe.”

Bruesewitz does, by way of rejecting the Bruesewitzes claim that the concept applied (this would have gotten them a case-by-case analysis in state court). The reference to "Congress" is to a House report that endorses the comment k idea, but it's nowhere in the law and also rejected by the Court, I believe, but I've got at least one fractured rib at the moment, so it's hard to focus.


Healthcare workers who are against vaccination are already suspect in my mind.

Ditto. I wouldn't want to be treated by anyone who puts their own neuroses before patients' health. That's not the definition of medical professional. Find a different career: it will be best for all.

Also, that if a claimant is rejected, their options are to accept the ruling, or appeal based on administrative reasons (i.e., the Special Master made a mistake), not that they can take their claim to the civil courts and sue directly.

Right; the appeals path is to the regular Court of Federal Claims (which only checks for wanton recklessness by the Special Master), then the Federal Circuit, and then the Supreme Court.

However, manufacturing defect and labeling defect claims are still wide open for people to pursue in civil court.

Realistically, labeling defect is probably off the table too, because the FDA approves it.


Realistically, labeling defect is probably off the table too, because the FDA approves it.

True, but it's always possible for the manufacturer to become aware of some adverse reaction and fail to update their labeling. That could lead to both FDA action and open them up to a civil suit. Unlikely, but possible.


The scenario/film I’d like to see: Schneider as the patient entering sugery for his bowel obstruction [snip]

Major surgery? What, you couldn't find an adult-sized set of these?

Schneider wrote something (or someone wrote it for him) for The Vaccine Reaction

If Rob wrote that all by his lonesome, I'm Hannukah Harry. Not that he's 'too stupid' or anything, I just don't see him using language in that way. I'd guess that whoever wrote it, it's actually Fisher's voice, and she just wanted it published under a 'celebrity' byline for greater publicity, and to suggest a wider group of adherents to her line, including 'regular people' like the Scheid.

Regardless, I think it's a bit misleading to attribute the arguments to "Schneider", as that allows for them to be cast as just idiosyncratic rantings of a professional baboon. I mean, to non-AVs, the reaction would likely be, 'Rob Schneider? Who cares what he thinks?' Better, I think, to consider this post as expressing the institutional voice of NVIC. That is, I think the OP would be more on point, and more disturbing, if you did a global search and replace substituting 'NVIC' for 'Schneider' after the first blockquote.

Basically, people are selfish. Antivaxers are not unique in this manner. Americans seem to be selfish about a lot of issues. But, I digress. My point is antivaxers are selfish and want their way and don't care about others. They don't care that SB277 actually affords both sides freedoms and choices, they only care about themselves and their children. They never stop to think about society or the public.

I haven't seen Schneider's Twitter rants because he's blocked both of my Twitter accounts (Orac and my not-so-super-secret real name account). That means if I want to see anything by him I have to use my secret Twitter account that I've never used to post and keep for the sole purpose of seeing what those who've blocked me are saying. But only when I'm curious. I haven't checked on Schneider's Twitter rants for many a moon. :-)


Yeah, he's blocked me, too. There are ways around such things, though.

The Mel Gibson reference is more apropos than a lot of folks might expect... Gibson's celebrity was used in a similar way back in the 90s when the vitamin/supplement organizations were freakiing out at possible regulation and rather successfully lobbied Congress to protect their billion-dollar snakeoil industry free-for-all. (Special shout-out to Sen. Harkin and Sen. Hatch for that one, ouch...)

And though it may seem tangential, I think it's important to keep in mind that all of these charlatans, whether promoting "supplements" or "organic" food or antivax views with "alternative" medical options, all share the same pedigree and historical underpinnings, and especially the same market.

If you haven't seen this yet, brace yourself... it's a real whopper:

By scotty_perey (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

I'm of the same mind as has and Angela. Someone who objects to vaccinations shouldn't work in health care.

By shay simmons (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Re labeling defect: I agree with Narad that a warning defect against the manufacturer may be off the table because of FDA involvement. But a warning defect against a provider - especially one who failed to provide the VIS before vaccinating - may not be. The act revived the Learned Intermediary doctrine, which would make it hard to sue manufacturers anyway but puts more risk on the doctors.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Re labeling defect

Geez, and I'm still just on the tramadol.

I haven’t seen Schneider’s Twitter rants because he’s blocked both of my Twitter accounts (Orac and my not-so-super-secret real name account). That means if I want to see anything by him I have to use my secret Twitter account that I’ve never used to post and keep for the sole purpose of seeing what those who’ve blocked me are saying.

I'm not a Twitter user, so I have to ask: What is the logic behind this implementation of "blocking"? It's as if somebody is saying, "I'm going to write this for all the world to see, except certain specific people whom I don't want to see it." Of course there are workarounds for something like this. I've been told (but not verified for myself) that you do not actually have to be logged into a Twitter account to see tweets--that might be one workaround.

I get the idea that there might be Twitter stalkers, and something has to be done about that before it spills over into meatspace. But I don't see how saying that specific users (and only those specific users) are not allowed to read your Twitter feed is supposed to accomplish this. The ones who are determined enough to be potentially dangerous in meatspace will find workarounds.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

It's to be able to block stalkers and harassers. Also, if you're not logged onto Twitter, you can see Tweets, but you can't Tweet yourself. Also, serial offenders can have their Twitter accounts taken away by Twitter.

No one said it's a perfect tool, but I really don't know what else Twitter can do other than give the ability to block problematic users. I myself have blocked users who were simply too annoying, constantly Tweeting idiocy at me. It is a good thing.

@Eric Lund

Blocking can serve a legitimate purpose, like making it so you don't see the tweets from some annoying pest that constantly mentions you (though that can be achieved with muting, as well). It can also help to keep stalkers from seeing what you're up to, though, again, minimally. You can protect your tweets so that only people you approve can see your tweets, but that's rather silly for a celebrity to do if they want to engage their fans.

When it comes to anti-vaccine people, blocking seems mainly to serve two purposes: 1) prevent any unwanted and inconvenient facts from intruding into their echo chamber, and 2) prevent science-minded people from gathering blog fodder. It's pretty effective for #1, since getting around that is a bit tedious, but blocking is as good as useless at #2.

Yep. You can protect your Twitter stream so that only people to whom you grant permission can see it, but that doesn't work so well for celebrities, and relatively few people do that.


In case you ever write a post about a medical issue other than vaccines, you might want to consider this
cluster f.. f… failure:

“Functional MRI (fMRI) is 25 YEARS OLD, yet surprisingly its most common statistical methods have not been validated using real data. Here, we used resting-state fMRI data from 499 healthy controls to conduct 3 million task group analyses. Using this null data with different experimental designs, we estimate the incidence of significant results. In theory, we should find 5% false positives (for a significance threshold of 5%), but instead we found that the most common software packages for fMRI analysis (SPM, FSL, AFNI) can result in FALSE –POSITIVE RATES OF UP TO 70%. These results question the validity of some 40,000 fMRI studies and may have a large impact on the interpretation of neuroimaging results.”

Just a thought.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Todd: I don't do Twitter, but you seem to have taken my doubt that Schneider wrote that as relating to his opinion on vaccines, which it wasn't. I've read his previous remarks that Orachas quoted, and they fit your description of his Tweets as "rants". If anything, the post in question is more 'tame' linguistically than I'd expect Schneider to be.

The point, again, is that the sentiments Orac critiques have the backing of an organization that actually has had some clout in the past, and presents itself as the 'legitimate' voice of 'vaccine safety' concerns. In some ways, Fisher presenting her position under Schneider's byline offers her some protection as well as publicity. Schneider takes the flack, as he does here, and Fisher's free to go on acting like Ms. Responsible as she lobbies for her cause.

^ Which the f*ckwit also posted at Ethan's.

At many facilities, healthcare workers who refuse a flu vaccine have to wear a mask. However, at my local hospital (or one of them) administration decided EVERYONE gets a flu shot unless they are allergic to eggs or have a documented reason why they can't get one.

The university I'm attending is now requiring proof of MMR, varicela titers/vaccination, TDaP, and Hep B before students can participate in clinic. Meningitis vaccination for the younger students (I'm too old to need it).

I got Hep B and didn't seroconvert with after 2 series. I can't find my documentation for the second series.

If I have to get a third round, so be it. I got a TDaP booster two years ago because they wanted the Pertussis (we had a local outbreak). I'm allergic to Tetanus. A course of prednisone and diphenhydramine, and all is right with the world.

Worth it.

I wouldn’t want to be treated by anyone who puts their own neuroses before patients’ health. That’s not the definition of medical professional.

I'm going to start using the phrase Medical amateur for people like this, and CAM practitioners.

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 06 Jul 2016 #permalink

Rebecca @49: I have a childhood friend who is a nurse who expressed concern about the flu shot a few years ago on Facebook. While I was writing up a respectful pointed rebuttal, her dad posted a link to a Snopes article debunking her specific concern. And then my friend was all "Oh, you're right, now I see what a bad argument that was!" And never another word.
So people can learn and be sensible.

On the whole "fired if you don't get a flu shot": in the US, unless you have a contract (which is generally uncommon unless there is a union) you can be fired for anything that isn't a protected class. Thus, you can be fired for breathing too loud, or being left handed, or liking New Wave music. Or not getting a flu shot. It might be unreasonable, unfair or stupid, but it's legal. It's only not legal to fire someone as retaliation or for their race, religion, sex, gender, age, national origin or other protected class.

Anti-vaxxer is not a protected class.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

JustaTech: I'll add a wrinkle to your point, which is that there can be challenges to such dismissals under labor law for the claim of unilateral challenges of work rules in violation of collective bargaining agreement. There were challenges to mandates on those grounds How successful such challenges are depends on the collective bargaining agreement and the arbitrator - and at any rate, they only apply to unionized workers.

But generally, I agree with you. There might be a wrinkle if the claim is religious opposition to the shot, but safety concerns are not a defense against dismissal for refusal to vaccinate.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 07 Jul 2016 #permalink

In reply to by JustaTech (not verified)

"^ Which the f*ckwit was also posted under the f*ckwit's name at Ethan’s."

FTFY. Regardless of who posted it where, that doesn't clarify the questions of authorship and purpose. In the broader scheme of things, critique directed at Rob Scheider has no consequence for opposition to the policy agendas of antivax politicos. Fisher remains able to have at least enough legitimation in the corridors of power to "get their attention" (c.f. Chaffetz on the "CDC Whistleblower"). NVIC, not Schneider, is the voice that can make policy trouble, and when "Schneider" either voices or echoes NVIC's arguments and rhetoric, it's NVIC that needs to be countered and de-legitimated.

Um, not exactly. I think you really do attribute to the NVIC way more influence than it, in fact, has. The center of power in the antivaccine movement has shifted, and the NVIC hasn't been the main heavyweight in a long time.

It wasn't Barbara Loe Fisher who got Chaffetz's attention. It was a combination of antivaccine lawyers looking to sue vaccine manufacturers plus Del Bigtree and Andrew Wakefield. As far as I've been able to tell, Fisher had nothing to do with the Chaffetz meeting. Fisher might still be respected as the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, having been integral in starting the modern iteration of it back in the 19080s by igniting the DPT scare and contributing to the passage of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, but thirty years later her influence, other than as propaganda. The reason, of course, is that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the Vaccine Court are so widely hated by antivaccine loons, and they don't forget that Barbara Loe Fisher worked with legislators to draft and pass it, which, ironically, is the only thing of value Fisher has accomplished in this realm. It's also an action she now regrets bitterly, because the Vaccine Court has never ruled that vaccines cause autism and doesn't actually compensate every wild parental claim of vaccine injury. Also, trial lawyers hate it because they seem to prefer rolling the dice for a small chance at a big payout, from which they get 30%, to a guaranteed reasonable fee for representing complainants to the Vaccine Court. That's because they're all about money, not the children.

The last time hearings were held a couple of years ago, she didn't have much to do with them, either. The Canary Party and the AoA collective hive mind did, although they did use a video narrated by Schneider as one of their propaganda tool. Oh, and Jennifer Larsen's $40,000 contribution to PACs supporting Darrell Issa's reelection.…

If anything, I suspect that publishing a post by Rob Schneider, whoever actually wrote it, was nothing more than a strategy on Fisher's part to assert that she is still relevant.


In the picture you provided for this post, the two Warrior's behind the screaming Man are clearly looking at the camera. If Rob Schneider was in this picture he would have had this scene removed or reshot. Mr. Schneider is a talented professional both on-screen and off-screen no matter what arena he's in.

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 09 Jul 2016 #permalink


Mr. Schneider is a talented professional both on-screen and off-screen no matter what arena he’s in.

Um, no actually. He's only good when he's in films produced by Adam Sandler. He's also not above immature sniping, which is highly unprofessional.
When film critic Patrick Goldstein wrote a scathing review of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Schneider retaliated by mocking Goldstein for never having won a Pulitzer. The famous Roger Ebert had won a Pulitzer, and declared:

As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 12 Jul 2016 #permalink

OK, my error on Fisher. I know Schneider's a Canary, and I had the impression they were more aligned with Fisher, but obviously I have my taxonomy of the internecine AV feuds mixed up, and can't tell the People's Front of Judea, from the Judean People's Front, or the Judean Popular People's Front. "Never mind'."

Julian: I'm not sure "good" and 'Adam Sandler movies' belong in the same sentence. Schneider's character was the most entertaining part of Stallone's Judge Dredd, but that's not saying much. I'd say Rob's career highlight is an uncredited one-liner in another futuristic Stallone flick: “He doesn’t know how to use the three seashells!”

I disagree. I think that Schneider's career highlight was definitely Saturday Night Live.

He was also on the writing staff for three years. He is actually a funny guy IMO, but you wouldn't know that from his movies.

I used to despise him until I saw his stand-up comedy. He is a better writer than actor IMO.

But this is coming from someone that hasn't seen "Deuce Bigalow" and "The Hot Chick".

He is credited with writing the screenplay for both of these, so if they suck, it is a double indictment.


I’m not sure “good” and ‘Adam Sandler movies’ belong in the same sentence.

The thing is, most of them have made a lot of money, which is why he's constantly being given the opportunity to make more. I liked The Wedding Singer. It's silliness wasn't OTT and that was part of its charm.
@Travis: I didn't know about his stand-up work. I saw The Hot Chick. In my view it was amusing but forgettable. Ditto The Animal.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 13 Jul 2016 #permalink