The Truth About Vaccines and the Immunocompromised

April 16, 2015

Apr 16, 2015 · 8 min read

There’s nothing funny about an immunocompromised child.

Like the “boy in the plastic bubble” story many of us grew up with, parents of truly immunocompromised children face a daily fight to protect their children, and the stakes are life or death. It’s a scary, stressful, never-ending roller-coaster for these families, and vigilance is required every waking moment to protect these children from an enemy that parents often can’t even see.

For politicians rushing to remove vaccine exemptions and make vaccinations mandatory in many states, immunocompromised children have become the justification du jour for what is a clear assault on parental rights, informed consent, and medical freedom.

Having witnessed the use of the story of the immunocompromised (“IM”) child in public hearings here in Oregon, we were impressed by the power of the IM narrative in swaying the emotions and feelings of politicians, and for good reason,

What politician in their right mind would want to be seen voting against legislation intended to save the life of a child with cancer or some other type of IM-disorder?

The problem with the IM narrative is that it’s not just a little bit of a lie; it’s really a thundering herd kind of a lie. It’s not a lie you could drive a truck through, it’s a lie you could really drive a giant convoy through, as we will now explain.

The immunocompromised and Senate Bill 895

Senate Bill 895–5 here in Oregon, sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, would compel the following disclosures to take place by all schools:

  • Twice a year, schools in Oregon would need to send every parent a “Vaccination report card” showing vaccination rates by required shot for the entire student population (but not for teachers, which is absurd, and we will address down below).
  • Twice a year, schools in Oregon would also need to send every parent the details on the number of students in the school who had filed vaccine exemption forms, effectively choosing not to receive one or more of the 23 required shots to attend school in Oregon by using Oregon’s personal belief exemption form.

We really want to talk about IM children, so we won’t belabor the point that the very foundation behind all of Senator Steiner Hayward’s vaccine legislation during this legislative session is based on a premise — that vaccination rates in Oregon are falling — that is 100% false, aka “a lie.”


Last week on Thursday, April 9th, Senator Steiner Hayward testified before the Senate Education Committee on the merits of SB 895.

From her testimony advocating for SB 895, Senator Steiner Hayward’s opening characterization, was that SB 895 would:

“Enhance parent awareness if their child is medically fragile, about local immunization rates.”

“Medically fragile” and “IM” are synonyms, and Senator Steiner Hayward made it clear that this was the WHY behind the NEED for SB 895.

Why school-based vaccination rate information doesn’t help the Immunocompromised

  1. IM children are at risk from all communicable diseases, not just the ones we vaccinate against, which is only 10 of the 67 that OHA considers serious enough to require reporting within 24 hours of identification

com·mu·ni·ca·ble (kəˈmyo͞onəkəb(ə)l) adjective (of a disease) able to be transmitted from one sufferer to another; contagious or infectious.

The Oregon Health Authority is very clear about the 67 diseases they consider serious enough to require health workers to report on within 24 hours (or less) of having identified their existence, as this web page makes very clear. How many of those 67 diseases do children receive mandatory vaccines for? Take a look:

So, wait a minute, 57 of the 67 most communicable diseases recognized by the OHA — including 13 of the 17 that they want “immediate” reporting for — don’t even have vaccine protection? What’s an IM parent supposed to do?

The truth is, a truly IM child has mortality risk from the common cold. What do parents of truly IM children do? They keep their children home until their immune system is strong enough for them to risk interacting with the population, as IM parent Jean Ghantous (her daughter battled cancer as a child) so clearly explains here:

If my child were at a stage of treatment in which she was very immunocompromised, she would not be in school. My daughter missed most of fourth grade and a good portion of fifth, not because she was so sick, but because others were sick. Despite a nearly 100% vaccine compliance rate at our school, there were regular outbreaks of shingles, occurring after chicken pox vaccine boosters, influenza and other illnesses. Please note that, even in areas in which vaccine compliance is extremely high, there are still outbreaks of disease that are not caused by the unvaccinated

Take a look at this chart. In the middle, you can see a hypothetical IM child in a classrom with 25 students and 3 adults. Look at all the conditions that aren’t vaccinated for, aren’t reported, and don’t prevent children from attending school. There’s no realistic scenario where an IM child is “safe” in a school setting.

2. In one of the great ironies of SB 895 and IM children in general, one of the greatest threats to the immune system of an IM child is — wait for it — live virus vaccines.

The MMR II vaccine insert is pretty clear about this reality:

Excretion of small amounts of the live attenuated rubella virus from the nose or throat has occurred in the majority of susceptible individuals 7 to 28 days after vaccination.”

And this study from Pediatrics implicates the Chicken Pox vaccine in the same way:

Five months after 2 siblings were immunized with varicella vaccine, 1 developed zoster. Two weeks later the second sibling got a mild case of chicken pox. Virus isolated from the latter was found to be vaccine type. Thus, the vaccine strain was transmitted from the vaccinee with zoster to his sibling. Vaccinees who later develop zoster must be considered contagious.

Again, here’s mother Jean Ghantous again discussing live virus vaccines:

One of the first things we were warned about after my daughter’s diagnosis was live-virus vaccination. No one in the family was to receive a live-virus vaccine while my daughter was on treatment because these viruses can and do shed , some for as much as four weeks, potentially infecting the immunocompromised patient with disastrous results. That includes the measles vaccine (MMR II and ProQuad), the intranasal flu vaccine, and the chicken pox shot. In fact, my other children were able to get medical waivers not to receive vaccines because of my daughter’s illness. I know my child is much more likely to encounter a peer at school who has been recently vaccinated with a live-virus vaccine than she is to encounter natural disease from an unvaccinated child.

And, she included the inpatient visiting guidelines from the hospital where her daughter received cancer treatment:

It really can’t be much more clear than that:

“These vaccines may pose a threat to your child’s health.”

Johns Hopkins Hospital included the same information for their IM patients:

The National Vaccine Information Center also offers an extensive report on viral shedding right here. They mention: “Shedding after vaccination with live virus vaccines may continue for days, weeks or months, depending upon the vaccine and the health or other individual host factors of the vaccinated person.”

This brings up a policy question for the sponsors of SB 895, and it’s a policy question based on very clear and obvious “science”:

If the purpose of SB 895 is to protect IM children, doesn’t the above evidence clearly demonstrate that the schools also need to report whenever any students, teachers, or administrators receive a live virus vaccine?

3. Today’s catchphrase — “community immunity” — blithely ignores the vaccination status of any adults in the school setting including teachers, administrators, custodians, and parent volunteers, which we estimate make up 10–20% of any school population.

The data SB 895 would mandate schools send to parents is useless for one obvious reason: It doesn’t include teachers, administrators, parent volunteers, or custodians; typically 10–20% of any school population.

How is the parent of an IM child supposed to measure herd immunity if he or she has no idea if her child’s teacher is vaccinated? Does the IM child’s body differentiate between a germ or virus passed from the hand of a teacher versus a student?

Of course it doesn’t!

Senator Steiner Hayward has now been asked about this fairly glaring data omission and twice her answer has been something along the lines of, “I don’t think we can legally compel adults to tell us.”

To which, we answer:

“The law’s ostensible prevention of you obtaining information doesn’t make the ‘community immunity’ data any less useless to an IM child and their family.”

Can we stop making laws and claiming we are helping a group of very sick children who would actually receive no benefit whatsoever? It smacks of politics and propaganda, but more than anything, Senator Steiner Hayward, it’s really just


We consider the use of IM children as a basis for vaccination policy to be highly exploitative of the IM children and their families, and this “Momcologist” agrees with us:

“Once again, the government and drug companies are exploiting the plight of children stricken by cancer to achieve a profit-driven end without actually helping them.”

  • Jean Ghantous (a wife and mother of three with a background in science, who formerly held a position with a pharmaceutical company as a research specialist)

This article was written by several well-meaning Oregonians who are big fans of medical freedom and informed consent who apparently have nothing better to do than crunch numbers. We have nothing to gain or lose financially from the passage of this bill. We have proudly joined a movement of a few thousand Oregonians fighting this legislation, the organizing website can be found here: We have written a series of articles on this topic, in chronological order they include:


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    Parents, not Profits