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Anti-Vaccination Groups Align With Outsider Candidate Against Lawmaker Who Wrote California’s Vaccine Law

Eduardo Verdugo / AP
 

Eduardo Verdugo / AP

California’s vaccination debate has cropped up again, this time in a district senate race between Independent party candidate Eric Frame and incumbent Democratic Senator Richard Pan.

The two candidates are vying for Pan’s Senate seat in district 6, which encompasses parts of Sacramento and Yolo counties. Pan is a pediatrician known for authoring a law banning the personal-belief exemptions that previously let parents opt out of vaccines for their kids. Now, those parents must get certain shots if they want their children to attend school. And Frame wants to see those exemptions put back in place.

“It’s a fact that children have adverse reactions” to vaccines, Frame said.

Major health and science organizations have stated that vaccines given to children have only minor side effects. And theories about vaccines causing autism have been debunked.

But a small and active contingent of parents in California still believe in the link between vaccines and autism. Some groups are actively trying to overturn Pan’s law, which took effect in 2016.

Frame is aligned with those groups. “So, when parents are, at the moment, forced to choose to give another vaccine to a child that has already had an adverse reaction, or take them out of public school and figure out a way to homeschool them, I think that’s a terrible choice to have to make,” he said.

Pan received 66 percent of votes in the district’s primary election this past June, and Frame received 13 percent. While Frame is unlikely to beat the incumbent, his messaging is being shared by vaccine skeptics on social media.

“Spreading misinformation about vaccines is dangerous,” Pan said about Frame’s campaign. “We’ve seen a fall in vaccination rates when people spread misinformation about vaccination, and we’ve seen a return of vaccine-preventable diseases.”

In January, Frame told Vaxxed TV, an anti-vaccination outlet, that he “would try and reverse as many things as I could that Richard Pan has put in place.”

Vaccines aren’t the only issue where Frame veers from convention. He speaks out against pesticide manufacturer Monsanto, claiming the products cause cancer. He also advocates for single payer health care policies, and wants to promote diet and lifestyle changes he refers to as “natural health care.”

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