Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC), an organization of doctors and scientists who encourage using statistics to safeguard public health, recently flew in doctors from across California to educate members of the Senate Committee on Health about the risks of measles vs. the risks of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine—which are explained in PIC’s opposition letter [1] to California SB 276, a bill that would allow only state public health officers the right to grant or approve vaccine exemptions to children at-risk of vaccine injuries.[2] PIC’s doctors included Dr. Shira Miller, Dr. Lionel Lee, Dr. Edmond Sarraf, Dr. Melanie Gisler, and Dr. Charles Penick.

At the Senate Committee on Health hearing for SB 276, on April 24, 2019, Dr. Erica Pan, interim health officer at Alameda County Public Health Department, testified to senators that 1 in 1,000 measles cases result in death, a figure that contradicts measles death statistics by 10-fold from the pre-vaccine era.[3] As Dr. Alexander Langmuir, director of the epidemiology branch of the Communicable Disease Center (now Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for 21 years, explained in his seminal 1962 paper,[4] measles is a “self-limiting infection of short duration, moderate severity, and low fatality,” and “…in the United States measles is a disease whose importance is not to be measured by total days disability or number of deaths.”

Between 1959 and 1962, before the introduction of the measles vaccine, about 400 measles deaths among approximately 4 million measles cases occurred every year in the United States, which results in a 1 in 10,000 (0.01%) chance of a child dying from measles, not 1 in 1,000. This information is explained in detail in the PIC educational documents, the Measles Disease Information Statement (DIS)[3] and Vaccine Risk Statement (VRS),[5] which were provided to all California legislators.

By comparison, over 23,000 infant deaths occur every year in the U.S. from all causes and the chance of a child dying in his or her first year of life is currently 1 in 170 (0.6%)[6]—which is 60 times the risk of a child dying from measles in 1962, a time period when almost every child had measles by age 15.[3]

Now, misinformation concerning measles data is rampant. On April 29, 2019, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2018, stated in a CDC telebriefing that, “There are no treatment and no cure for measles and no way to predict how bad a case of measles will be.”[7] However, Dr. Redfield’s statement is erroneous. High-dose vitamin A and immunoglobulin (passive immunization) are available for the treatment of measles upon exposure,[3] there is evidence that the antiviral ribavirin is beneficial in the treatment of measles,[8-10] and 99.99% of measles cases fully recover.[3] Additionally, 75–92% of hospitalized measles cases are low in vitamin A, and vitamin A status is a known factor that can be used to predict the severity of measles.[3]

“Misrepresenting the measles death rate by 10-fold is dangerous because it prevents one from accurately comparing the risk of measles vs. the risk of the MMR vaccine,” said Dr. Shira Miller, PIC founder and president. “If a doctor doesn’t know the true risk of serious harm from measles and doesn’t know that effective measles treatments are available, how can he or she determine which children are more at-risk of vaccine injury than being harmed by a measles infection?”

One of the risks of the MMR vaccine is seizure, which occurs in up to 1 in 641 vaccinated children, 1 in 252 vaccinated siblings of children with a history of febrile seizures, and 1 in 51 vaccinated children with a personal history of febrile seizures;[11] with 5% of febrile seizures resulting in epilepsy.[12] Furthermore, a review of more than 60 MMR vaccine studies conducted for the Cochrane Library states, “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate.”[13]

“There are more ethical solutions to the rare complications that occur from measles in the United States than banning physicians from making personalized vaccine recommendations for their patients,” said Dr. Miller.

Physicians for Informed Consent is a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization representing doctors and scientists whose mission is to safeguard informed consent in vaccination. In addition, PIC’s Coalition for Informed Consent consists of more than 150 U.S. and international organizations. Visit for more information.