Midwife Janet Breen says Baldwin midwife falsified vaccine records for 1,500 babies and is fined $300

Midwife Janet Breen says Baldwin midwife falsified vaccine records for 1,500 babies and is fined $300

The state Department of Health fined a Nassau County midwife $300,000 for falsifying vaccination records for nearly 1,500 children, most of them from Long Island, officials said Wednesday.

Children’s immunization records have been canceled and they must prove they are up to date on required doses or are in the process of getting them before returning to school, according to the health department.

Beginning in 2019, licensed midwife Janet Breen, who runs Baldwin Midwifery, gave students “a series of oral pellets marketed by an out-of-state homeopath as an alternative to vaccination,” the health department said in a statement. Breen then entered the children’s records into the New York State Immunization Information System and falsely claimed that the children had been immunized. It administered about 12,449 fake vaccinations before the state cut off its access to the system in December 2022.

The agency contacted 300 schools in the state on Wednesday morning, and they, in turn, will notify parents of children who have immunization cards provided by Brin, the state said. More schools could be identified in the plan, which extends across the state in more than a dozen counties, including Nassau, Suffolk, the Five Boroughs and Westchester, as far as Erie and Saratoga.

what do you know

  • A midwife based in Baldwin falsified vaccination records For about 1,500 children, according to state health department officials.
  • Janet Breen gave the children homeopathic oral globules They then submitted records to the state claiming they had been vaccinated, officials said.
  • She had to pay $150,000 immediately You could face another $150,000 fine if you try to misrepresent the immunization again.

This is the second recent case of a Long Island health care practitioner falsifying vaccine records. Last year, Amityville pediatric clinic owner Julie Devono was convicted of falsifying coronavirus vaccination records. The state Department of Health is investigating whether immunization certificates for other diseases were also forged.

The Nassau and Suffolk health departments advised school districts to require any child with immunization records from that practice to obtain proof of vaccination from a different health care provider, though districts pushed back as parents pushed back.

The fraud by Breen began three months after non-medical exemptions for required school immunizations were eliminated in June 2019, according to the state. This occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic and did not include the vaccine.

Janet Breen in 2020. She has agreed not to give a vaccination that must be reported to the state registry.

Credit: Johnny Milano

Breen admitted to falsely stating that the children were properly immunized with several vaccines including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella, and influenza.

Health officials said the pellets are not licensed by federal or state agencies as an immunization against any disease.

She also falsely reported that she had been given a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster vaccine more than 400 times even though she had never received the vaccine.

“Misrepresenting or falsifying vaccine records puts people’s lives at risk and undermines the system that exists to protect public health,” state Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said in a statement.

When reached by phone on Wednesday, Breen declined to comment.

“Ms. Breen has provided excellent midwifery services for many years to many families,” her attorney, David M. Eskew, of Manhattan, said in an email. He added that Brin “cooperated with the Ministry of Health throughout the investigation and paid the fine and intends to adhere to all requirements of the agreement.”

‘Deeply disturbing’ report

Breen agreed to pay a $150,000 fine as part of a condition and order she signed, in which she also agreed not to administer the vaccination, which must be reported to the state registry. The remainder of the fine will be waived if you comply with the terms of the order. Any history you provide to patients about products that claim to provide immunity should clearly state that they are not recognized by the government as alternatives to traditional vaccinations.

Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gilman called the false vaccination report “deeply troubling,” noting that immunization is a critical public health tool.

She urged any parent or guardian who has concerns about their child’s vaccination status to contact the department’s Office of Immunizations at 516-227-9416.

Maria Rianna, Nassau County Board of School Supervisors, said in a statement that all affected school districts in the county will abide by the state health department’s decision. “We will work with affected families to help them update the required immunization records for their children so they can return to school as soon as possible,” she said.

Timothy Hurney, president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, declined to comment.

Breen earned her license in 1995 and was certified with directing distinction as of Wednesday, according to a state database. She also has a registered professional nursing license.

The state Department of Education has the authority to pursue professional misconduct charges against Breen’s license. A department spokeswoman declined on Wednesday to comment on Brin’s case.

“We take all allegations of misconduct and neglect of duties against licensed professionals very seriously,” spokeswoman Keshia Cloukey wrote in a statement. “However, due to confidentiality concerns, I cannot comment on a specific case.”

State officials noted in the condition document that Breen has a “history of helping patients try to avoid mandatory immunization.” In 2017, I wrote a waiver request for a hospital employee who was required to get a flu shot. Breen met with the woman once and tried to say she shouldn’t get vaccinated because the employee was pregnant and questioned the safety of flu vaccines for pregnant women. State officials noted that the flu vaccine is recommended for pregnant women during flu season by health experts including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2014, Breen received a two-year suspension and two years of probation from the Board of Regents for “failure to maintain accurate patient records.”

Geographic access

Although vaccine fraud is not common, there are “other incidents happening here and across the country,” said Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University and an expert on vaccine policy.

He said the geographic scope of Breen’s fakery — including schoolchildren in New York City and in counties upstate, hundreds of miles away — suggests word spread among anti-vax parents about her practice.

“People don’t come from 300 schools all of a sudden,” he said.

Anti-vaxxers are sharing advice and information via closed social media groups, Kaplan said.

Kaplan said alternative homeopathic medicines are not always safe. He said that studies have found contamination in such products, and there is a possibility of severe allergic reactions.

Unvaccinated children put other children — and adults and infants — at risk, Kaplan said. He said this includes children who received the original vaccines, because in a small percentage of these children, the vaccines are not fully effective.

He said diseases like measles can be dangerous not only for some children, but for infants and the elderly who may come into contact with them.

Before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, 400 to 500 people died from measles each year, and approximately 50,000 were hospitalized, according to the CDC. Diphtheria killed more than 15,000 people in 1921, before vaccinations against the disease became common, the CDC says.

Richard Carpiano, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Riverside, and an expert on vaccines, said falsifying vaccine documents is a serious crime, and Breen should lose her midwife and nursing licenses.

“She exposed children to the risk of disease,” did not follow clinical guidelines, lied while filling out medical documents and violated the “moral and ethical conduct of the practice,” he said.

Carpiano noted that after California banned non-medical vaccine exemptions, a small number of doctors there began writing many medical exemptions — even though very few children needed a medical exemption. He said the state later increased monitoring of doctors.

(Tags for translation)Child and Adolescent Health

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