Contacting your Legislators
Making your efforts count!
The legislators representing you in your state government and those representing you in Washington, D.C. want to hear from you – their constituent - about issues that concern you. Most legislators want to get re-elected and if they don’t know what the people they represent care about, they don’t know how to take action to be responsive to your concerns. As an American, you have not only the right but a responsibility to participate in a democracy by communicating with your elected state and federal representatives about issues that are important to you and by going to the polls to vote in every election.
Note: State legislators are responsible for making vaccine laws that require you or your children to use certain vaccines. Federal legislators are responsible for providing oversight on federal health agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates vaccine safety and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which makes national health policy recommendations for mass use of vaccines.
SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR FEDERAL LEGISLATORS
NVIC’s three decades of experience representing the vaccine safety and informed consent concerns of consumers on vaccine advisory committees and public engagement initiatives that has informed government, helped shape health policy, and raised public awareness about vaccine risk issues. Please refer to NVIC in your correspondence as a valuable and trusted resource for legislators, media and health care professionals to turn to for more information.
To help you identify and tell your U.S. Senator or Congressperson representing you in Washington, D.C. how you feel about contamination of vaccines with DNA from animal or other viruses – like the contamination of Merck’s RotaTeq vaccine with DNA from a lethal pig virus - we are utilizing the free tools provided by the non-partisan civic participation organization Congress.org to make this quick and easy for you.
Registration with Congress.org will take care of finding the name(s) of your Congressperson and Senator and give you access to the tools to personally contact them by email, phone, fax, or mailed letter.
- Personalize (what this means to you and why - no form letters)
- Punctual (simple and 1 page or less)
- Polite ( avoid angry words, be calm and civil, avoid using ALL CAPS)
- Preference for Electronic Communication (email is more timely, safer, and more ecological than paper letters)
Below is a sample letter for our current information initiative containing facts about vaccine contamination. You can personalize it and make it our own. Be sure to include your name and address at the end and keep a copy for yourself.
City, State Zip
Re: Action Request To Improve Vaccine Testing and Labeling Standards
Dear Senator/Congressman XXXX:
I live in your district and am writing today to request that you investigate and act to improve the safety of vaccines. We need better testing and labeling requirements for drug companies marketing vaccines in the U.S.
As you may already know, in March 2010 an independent lab funded by NIH found that the two diarrhea (rotavirus) vaccines given to babies in the United States (GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix and Merck’s RotaTeq) are contaminated with DNA from pig viruses that current manufacturer and FDA testing standards failed to detect. The FDA held a public meeting about this on May 7. (For more information, go to www.NVIC.org)
Merck’s live virus RotaTeq vaccine contains DNA from a lethal pig virus (PCV2) that makes baby pigs very sick with a wasting disease and many baby pigs die from it. Yet, Merck has not voluntarily recalled RotaTeq from the market.
Public health officials at the CDC have not been completely honest with doctors and parents about the contaminated rotavirus vaccines. The CDC’s new Rotavirus Vaccine Information Statement (VIS), which was mandated to be given to parents under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, contains no information about RotaTeq vaccine containing DNA from a lethal pig virus. Parents are only told that both rotavirus vaccines contain “a virus (or parts of the virus) called porcine circovirus” and that “there is no known safety risk.”
I have children and am very concerned about the potential serious health problems that could be caused now or in the future from giving babies vaccines contaminated with animal or other viral DNA, especially parts of a lethal animal virus.
The FDA’s current vaccine testing regulations are inadequate. The FDA only recommendsand does not legally require vaccine manufacturers to test their vaccines for contamination. The FDA should immediately institute legal requirements for testing and raise standards for labeling. The FDA should also adhere to the precautionary principle and recommend that Merck voluntarily recall RotaTeq vaccine until it is free from contamination with DNA from a virus that injures and kills pigs.
Every vaccine should be thoroughly tested for purity and accurately labeled so we are fully informed about vaccine contents and are able to make educated vaccine choices. I respectfully request that you take action to ensure that drug companies and the FDA properly test and label vaccines before releasing them for public use.
Thank you for your help and I look forward to hearing about what you will do to make the vaccine supply safe.
123 Main Street
Hometown, XX 12345