By Barbara Loe Fisher
Revolution for Truth Rally | March 31, 2017 | Washington, D.C.
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We are gathered in our nation’s Capitol representing many thousands of Americans and their families, who cannot be here today because they are sick or caring for someone who is sick. 1 2 3 We are here for families and physicians living in fear they will be discriminated against and punished if they speak honestly in their communities about what they know to be true. 4 5 6 7 8
We have come to defend freedom of thought, speech and conscience, the inalienable natural rights that unite us, regardless of where we live, the color of our skin, the faith that sustains us, or the philosophies that define us.
We are calling on government to do its job and protect the people’s health - instead of protecting profit-making industries doing business with government and manipulating information released by the mainstream media.
We are advocating for the right to know the truth about the safety of the food we eat, 9 the water we drink, 10 the drugs doctors prescribe 11 12 13 and the vaccines Americans are forced to get to attend school, 14 and receive medical care, 15 16 and hold a job. 17 18
And we are here to witness the suffering of our children, who have no voice and have no choice except the one that we, their mothers and fathers, give to them.
We want government officials to explain to us why our country, which spends the most on health care 19 20 and has one of the highest child vaccination rates in the world, 21 is crippled by a chronic disease and disability epidemic that costs more than two trillion dollars a year 22 and has created the sickest child and young adult population in America’s history:
- 1 child in 6 learning disabled; 23
- 1 in 9 with asthma; 24
- 1 in 10 diagnosed with a mental disorder; 25
- 1 in 13 severely allergic to food; 26
- 1 in 20 epileptic; 27
- 1 in 50 developing autism; 28
- 1 in 400 with diabetes 29
and millions more struggling with other kinds of brain and immune system damage marked by chronic inflammation in the body.
There is no price tag high enough to put on the costs that will bankrupt our nation as these children grow up and many face a lifetime of health care and housing needs. 30
What kind of jobs will they hold? Where are they going to live? What happens when their parents die? 31
We will not be silent as the biological integrity of another generation of children is destroyed in this bitter harvest that can only continue if we allow it to continue.
I say this as a mother who witnessed my healthy, bright two and a half year old child suffer a convulsion, collapse shock and brain inflammation 32 33 within hours of his fourth DPT shot in 1980, that left him with multiple learning disabilities and 12 years confined to a special education classroom in the public school system. My son did not die and he was not severely brain damaged like so many children for whom the risks of vaccination turn out to be 100 percent.
But he was part of the tidal wave of learning disabled children emerging in the 1980’s, growing larger in the 1990’s, and exploding in the first decade of the 21st century 34 35 at precisely the same time that the federal child vaccine schedule tripled from 23 doses of seven vaccines in 1980 36 to 70 doses of 16 vaccines during the next 30 years? 37
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now directs doctors to give pregnant women vaccines that were never licensed for use during pregnancy.38 Then, on the first day of birth and continuing throughout childhood, doctors are told to give children six dozen doses of vaccines that contain genetically engineered viruses and bacteria, plus ingredients like mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, phenoxyethanol, gluteraldehyde, proteins, synthetic particles, antibiotics, and human, animal and insect DNA and RNA. 39
Where is the good science that demonstrates children are healthier when repeatedly given vaccines that artificially hyper-stimulate inflammatory immune responses 50 times before age six? 40
Just how sick do highly vaccinated children in America have to get before government health officials re-evaluate the assumption that more and more vaccination equals better health?
Show us the Science and Give Us a Choice.
Where is the credible scientific evidence that it is safe to give children amphetamines and anti-depressants with side effects that include suicidal thoughts and violent behavior, 41 or that children are healthier when they drink water full of fluoride, 42 and have teeth filled with mercury amalgams, 43 and when they eat genetically engineered and processed foods laced with pesticides, chemicals, hormones and antibiotics? 44 And why is government joining with the chemical industry and blocking the labeling of GMO food 45 so that Americans do not have the right to know and freedom to choose what they eat and feed their children?
Why was the 21st Century Cures Act created by Congress 46 and signed into law last year so FDA licensing and informed consent standards could be lowered even further? Now the skids have been greased for the pharmaceutical industry – the biggest lobby on Capitol Hill - to experiment on people without their consent, and to fast track drugs and vaccines to market even more quickly - without proving they are safe and effective first.
And why did Congress create a federal vaccine injury system administrative alternative to a lawsuit in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 - but take no action when the Departments of Health and Justice systematically gutted that law and turned it into a cruel joke? 47 Today, the majority of vaccine injured children are denied compensation so government officials do not have to admit just how many children are being brain damaged and dying after vaccination in America. 48
In 2011, Congress never said a word when Big Pharma used that law to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to effectively ban all vaccine injury lawsuits in America by declaring that FDA licensed vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.” 49
The $3.6 billion dollars in federal vaccine injury compensation that has been awarded to more than 5,000 vaccine victims since 1988 doesn’t begin to pay for the damage done, not when two out of three claims are denied, 50 and not when drug companies have no incentive to make vaccines less harmful because all Americans are legally required to purchase and use their liability free vaccine products.
Every promise that Congress made to parents in 1986 was a lie. And 30 years is long enough for parents to wait for that failed experiment in tort reform to work.
The liability shield protecting Big Pharma must come down.
No industry should ever be allowed to escape accountability in a civil court of law in front of a jury of our peers when profit-making products injure and kill people.
In 1962, American environmentalist Rachel Carson warned that the alliance between industry and government was poisoning the earth and human health. She said, “If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem.” 51
Twenty years later, parents of vaccine injured children in the Washington, D.C. area founded the educational charity known today as the National Vaccine Information Center, and launched the vaccine safety and informed consent movement in America, 52 while the environmental, 53 safe food 54 and holistic health 55 56 57 movements in the 1980s were also being powered by ordinary people demanding the people’s right to know and freedom to take control of their health.
These grassroots movements have been united by one truth: government has betrayed the public trust by forging business partnerships with the chemical and pharmaceutical industries that put profits, not people, first. 58 59 60 61 62 63 64
And, now in the 21st century when everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again, the public-private partnership between industry and government is moving to strip citizens of the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking. Laws are being passed that eliminate the right for Americans to exercise freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief 65 so they can be blackmailed into using vaccines with unacceptable risks that are also failing to work as advertised. 66 67
Albert Einstein, who risked arrest in Germany in the 1930’s when he spoke out against censorship and persecution of minorities, said, “Never do anything against conscience even if the State demands it.” 68
There is no liberty more fundamentally a natural, inalienable right than the freedom to follow our conscience when choosing what we are willing to risk our life or our child’s life for.
While we are all born equal, with equal rights under the law, we are not born all the same. Each one of us is born with different genes and a unique microbiome influenced by epigenetics that affects how we respond to the environments we live in. 69 70 71 72 We do not all respond the same way to infectious diseases 73 - or to pharmaceutical products like vaccines 74 - and doctors cannot predict which of us will be harmed. 75
This means that vaccine risks are not being borne equally by everyone in society, and forced vaccination is a de facto selection of the vaccine vulnerable for sacrifice.
Why should the lives of those vulnerable to vaccine complications be valued any less than those vulnerable to complications of infections?
And why should people not be free to choose to stay healthy in ways that pose far fewer risks? 76
These are legitimate scientific and ethical questions that should not be ridiculed by government, medical organizations and members of the mainstream media demonizing a growing number of people who are wondering why they either have a child, or know a child, who was born healthy and then suddenly regressed physically, mentally and emotionally and joined the ranks of the walking wounded. The people do not understand why government refuses to fund or conduct methodologically sound scientific studies to find out why the bodies of so many highly vaccinated children and adults are on fire, riddled with chronic inflammation that is common to most brain and immune system dysfunction 77 78 79doctors diagnose as:
- ADHD; 80 81 82
- epilepsy; 83
- allergies; 84
- autism; 85 86 87 88
- inflammatory bowel, 89 90 thyroid 91 and metabolic disease; 92
- rheumatoid arthritis; 93
- obesity; 94
- cancer; 95 96 97
- schizophrenia, 98 99 and
- depression 100
It was not always this way in America. I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s and remember when every child got measles, mumps and chickenpox before age 10, but there were no special education classrooms in public schools to house legions of learning disabled, autistic and emotionally disturbed children. I remember when it was the rare child who could not learn and half of the students were not carrying Epi-pens 101 and asthma inhalers 102 in their pockets, and there was no need to store student supplies of Ritalin and Prozac in the school nurse’s office. 103 I remember when we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch without being afraid it would kill one of our classmates. 104 105
The biggest public health emergency in America is not a few measles cases at Disneyland in a population of 320 million people, 106 107 108 where less than one percent of children are unvaccinated 109 and 95 percent of them have gotten two measles shots, and five pertussis shots, 110 plus dozens of doses of other vaccines.
The real public health emergency in America is the one that is being covered up by government agencies working overtime with industry and mainstream media to distract, deceive, stonewall and restrict the freedom of Americans to take control of their health.
The reaction by vaccine developers and others promoting “no exceptions” forced vaccination laws is to label parents disagreeing with them as “selfish” and to suggest they are “child abusers.” Or to insist, like pediatrician Paul Offit, that vaccine injuries and deaths are a myth and that children can safely receive 10,000 vaccines at once. 111 Or, like pediatrician Peter Hotez to call on the U.S. government and the G20 to wage a war on American parents defending exemptions in vaccine laws. 112
Dr. Hotez calls for parents disagreeing with him to be “snuffed out” – which means to "to extinguish, to suppress, to crush; to kill.” 113
So when Congress appropriates $1 trillion dollars a year to the Department of Health, 114 government officials employed by the CDC, NIH and FDA do not use that taxpayer money to fund quality research to identify children at high risk for vaccine injury, or to compare the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children to find out why parents consistently report that unvaccinated children are healthier and get higher grades in school than vaccinated children.
They do not use that money to find out why infectious microbes are evolving into more virulent and vaccine resistant forms, 115 116 117 118 or to find out how many children are developing genetic mutations after vaccination that damages their DNA. 119
Instead, public health officials hide their heads in the sand and collaborate with industry to create hundreds of new experimental vaccines 120 that will be fast tracked to licensure 121 and forced on you and everyone you know – no exceptions and no questions asked. They create government operated electronic medical records tracking systems; 122 they pit citizen against citizen by publicly posting the vaccination rates of schools on the CDC’s website; 123 and they go into churches and legislatures to lobby for all Americans to adhere to cradle to the grave vaccine schedules. 124 125 126 127 128
Today, if you live in California 129 or another state that has eliminated conscientious and religious belief vaccine exemptions and you refuse a government endorsed vaccine, you cannot get a school education, medical care or be employed as a child or health care worker unless you can find a doctor to write a medical exemption that 99.99 percent of Americans do not qualify for under CDC guidelines. 130131132
And tomorrow? Well, if Americans do not get up off their knees and stop worshipping doctors promoting junk science, tomorrow you will not be able to get on a bus, train or plane; enter a store or sports arena; obtain a driver’s license, file your taxes or function in society unless you can prove you have gotten every vaccine that industry creates and doctors implementing government policy order you to get.
And if you or your child get vaccinated, suffer brain inflammation and never recover your health, you can be sure that it will either be dismissed as “just a coincidence,” or you will be labeled genetically defective with the claim you would have become brain damaged even if no vaccines had been given.133 It is already being done and it is so easy to do, when nobody making, selling, licensing, giving and voting to mandate vaccines has any accountability in a civil court of law.
And the ones who know deep in the core of their being that their children are in danger, are the mothers, who carry their babies inside them for nine months and give birth and are endowed with a primal instinct that God gave women so they have the courage to protect their babies from harm until they are able to survive on their own. That biological imperative is hard wired into our DNA because it is what protects the survival of every species on this earth. 134 135136 137And yet, mothers, who know their children best, are being bullied, ridiculed and punished if they use their intellect and listen their gut instincts and refuse to violate their conscience when caring for their children. 138
It is time to reject the cruel pseudo-ethic of utilitarianism propping up mandatory vaccination laws that justify child sacrifice by reducing what is moral to a mathematical equation. 139
When the State considers one of us to be expendable, then we are all considered expendable.
And if the State can tag, track down and force individuals to be injected with biologicals of known and unknown toxicity today, then there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the state can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow
We can only throw off the chemical chains making us sick if we act to instill truth, integrity and compassion in government and defend freedom of thought, speech, conscience and informed consent to medical risk taking.
There is no greater calling for Americans in the 21st century than to defend those cultural values and human rights that protect against tyranny.
We will not be silent. We will not go away.
We are the daughters and sons of liberty, and our mission continues:
No forced vaccination. Not in America.
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137 Kim EK. Mom dies during childbirth to save 'miracle' baby's life. NBC Today Show Nov. 25, 2014.
138 NVIC.org. Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall.
139 Fisher BL. Forced Vaccination: The Tragic Legacy of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. NVIC Newsletter Nov. 2, 2016.
31 More Vaccine Bills Introduced in Past Two Weeks
by NVIC Advocacy Team
We are not even a full two months into the 2017 legislative sessions, and our NVIC Advocacy Team is tracking 134 vaccine related bills across 35 states on the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
We have added 31 new bills since our last update 2 weeks ago and 8 of these new bills are in 5 states appearing for the first time: MD, NV, UT, VT, and WV.
If you live in one of the following states, there are bills filed that can affect your rights: AR, AZ, CT, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, and WV.
Bills to Restrict, Eliminate or Expand Vaccine Exemptions
The following states are priority opposition alert state as they now have bills to restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions: AR(withdrawn), CT, IA, MN, NY, OK, PA, TX and UT.
The following states are priority support alert states as they now have bills to add or expand vaccine exemptions: HI, IA, ID, MS (died), NJ, NY, OK, RI, TN, TX, WA, and WV. If you are in WV, a bill was just filed last week to expand vaccine exemptions and your calls are needed on Monday to get the bill set for a hearing.
If you are in any of the following states, beware that there are bills filed to expand vaccine tracking or eliminate OPT-IN Consent for vaccine tracking and that these need to be opposed: CT, ID, KS, MA, MT, NY, TX and UT.
Bills to Shame Schoolchildren with Vaccine Exemptions
There are school shaming bills filed to require and normalize the public disclosure of vaccination and exemption rates in the following states: AZ, CT, NV, NY, OK, TX, UT, and VA (withdrawn). These bills need to be opposed as states that already do this have experienced increased media hostility towards schools or districts with lower vaccination or higher exemption rates. This instigates community driven discrimination and bullying of vaccine selective families.
If you are in CT, TX, or UT, there are discriminatory and presumptuous bills that need to be opposed that mandate families utilizing vaccine exemptions participate in state required vaccine education. Just because a family takes an exemption, doesn't mean they are lacking vaccine education. Conversely, just because a family vaccinates with everything, doesn’t mean they are educated yet no vaccine education is required of those blindly following recommendations.
Use NVIC Advocacy Portal To Take Action If You Live in One of These 35 States Where Vaccine Bills Are Moving
There are 134 bills filed that need your support or opposition! PLEASE LOG IN TO NVICAdvocacy.org for more detailed information including links to the bills themselves. Please understand that we are analyzing bills and updating the NVIC Advocacy Portal multiple times a day and this information changes daily so log in often. Use this resource to find out what is going on in your state and what you can do to help.
Here is a breakdown of the types of bills filed that we are tracking as of 2/24/17. Please note NVIC is opposed to the types of bills in bold and we support the types of bills not bold.
Exemptions and Informed Consent
- Restricting Vaccine Exemptions: CT, IA, MN, NY, OK, TX, UT
- Eliminating Vaccine Exemptions: AR, NY, OK, PA
- School Shaming and Exemption Disclosure: AZ, CT, NV, NY, OK, TX, UT, VA
- Expand Vaccine Exemptions: HI, IA, ID, MS, NJ, NY, OK, RI, TN, TX, WA, WV
- Protecting Vaccine Delay and Refusal from Child Abuse Claims: OR
- Add to Who Can Sign Medical Exemptions: TX
- Prohibit Docs from Throwing Exempting Patients out: TX
- Forced Detention and Treatment on Suspicion of Vaccine Preventable Disease: NY
- Expand Vaccine Informed Consent: OR, TX, WA
- Granting Minor Children Consent Authority for Certain Vaccines Without Parents: MN, NY, TX
- Granting School Nurses Vaccine Consent Authority for Homeless Children: WA
- Adds New Vaccine Mandates: CT, IL, IN, KS, KY, ME, MO, MT, NJ, NY, OR, VA
- Restricting Vaccine Mandates: MS, NH, NJ, OR
- Prevents Vaccine Mandates for Adults: MS
- Requires Children of Foster Parents to be Vaccinated with no exemptions: AZ
Vaccine Tracking and Reporting
- Eliminates OPT-IN Consent for Vaccine Tracking: MT, TX
- Expands Vaccine Tracking: CT, ID, KS, MA, MT, NY, TX, UT
- Requires Tracking of Parental Refusal of Vaccines: MD
- Requires Reports of Vaccine Reactions to Leg: VT
- Adds OPT-OUT on Forced Inclusion Vaccine Tracking System: MA
- Alters Vaccine Board Positions: ME
- Requires Public Schools to Conduct Health Visits to Private School Students: IA
- Prohibits Certain Ingredients in Vaccines: MO
- Requires Vaccine Promotion/Marketing: GA, IL, MD, NE, OR, TN, TX
- Permits Pharmacists Administer More Vaccines: HI, IN, KS, KY, MD, MT, NY, SD
- Expands Vaccine/Public Health Programs: WA
Individual Bills NVIC Is Tracking As of Feb. 24, 2017: You need to register and log into the NVIC Advocacy Portal, which provides free access, to view the specific information about the bills in your state.
NVIC Advocacy Team
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The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) works diligently to prepare and disseminate our legislative advocacy action alerts and supporting materials. We request that organizations and members of the public forward our alerts in their original form to assure consistent and accurate messaging and effective action. Please acknowledge NVIC as originators of this work when forwarding to members of the public and like-minded organizations. To receive alerts immediately, register at www.NVICAdvocacy.org, a website dedicated to this sole purpose and provided as a free public service by NVIC.
Federal Vaccine Advisory Committee Update
As 2017 unfolds, federal advisory committees - the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC), and the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV) - will be holding meetings throughout 2017. Over the past few years, the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) has been reducing the numbers of times it holds public meetings to discuss new vaccine licensing issues and currently has only one meeting scheduled in 2017.
These federal vaccine advisory committees shape national vaccine policies and influence state vaccine laws and policies. During 2016, each vaccine advisory committees’ meetings were punctuated with discussions on topics such as an HPV vaccine series dose reduction; discontinued use of live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV); strategies to insure the success of the National Adult Immunization Plan (NAIP); vaccine development innovation; and the ever increasing vaccine injury caseload for attorneys in the U.S. Department of Justice and Special Masters in the U.S. Court of Claims adjudicating the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP).
Though these committees are advisory in nature, the reality is that their recommendations and reports often get turned into state vaccine mandates and policies that negatively impact the availability of vaccine exemptions, as well as threaten consumer privacy and how vaccine exemption data is collected and shared across state and federal databases and with third parties (interoperability). In recent years, many of the recommendations made by these committees have resulted in an increase in the introduction of state bills and policies to restrict voluntary vaccine decision-making.
No State is Safe from Attacks on Vaccine Informed Consent Rights
It is the end of February and in most states, that means that the legislative sessions are underway and new bills are being introduced. The question is not if legislation to restrict your vaccine exemption and information disclosure rights will come to your state; the question is only when. NVIC is already monitoring over 100 vaccine-related bills in more than 30 states.1
The National Vaccine Information Center, now in our 35th year of working to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education, is an information clearinghouse on vaccine science, policy, law and ethics. Among our commitments to the public are providing public comment to and independent oversight on the actions being taken by federal vaccine advisory committees.
This information can be used when action is needed to defend informed consent rights, including protection of vaccine exemptions, but there is no substitute for citizen participation in the law and policy making process.
If you haven’t already registered to be a user of NVIC’s Advocacy Portal so you can stay up-to-date on vaccine bills moving in your state and receive email alerts on critical actions that need to be taken, please sign up now. It is a free public resource that provides analysis, talking points and puts you in contact with your own legislators. It is important that you visit the Advocacy Portal often so you don’t miss any vaccine-related bill moving in your state legislature and can make your voice heard even before NVIC issues an action alert.
DHHS Supports Tracking Vaccine Status of All Adults
While immunization information systems (IIS), better known as vaccine tracking registries, are largely already in place in every state so public health officials can track the vaccination status of all children, chief among the goals of the NVAC’s launch of the National Adult Immunization Plan (NAIP) 2 is to use these registries to also track the vaccination status of all adults. As NVIC previously reported, the NAIP is being launched to increase vaccine uptake in adults. Key strategies in the plan include incentivizing health care professionals to administer up to 11 vaccines to all adults starting at age 19 through 65, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommended adult vaccine schedule;3 outreach and networking with employers to require vaccination as a condition of employment; and tracking adult vaccine status with state owned registries (IIS) and health information exchange (HIE) databases.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Acting Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) Karen DeSalvo M.D. reaffirmed support for the NAIP. Dr. DeSalvo also reported the tripling of health care providers creating Electronic Health Records (EHR), which are electronic versions of personal health/medical records created by health care professionals. Use of EHRs under “meaningful use” provides the ability for government health officials to target populations for vaccination when needed. During the meeting the acting ASH stated that DHHS would use their “bully pulpit” to increase adult vaccination for emerging diseases like Zika.4
State Vaccine Registries Use Electronic Medical Records
Much like state vaccine registries, rules for state HIE databases that contain personal medical information on Americans differ from state to state.5 Your ability to opt-in or opt-out and/or place restrictions on how your medical, inclusive of vaccine status, is shared in EHRs with third parties and the government is largely decided at the state level.
One of the goals in the NAIP is to automate the transfer of vaccine data from EHRs into state vaccine registries operated by state health departments.6 Removing interoperability barriers that may prevent the transfer of personal medical information, or prevent vaccine data sharing in general is seen by the NVAC as a leverage mechanism to compel all Americans to comply with federal vaccine recommendations.7 This data automation means that any information about your vaccine status that your doctor records in your EHR may end up in your state health department’s vaccine registry and can be shared with third parties without your knowledge or informed consent.
Patient Privacy Is Eroding
Health care providers were paid to create EHRs under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH).8 After 2015, health care professionals can be penalized for not implementing EHRs for all patients.9
However, the real danger of the continued erosion of patient privacy posed by EHRs is that EHRs are attractive targets for ransomware,10 11 security breaches,12 and changes to the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that allow disclosure of your personal medical records to the government and other third parties.13 The use of EHRs to leverage vaccine compliance is only the latest example of erosions of medical privacy.
NVIC recommends contacting your health care provider with any concerns you have about how your EHR data or your child’s EHR data is shared so that you can take steps to protect your medical privacy. You may also use the vaccine registry links NVIC provides on its website in the Quick Facts box for each state to learn more about how your state’s vaccine registry operates and whether you have the right to opt-in or opt-out of participating in the registry.
Pregnant Women Reclassified for Research Purposes
2016 NVAC meeting discussions also waded into the possible use of existing maternal research data collected in various research efforts to create a research data repository on pregnant women. The repository would allow records collected with informed consent from pregnant women for use in one research study to be used in a different research studies without the women’s additional consent.
Another subject involving ethics that was discussed by the NVAC was whether or not to redefine pregnant women as a “scientifically complex population”14 instead of a “vulnerable population,” which is the current definition and provides pregnant women and their fetus special research subject protections.15
Redefining pregnant women in this manner would permit pharmaceutical companies to recruit pregnant women for premarketing clinical research trials. One NVAC member stated concern that pregnant women must be a part of the stakeholder process and allowed input into any redefinition of their status for scientific research purposes. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued an opinion supporting use of the new definition by arguing that pregnant women have the ability to render informed consent and protect themselves and, therefore, are not a “vulnerable” population.16
NVIC stressed to the committee during public comment that use of previously collected data for repository purposes without the express permission of the research subject was unethical, a violation of privacy and does require specific advance informed consent. NVIC also affirmed the right of pregnant women to ultimately decide their participation in any scientific research.17
More Vaccines on the Horizon for Pregnant Women
During 2016, the ACIP was advised of efficacy problems with Phase III clinical trials for the Novavax respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine. The Novavax Phase III trial showed little to no protection in seniors and the company is refocusing development of the vaccine for use in pregnant women.18 There are numerous RSV vaccines under development19 and it seems likely that an RSV vaccine candidate will be licensed in at some point in the near future.
RSV infects most children before their second birthday, with the primary symptoms of RSV resembling those of the common cold, and most RSV infections resolve without complications. However, for a small percentage of children, RSV can cause bronchiolitis and be life-threatening. Those at greater risk of severe infection are premature infants, children born with heart or lung disease, babies with weakened immune systems and children under eight weeks of age.20
Safety Data on Maternal Tdap Vaccination Is Limited
Information on the safety of Tdap vaccine use in pregnant women was also presented to the ACIP. The CDC recommends that all pregnant women receive a booster dose of Tdap vaccine in the third trimester of every pregnancy and this is an off-label recommendation, due to the fact that Tdap was never approved by the FDA for use in pregnant women.21 Although the government maintains that no significant health problems have been proven to be associated with use of Tdap by pregnant women, accurately detecting adverse outcomes is compromised by the lack of valid comparative data on pregnancy outcomes in women who do not get Tdap during pregnancy.22
The NVAC also solicited public comment on the draft report and draft recommendations for overcoming barriers to vaccine uptake and identifying opportunities for developing maternal immunizations.23 The report failed to recognize ethical issues and lack of pre-licensure clinical data on vaccine safety and effectiveness in promoting vaccination of pregnant women. Instead the report focused on how to increase Tdap and influenza vaccine uptake among pregnant women.
NVIC submitted written public comment for consideration by the NVAC, which was critical of maternal vaccination promotion in the absence of baseline data. NVIC’s public comment also was critical of the NVAC’s support of metrics that compel health care providers to vaccinate pregnant women according to federal vaccine policy rather than acknowledging a professional obligation to respect an individual’s informed consent rights, values and beliefs, medical history and individual susceptibilities that increase risks for vaccine harm.24
ACIP Withdraws Live Nasal Flu Vaccine Recommendation
Based on the CDC’s finding that the live attenuated (nasal) influenza vaccine (LAIV) has not been effective for the past three years, the ACIP voted against recommending use of LAIV for the 2016-2017 flu season. The CDC estimated LAIV effectiveness to be about three percent and concluded that there was no protection provided by LAIV.25
ACIP affirmed the current recommendations for use of inactivated, injectable influenza vaccine.
HPV Vaccine Schedule Reduced to Two Doses
Several past ACIP meetings have involved discussions of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine effectiveness data that suggests giving two doses is as effective as giving the originally recommended three doses.
The ACIP voted during their October 2016 meeting to approve a two-dose HPV vaccine schedule for adolescents, which is reflected in the CDC’s 2017 recommended childhood vaccine schedule.26
Flu Shot Injury Petition Meets Uphill Battle
During the ACCV’s June 2016 meeting, the committee heard a rare petition request from the public to add more influenza vaccine injuries to the Vaccine Injury Table (VIT).27 For many of the requested additions, the vaccine injuries were either already a part of the VIT, or are soon to be added. However, for the remaining petitioned conditions of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and myelitis/transverse myelitis (TM) federal officials advised the ACCV that there was a lack of science supporting influenza vaccine as a cause for these conditions and the ACCV voted against adding these conditions to the VIT.28
In a public comment to ACCV, NVIC noted that information provided to the committee for this petition did not include historical data on influenza vaccine injury awards made in the VICP associated with multiple sclerosis and transverse myelitis. Similar VICP historical data information was provided to the ACCV when considering adding Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) to the VIT for influenza vaccine, which prompted federal officials and the ACCV to make a policy decision to include GBS as an influenza vaccine injury on the VIT.29
NVIC requested that as a matter of transparency, future discussions of public VIT petitions should include similar historical data on VICP award information and supporting testimony/science that was submitted by plaintiff’s attorneys.
Vaccine Injury Compensation Flat Compared to Increase in Claims Awarded
During the December 2015 ACCV meeting, the US Department of Justice reported that a successful VICP petitioner had initiated an appeal of their original vaccine injury compensation award from the VICP. The purpose of the appeal was to increase the amount of the original compensation awarded to adequately to meet the financial needs of the vaccine injured individual.30
As revealed by the federally commissioned Altarum report provided to ACCV in 2009,31 a significant number VICP petitioners who have received compensation have voiced similar concerns relating to VICP compensation awards being inadequate to cover the costs to care for a vaccine injured person. The Altarum report also noted that no mechanism was in place to measure satisfaction with the VICP and recommended the creation of an ongoing process for evaluating satisfaction.
During the June 2016 ACCV meeting, it was reported that greater numbers of petitions were being processed through the VICP in a shorter amount of time, while the overall payout amount from the trust fund remains about the same as previous years with fewer cases processed. ACCV Commissioner Kraus, a vaccine injury attorney, expressed concern that this trend may indicate a rush to settle petitions, which may result in inadequate compensation to the vaccine injured.
During public comment, NVIC echoed Commissioner Kraus' concerns and renewed its request to the ACCV to revisit the recommendations made by the Altarum report to create a process that would measure VICP petitioner satisfaction. Such an effort could identify why petitioners are dissatisfied and potentially provide incentive to the VICP to take steps to assure that adequate compensation is awarded to vaccine injured victims.32
How to Learn About Federal Advisory Committees
All of these federal vaccine advisory committees accept public comment and most will accept comments live over the phone. Recommendations from these committees often translate into state legislation to mandate vaccines and/or restrict vaccine exemptions. You can learn more about these committees and when they meet, as well as read NVIC’s public comments here. NVIC encourages the public to engage with these committees.
Change Depends on You Taking Action at the Local Level
Information provided in federal vaccine advisory committee meetings can be used when action is needed to defend informed consent rights, including protection of vaccine exemptions. If you haven’t already registered to be a user of NVIC’s Advocacy Portal, register today so you can stay up-to-date on important vaccine bills moving in your state (or on Capitol Hill) and receive email alerts on critical actions that need to be taken.
Your participation will help NVIC help you preserve your ability to voluntarily accept, delay, or decline vaccines for yourself or your minor child without being sanctioned and you will learn what you can do to protect your personal vaccine information from being shared with third parties, including local, state and federal agencies.
If you don’t know who your elected representatives are at the state and federal level and have not contacted them, we encourage you to take time to get to know your legislators and build a relationship with them. Having these relationships and educating your state legislators on the importance of securing and protecting flexible vaccine exemptions is critical to defending vaccine freedom of choice in America.
Please do not wait for legislation to be introduced in your state before developing this relationship. Consider going to your legislator’s morning coffee sessions and town hall meetings, or make an appointment to have a personal conversation. Share your vaccine safety and informed consent concerns and why it is important to you that they uphold the human right to informed consent to voluntarily accept, delay, or decline one or more vaccinations for yourself or your child.
Not sure where to start? NVIC’s Reforming Vaccine Policy & Law: A Guide was designed for this reason. It is a well referenced vaccine information resource and a good starting point for your conversation.
It’s your health, your family, and your choice - choose to participate!
Click the plus sign at the bottom of this page to view and/or post comments on our commentary.
1 Richardson D. NVIC Tracking 103 Bills in 30 States.
NVIC Newsletter Feb. 8, 2017.
2 Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO). “Goal 1: Strengthen the Adult Immunization Infrastructure,” Feb. 5, 2016.
3 CDC. Adult Immunization Schedule.
4 DHHS. NVPO. National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC). Certified Meeting Minutes. Feb. 2-3, 2016.
5 K. Terry. Health information exchanges introduce patient consent questions.Medical Economics. Jul. 8, 2014
6 DHHS. NVPO. “Goal 1: Strengthen the Adult Immunization Infrastructure,” Feb. 5, 2016.
7 DHHS. NVPO. NVAC. Presentation by D. Chrysler, JD - University of Michigan School of Public Health. “Addressing Law to Share IIS Data Among States” Slide 3. Feb. 10, 2015.
8 HealthIT.gov. EHR Incentive Programs. Jan. 15, 2013.
9 HealthIT.gov. Are there penalties for providers who don’t switch to electronic health records (EHR)? Jan. 13, 2013
10 J. Davis. Ransomware: See the 14 hospitals attacked so far in 2016. HealthcareITNews. Oct. 5, 2016.
11 J. Davis. Emory Healthcare hit by ransomware, data of over 200,000 patients hacked. HealthcareITNews. Jan. 6, 2017.
12 DHHS. Office of Civil Rights. Breach Portal.
13 Patient Privacy Rights. Did you know that HIPAA enables the use and disclosure of your medical records?
14 DHHS. NVAC Minutes. Jun. 7-8, 2016.
15 UCI Office of Research. Vulnerable Subject Populations – Pregnant Women, Fetuses and Neonates.
16 American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee Opinion - Ethical Considerations for Including Women as Research Participants. November 2015.
17 Wrangham T. Oral Public Comment to NVAC. Jun. 7-8, 2016.
18 Bayer A. RSV vaccine fails in clinical trial: Novavax switches focus to vaccinating pregnant women as stock plummets. Inquistir Sep. 27, 2016.
19 National Institutes of Health (NIH). ClinicalTrials.gov. Search Results – RSV Vaccines.
20 Mayo Clinic. Diseases and Conditions – Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Definition. Jul. 9, 2014.
21 Fisher BL. Vaccination During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?NVIC Newsletter Nov. 9, 2013.
22 Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Immunization Safety Office (ISO) presentation to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). P. Moro, MD, MPH. Update on the safety of maternal tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap). Jun. 23, 2015.
23 DHHS. Draft - National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC): Overcoming Barriers and Identifying Opportunities for Developing Maternal Immunizations. Aug. 22, 2016.
24 Fisher BL. Wrangham T. NVIC Written Public Comment. NVAC Phase II Draft Recommendations for Overcoming Barriers and Identifying Opportunities for Developing Maternal Immunizations. Sep. 9 2016.
25 CDC. ACIP votes down use of LAIV for 2016-2017 flu season. Media Statement. Jun. 22, 2016.
26 CDC. CDC recommends only two HPV shots for younger adolescents. Press Release. Oct. 19, 2015
27 HRSA. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) presentation to Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV). T. Dalle-Tezze, MD. Discussion of Petition to Add Neurologic Injuries to Vaccine injury Table for the Influenza Vaccines. Jun. 3, 2016
28 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. Jun. 3, 2016.
29 HRSA. Presentation to ACCV. A. Calvo, MD, MPH. Updating the Vaccine Injury Table: Guillain - Barré Syndrome (GBS) and Seasonal Influenza Vaccines. Sep. 5, 2013.
30 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. Pg 4 - Kenzora v. HHS. Dec. 5, 2015.
31 Altarum Institute. Determining the Feasibility of Evaluating the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Final Report. Jun. 15, 2009.
By Barbara Loe Fisher
To activate and view hyperlinked references, please click once and then click any superscripted number below to access a hyperlinked reference, or scroll down to the bottom of the article to view all hyperlinked references.
Like a lot of people, in January when I suddenly developed a high fever (101 F), body aches, fatigue, nasal congestion and cough, I thought for sure it was influenza, which I had not experienced for decades. Turns out, according to a recently released CDC report, in the 2016-2017 flu season the odds are only about one in 10 that flu like illness symptoms are, in fact, caused by type A or B influenza.
On February 17, 2017, the Centers for Disease Control published an update on influenza activity in the U.S. for four months between Oct. 2, 2016 and Feb. 4, 2017.1 The new news is the CDC found that over the past four months:
- Influenza A (H3N2) viruses accounted for the vast majority of all public health lab confirmed influenza cases;
- Out of nearly 393,000 respiratory illness lab specimens tested in the U.S., only about 38,000 cases – or 10 percent - were positive for type A or B influenza;
- Persons over age 65 accounted for more than 60 percent of lab confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations;
- About 6,800 hospitalized cases of lab confirmed influenza have been reported so far and it is estimated that about 95 percent had at least one high risk medical condition, such as heart disease; metabolic disorder or obesity, with more than half of the children hospitalized also suffering with asthma, chronic lung disease or a neurological disorder;
- About 5 to 8 percent of all U.S. deaths reported over the past four months have been attributed to pneumonia or influenza, with 20 reported pediatric deaths associated with type A or B influenza;
- The influenza strains included in this year’s flu vaccine are closely matched to the most prevalent influenza strains reported to be circulating in the U.S. Out of 484 different influenza viruses the CDC tested, 96 to 100 percent of influenza A viruses and 91 to 100 percent of influenza B viruses were antigenically similar to components of the 2016/2017 influenza vaccine.
CDC: This Year’s Flu Shot Only 43 Percent Effective Against Most Prevalent Strain
The old news is that, even when this year’s seasonal flu shot contains the same influenza strains that are circulating - like in most years2 - it is less than 50 percent effective across all age groups in preventing a trip to the doctor’s office for lab confirmed influenza. The vaccine is only 43 percent effective in preventing influenza A (H3N2), the most prevalent strain this year.
How many people following doctors’ orders and rolling up their sleeves to get an annual flu shot this year understand it has a 57 percent failure rate for the most common influenza strain circulating? That is like telling someone to buy a car with seat belts that fail 57 percent of the time!
But, beyond that, how many people understand that only 10 percent of all flu-like illness out there this year is actually influenza?
There are no guarantees in life. That goes for vaccination, too.
Vaccines Often Fail to Prevent Infection and Transmission
While many people believe that getting vaccinated guarantees you won’t get sick or make anyone else sick, vaccines do not always work as well as we have been taught to believe they do.3
Take influenza vaccines, for example. Influenza is a viral infection that causes type A or B influenza, which can have serious pneumonia complications for some people, like the elderly.4
Doctors routinely give annual flu shots to children and adults, including pregnant women.5 6 7 And in many states, health care and day care workers are required to get an annual flu shot or they are fired from their jobs.8 9 10
But public health officials admit that influenza vaccines fail to prevent influenza more than half the time.11 And in some years, flu shots do not prevent influenza at all because they don’t contain the influenza strains that are making people sick.12
Plus, you can get a flu shot and still get infected with influenza but only have minor symptoms or no symptoms at all.13 Even if you have been vaccinated, you can be a silent carrier of influenza and infect other people without even knowing it.
This is something to keep in mind when you are in a doctor’s office or hospital, where all employees have been vaccinated and assume they are protected, but where influenza could still be circulating among the staff.
Most Flu Like Illness Not Influenza
But perhaps the biggest misconception of all is that during the flu season, every time you get a fever, headache, sore throat, cough, and a tired, achy feeling all over, you probably have influenza that could have been prevented with a flu shot.
The truth is that, when doctors get suspected cases of influenza tested in labs, more than 70 percent of the time it is not type A or B influenza but another virus or bacteria causing a respiratory flu-like illness that is mistaken for influenza.14 15
When beliefs about vaccine effectiveness are not grounded in truth, they can put you, your family and people you know at risk.
Whether you have been vaccinated or not, if you have even mild symptoms of being sick, stay away from close contact with infants, pregnant women and people who are immune compromised until you are well.
Learn More About Vaccines and Diseases
At NVIC.org, learn more about vaccines, diseases and the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking.
Empower yourself today with well-referenced information that can help you make educated decisions about vaccination.
It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
Take the First Step: Explore Our Webpages that Inform and Empower
We hope you will explore our Ask 8 Questions webpage, which is a good first step in the vaccine decision-making process. As you begin to ask these questions, please continue to empower yourself by visiting Diseases and Vaccines and Know the Risks & Failures webpages.
Continue to Ask 8 Questions
Visit Our Ask 8 Information Kiosk for Free Resources
This section of our website will direct you to referenced information and a variety of materials designed to educate you about vaccines, diseases and how to make informed vaccination choices. You can download posters and brochures to share with others or send an ecard to family and friends.
Continue to Kiosk
Click the plus sign at the bottom of this page to view and/or post comments on our commentary.
1 CDC. Update: Influenza Activity – United States, October 2, 2016 – February 4, 2017.MMWR Feb. 17, 2017; 66(6): 159-166.
2 CDC. Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness 2005-2015. Dec. 18, 2015.
3 Fisher BL. Pertussis Microbe Outsmarts the Vaccines As Experts Argue About Why. NVIC Newsletter Mar. 27, 2016.
4 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Influenza Most Deadly for the Very Elderly. AHRQ Press Release Nov. 7, 2006.
5 CDC. Prevention and Control of Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) – United States, 2016-2017 Influenza Season. MMWR Aug. 26, 2016; 65(5): 1-54.
6 CDC. Guidelines for Vaccinating Pregnant Women. August 2016.
7 Fisher BL. Vaccination During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?NVIC Newsletter Nov. 9, 2013.
8 Fisher BL. Women, Vaccines and Bodily Integrity. NVIC Newsletter Jan. 24, 2013.
9 DeSerres G, Skowronski DM, War BJ et al. Influenza Vaccination of Healthcare Workers: Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Benefit Underpinning Policies of Enforcement.PLOS One Jan. 27, 2017.
10 Lin RG, Xia R. Vaccines required for daycare workers under new California law.Los Angeles Times Oct. 13, 2015.
11 Fisher BL. CDC Admits Flu Shots Are Effective Half the Time. NVIC Newsletter Apr. 26, 2017.
12 Fisher BL. Flu Vaccine: Missing the Mark. The Vaccine Reaction Spring 2004.
13 The Lancet. Three-quarters of people with seasonal and pandemic flu have no symptoms.Eurekaalert Mar. 16, 2014.
14 CDC. Update: Influenza Activity – United States, October 4, 2015 – February 6, 2016.MMWR Feb. 19, 2016; 65(6): 146-153.
15 CDC. Influenza Activity – United States, 2014-2015 Season and Composition of 2015-2016 Influenza Vaccine.MMWR June 5, 2015; 64(21): 583-590.