Women, Vaccines & Bodily Integrity

Posted: 1/24/2013 12:17:27 AM | with 31 comments

By Barbara Loe Fisher

2013 was only a few days old when I saw a photo of 61-year old Ethel Hoover, a veteran hospital nurse, who had only missed 4 or 5 days of work in 22 years, she was fired from her job for declining to get a flu shot.

Defending Freedom of Conscience

On her last day of work, she wore black. In the photo, she was standing straight, looking directly into the camera, unafraid, signaling strong ownership of the principled choice she made in defense of autonomy, [1] freedom of conscience [2] [3] and protection of bodily integrity. [4]

“This is my body,” she said. “I have a right to refuse the flu vaccine.” [5]

Punishment: No Shots, No Job

The Methodist-founded Indiana University Health Goshen Hospital rejected the medical and religious exemptions Ethel filed so they could punish her for obeying her conscience and choosing to stay healthy another way. Refusing to respect her beliefs or superior health and work attendance record, they cited the “no shots, no job” vaccine mandates being pushed by public health officials and Pharma-funded medical trade groups [6] as a reason to fire her.

Ethel is not alone. Many American nurses and other health care workers are being thrown out on the street without a job [7] [8] or forced to wear masks and special badges publicly branding them [9] for declining to subject themselves to the well-known failures and risks of influenza vaccinations, a vaccine that the Centers for Disease Control admits does not protect against influenza nearly half the time [10] and, like all vaccines, can cause permanent injury when there are complications. [11]

Hysterical, Ignorant Female Nurses?

A doctor from Vanderbilt University heading up the Campaign for Adult Immunization,[12] which is funded by drug corporation giants Merck and Pfizer, observed that nurses are the most reluctant to get vaccinated. Downplaying the critical thinking going on in the primarily female nursing profession, he quipped with more than a trace of sexism: "There seems to be a persistent myth that you can get flu from a flu vaccine among nurses. They subject themselves to more influenza by not being immunized, and they certainly do not participate in putting patient safety first." [13]

One of Pharma’s go-to guys apparently feels comfortable perpetuating the myth that nurses are a bunch of hysterical, ignorant females because they are less likely to be persuaded to engage in magical thinking about the benefits and risks of influenza vaccine. I guess it is OK to do that when you can use your medical license as a club to tell other people what to think, believe and do and then harm them when they disagree with you.

Veteran Nurses Not Buying Vaccine Myths

We should all pause and reflect about just why nurses, who devote their lives to saving our lives when we are patients, are not buying the vaccine myths that drug companies and doctors with big titles are hard-selling. Why are veteran nurses sacrificing their careers to take a stand for the right to protect freedom of conscience and bodily integrity?

Perhaps it is because nurses know it is a myth that influenza vaccine is risk-free, when it is not. More nurses today are aware that a flu shot reaction can end in brain inflammation, paralysis [14] and death, especially if you are biologically more susceptible to vaccine reactions, [15] and they know that the majority of adult vaccine injury claims paid out by government are for influenza vaccine. [16]

Nurses also know it is a myth that a flu shot will prevent you from getting or transmitting influenza or other kinds of respiratory infections. [17] They know that, every year, 70 to 80 percent of all influenza-like-illness (ILI) cases, such as fever, sore throat and cough, test negative for type A or type B influenza. [18] [19]

Major Labor Unions Opposing “No Shots, No Job” Policy

Major labor unions are opposing the “no shots, no job” mandate that doctors in government and medical trade groups funded by Pharma [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] are telling employers to impose because they want to force a 90 percent vaccination compliance rate.[25] These unions include American Nurses Association; [26] National Nurses United; [27] California Nurses Association; [28] Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); [29] Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Employees Union; [30] American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); ALF-CIO [31] and others. Joining them are the American Federation of Teachers and Association of Flight Attendants. [32] Teachers and flight attendants are likely next on the government’s list to be threatened with unemployment, right after child-care workers now being targeted with “no shots, no job” mandates in Texas and Colorado. [33]

Women’s Professions Being Targeted

Women, many of them single Moms or primary breadwinners for their families, have always filled the ranks of low paying personal service professions in America. [34] 92 percent of American nurses and 98 percent of nursing aides are women. [35] 98 percent of childcare workers are women.[36] [37] 82 percent of American teachers for grades 1 to 12 are women [38] and 98 percent of pre-school and kindergarten teachers are women. [39] And 80 percent of American flight attendants are women. [40] 

Is there a pattern here? You bet there is. Because 100 percent of mothers, who give birth to and nurture children until they are old enough to care for themselves, are women. And mothers were the first to be humiliated, marginalized and punished by paternalistic doctors for daring to engage in critical thinking and asking good questions about the quality of vaccine science that doctors still can’t answer. [41] [42] [43]

Honoring Nurses Defending Critical Thinking

I honor Ethel Hoover and the brave women in nursing fighting to protect their informed consent rights, [44] [45] [46] [47] which are being taken away inch by inch from all of us by doctors in positions of power.

A nurse, who refuses to abandon the human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking, is a nurse, who will respect your right when you are her patient to make voluntary decisions about medical risks. A nurse, who demands the right to think critically and follow her conscience to protect her body is a nurse, who will defend your right to think critically, follow your conscience and protect your body, no matter what a doctor - male or female - tells you to do with it.

Go to www.NVICAdvocacy.org and learn how you can join the growing number of educated vaccine choice advocates working to protect informed consent rights in America.

It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.



[1] Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Definition of Autonomy.

[2] The Free Dictionary. Definition of Conscience.

[3] The Religious Life of Thomas Jefferson. Man’s Need for Religious Freedom. Pages 23-27. University of Virginia Press 1987.

[4] Whitehead JW. Missouri v. McNeely: The Loss of Bodily Integrity in an Emerging Police State. Huffington Post. Jan. 15, 2013.

[5] Lupkin S. Nurses Fired for Refusing Flu Shot. ABC News Jan. 3, 2013.

[6] IU Health Goshen. Statement Regarding IU Health Influenza Patient Safety Program. Press Release: January 2013.

[7] Cheung-Larivee K. Hospital flu vaccination policies are ‘tough sell.’ Fierce Healthcare Dec. 4, 2012.

[8] Hendricks L. Six at FMC out over flu shots. Arizona Daily Sun Jan. 18, 2013.

[9] Kent JL. Flu Vaccine Debate Sparks Rights Debate. NBC Connecticut Dec. 6, 2012.

[10] CDC. Early Estimates of Seasonal Influenza Effectiveness – United States. MMWR Jan. 18, 2013: 62(02); 32-35.

[11] Jurlink DN, Stukel TA et al. Guillain-Barre Syndrome After Influenza Vaccination in Adults. Arch Intern Med 2006; 166(20): 2217-2221.

[12] National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.  Campaign for Adult Immunization.

[13] See Reference #5.

[14] NVIC. Flu Vaccine Reaction Leaves Former Nurse a Quadriplegic. NVIC Vaccine Newsletter Oct. 31, 2011.

[15] Stratton K, Ford A, Rusch E, Clayton EW, editors. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality.(Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events: Increased Susceptibility)Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press 2011.  

[16] DHHS. Health Resources and Services Administration. Statistics Reports – Jan. 7, 2013. Claims Filed and Compensated or Dismissed by Vaccine.

[17] CDC. Seasonal Influenza Q&A. What You Should Know About the 2012-2013 Influenza Season: Has CDC received reports of people who have gotten a flu vaccine and then tested positive for influenza?

[18] FDA. Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting Transcript. Feb. 20, 2003.

[19] See Reference #10.

[20] Infectious Diseases Society of America. IDSA Industry Relations. 2010 and 2011 Grants and Contributions.

[21] American College of Physicians Foundation. ACPF Corporate Relations.

[22] National Patient Safety Foundation. NPSF Corporate Council.

[23] Attkisson S. How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders? CBS-TV News. July 25, 2008.

[24] Orange County RegisterCORRECTION re: August 4, 2008 article “Dr. Paul Offit Responds.” April 18, 2011.

[25] U.S. Department of Health & Human Service. Healthy People 2020 Goals. Immunization and Infectious Disease Objective IID-12.9: Increase the percentage of health care personnel who are vaccinated annually against seasonal influenza.

[26] Lloyd J. Mandatory flu shots opposed by some health care workers. USA Today Jan. 16, 2013.

[27] National Nurses United. Largest National Nurses Union Opposes Mandatory Flu Vaccination as Condition of Employment. Press Release: Feb. 8, 2012.

[28] California Healthline. S.F. Bay Area Health Officials Require Flu Shots for Medical Staff. Dec. 12, 2012.

[29] Evans G. OSHA crashes mandatory flu shot party. HICPrevent Jan. 18, 2012.

[30]  Gallegos A. First state flu shot mandate at center of legal battle. American Medical News Jan. 14, 2013.

[31]  Zubeck P. Calling the shots. Colorado Springs Independent Jan. 21, 2013.

[32] Wrangham T. Labor Unions Oppose Mandatory Flu Shots as AMA Cherry Picks Ethics to Endorse Vaccine Mandates. NVIC Vaccine Newsletter Aug. 21, 2012.

[33] NVIC. Child Care Workers Targeted for Vaccine Mandates. NVIC Newsletter Jan. 16, 2013.

[34] Pollack W. Raising the Minimum Wage is a Woman’s Issue. The Shriver Brief Mar. 2, 2012.

[35] U.S. Department of Labor. Quick Facts on Registered Nurses (2008).

[36] Women’s Work: Child Care Worker. Ms. Magazine June 1999.

[37] Reisman S. “Because Women’s Work Is Always Undervalued:” Why Child Care Workers Are Some of the Lowest Paid Professionals in America.” Blogher.com July 3, 2008.

[38] National Center for Education Information. Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2005. Press Release: Aug. 18, 2005.

[39] AFLC-CIO Department for Professional Employees. Fact Sheet 2010: Professional Women Vital Statistics.

[40] Whitelegg D. The Big Squeeze: The Time and Space for Flight Attendants Since 911. Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life 2004.

[41] Coulter HL, Fisher BL. DPT: A Shot in the Dark. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1985.

[42] NVIC. Doctor’s Denying Vaccine Risks: An American Tragedy. NVIC Newsletter Apr. 22, 2011.

[43] Businesswire. National Vaccine Information Center Supports Three of Five Recommendations of New Institute of Medicine Report on U.S. Childhood Immunization Schedule Safety and Calls for Transparency. Jan. 16, 2013.

[44] The Goshen News. Goshen nurses lose jobs after refusing flu vaccination. Jan. 9, 2013.

[45] Infection Control Today. Nurses Oppose Mandated Masking of Healthy Nurses, Staff as Part of Flu Prevention Program. Dec. 26, 2012.

[46] CBS4 (Denver). Colorado Nurses Association Opposes Mandatory Flu Shot Policy. Oct. 5, 2012.

[47] Spokesman-Review. Some in health care refusing flu vaccine. Jan. 16, 2013.

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IOM Issues Report on Safety of the Child Vaccine Schedule: When Will the Real Science Begin?

Posted: 1/16/2013 10:19:30 PM | with 20 comments
by Barbara Loe Fisher
Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine issued a report The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies. The report was based on a 12-month evaluation by an IOM committee of the scientific evidence supporting the federally recommended child vaccine schedule. The Committee made recommendations about the feasibility of conducting research to evaluate the health outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated children and those following an alternative vaccine schedule.
Good News and Bad News
There is good news and bad news in this report. Good news: the committee repeatedly pointed out the astonishing lack of quality scientific studies to support the safety of the CDC-recommended numbers of doses and timing of vaccinations for children 0 to 6 years old in the child vaccine schedule. The committee confirmed there are large knowledge gaps, especially about children with increased biological susceptibility to suffering vaccine reactions and injuries.
Bad news: The committee’s recommendation is that the CDC should conduct future vaccine safety studies using closed patient databases like the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), which unfortunately prevent independent replication of the findings. For more than two decades, NVIC has called for independent vaccine safety research by investigators without industry or government conflicts of interest.
NVIC’s Press Release: Call for Transparency
NVIC issued a press release last night that calls for transparency, independence and replication in future vaccine safety research to examine the safety of the child vaccine schedule. The outstanding question every parent wants to answered remains: When will the real vaccine safety science conducted by researchers without industry or government conflicts of interest begin?

Click on image below to read press release and access live links.

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Child Care Workers Targeted for Vaccine Mandates

Posted: 1/16/2013 9:27:19 PM | with 4 comments
Colorado and Texas are considering vaccine mandates targeting a new professional group: child care workers.
The Colorado Board of Health voted early in 2012 to pass a rule requiring health care facilities to implement mandatory employee vaccination policies with restrictive medical exemptions.[1]  Now there is a push from the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition for the Colorado Board of Health to approve “enhanced immunizations for child care center workers.”[2]
NVIC Calls for Dialogue and Transparency
NVIC’s Executive Director Theresa Wrangham recently attended a Town Hall Meeting in Longmont, Colorado, with legislators asking for “dialogue and transparency” when it comes to addressing policies such as this one. There is concern this rule is being drawn up behind closed doors. During meetings held last year with legislators, Theresa expressed concern about the ease with which the legislative process was bypassed and mandates enacted that impact human rights.
The best-case scenario would be for no mandate but Theresa said, “At the very least, the Board of Health should consider not just medical exemptions surrounding vaccine requirements, but religious and conscientious belief exemptions to uphold workers’ rights to exercise informed consent to medical risk-taking.” She added, “As with health care workers, this is a clear disregard of workplace rights and many professions may be the target of future rule changes and mandates.”
“We need to figure this out,” Theresa noted. “Or the erosion of individual rights is going to get much worse before it gets better.” 
Texas Senate Bill Targets Child Care Workers
In Texas during the next few months, legislators will discuss SB64 requiring licensed child care facilities to develop and implement policies surrounding employee vaccination.[3] In 2011, two bills requiring hospitals to develop mandatory vaccination policies for health care workers died in regular session, but an addition to a Medicaid finance bill in special session quickly pushed through the new state requirement for health care workers.  
NVIC’s Director of Advocacy, Dawn Richardson, said “The same Senator is back at it again in the 2013 legislative session, but now she is targeting the jobs of child care workers with SB 64.”[4], [5]
Dawn added that the push against vaccine mandates is about protecting the informed consent rights of Americans. “Vaccine mandates are creeping into the adult markets more and more,” she said. “We have to ask - who’s next and with what vaccines?”
“Are we going to get to the point where you can’t have a job without working under [vaccine] mandates?” she said. “It is one thing to say an employee has to wear safety equipment on the job. There are not many risks with safety equipment. There can, however, be significant risks with vaccines.”
Who Pays When Informed Consent Rights Are Violated?
NVIC has previously called on the Colorado Board of Health and the Texas Legislature to evaluate the bigger issues related to informed consent violations in the workplace. For example: 
- Who pays the bill when a worker is injured as a result of a vaccination?
- Does the vaccine injury claim go through worker’s compensation?
- What about unemployment compensation when workers are fired for refusing vaccination?
Several of these issues have already popped up around the country. At present, proposed rule changes in Colorado for child care workers have not been published, and it is unclear if such rule change proposals will address outstanding questions and their potential impact to taxpayers, or which vaccines are under consideration for mandate.
In Texas, SB54 will be heard in committee soon. There will be opportunities for the public to offer testimony. Users of the NVIC Advocacy Portal get the latest news about new vaccine mandate bills introduced in the states and are put into direct contact with their elected state representatives so they can make their voices heard.

NVIC Calendar Notes
Feb. 5-6, Jun. 11-12, and Sep. 10-11, 2013:  Meeting dates for the National Vaccine Advisory Committee and pre-registration is required. Meetings are open to members of the public.
Feb. 20-21, Jun. 19-20, and Oct. 23-24, 2013: Meeting dates for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Pre-registration is required – deadline Feb. 4.
Feb. 27, May 8-9, July 17-18 (backup date), Sep. 18-19 and Nov. 13-14, 2013: Tentative meeting dates for the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
Mar. 7-8, Jun. 6-7, Sep. 5-6, and Dec. 5-6, 2013: Meeting dates for the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines.
In the News
Vaccine Schedule is Safe Report Says: Critics Call for More Research Into Whether Shots May Be Linked to Some Developmental Disorders. Health Day. Jan. 16, 2013.
Houston councilman votes to reject federal money for childhood vaccines. Houston CBS Affiliate, KHOU. Jan. 16, 2013
Vaccine Court Awards Milions to Two Children with Autism. Huffington Post. Jan. 14, 2013. 
Early hepatitis B Vaccination May Be Ineffective In Teenagers. News-Medical.Net.Jan. 14, 2013.
Hospitals Turn Away Visitors With Flu Symptoms. New York Times. Jan. 14, 2013.
Shot Offers Moderate Protection Against the Flu. Wall Street Journal. Jan. 11, 2013.
Americans ‘Are Sicker and Die Younger’ Than People in Other Wealthy Nations. The Guardian (UK). Jan. 10, 2013.
Goshen Nurses Lose Jobs After Refusing Flu Vaccination. The Goshen News (IN). Jan. 9, 2013. 
Tax on Flu Vaccine Helps Fund National Debt. Washington Examiner. Jan. 8, 2013. 
Banning Vaccine Preservative Would Hurt Kids in Poor Nations: Experts
HealthDay. Dec. 17, 2012.
[1] Wrangham T. NVAC Says: Mandate Flu Shots for Health Care Workers. NVIC Newsletter Feb 21, 2012.
[2] Public Policy. Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition
[3] SB 64. Texas Legislature Online Nov. 12, 2012.
[4] SB1177 Forced Vaccination of Healthcare Workers Texas Legislature Online March 4, 2011.

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