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.
On Aug. 27, 2014 a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control 1
publicly admitted 2
that he and other CDC officials, including the current CDC’s Director of Immunization Safety, 3 4
published a study about MMR vaccine safety in 2004 5
that “omitted statistically significant information” and “did not follow the final study protocol. “ He said the study “omitted relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub group for a particular vaccine” and added that “there have always been recognized risks for vaccination” and “it is the responsibility for the CDC to properly convey [vaccine] risks.”
CDC: A History of Limiting Transparency
We couldn’t agree more. CDC officials should not be in the business of deliberately withholding information from the public about vaccine risks that may be greater for some children than other children. 6
Unfortunately, CDC officials have a long history of limiting transparency 7 8
and being less than honest with the American people about what it does and does not know about vaccine risks. 9 10
Last July, a RAND Corporation study commissioned and funded by DHHS was published proclaiming that vaccines “are very safe.” 11
What was not made clear to the public was that the study was designed and peer reviewed by high-level CDC officials, including the CDC’s Director of Immunization Safety. 12
This is a big problem for parents being ordered to give their children every government recommended vaccine – no exceptions and no questions asked. 13 14
NVIC Calls on Congress to Take Action on DHHS Conflicts of Interest
Today, the National Vaccine Information Center is renewing our call for oversight of vaccine safety to be removed from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 15
It is a conflict of interest for DHHS to be in charge of vaccine safety and also license vaccines, 16
and take money from drug companies to fast track vaccines, 17
and partner with drug companies to develop and share profits from vaccine sales, 18
and make national vaccine policies 19
that get turned into state vaccine laws 20
while also deciding which children will and will not get a vaccine injury compensation award. 21 22
That is too much power for one federal agency. That is putting the fox in charge of guarding the chicken coop.
Vaccination Can Cause Brain Inflammation and Injury
Especially when it has been known since the first vaccine for smallpox that vaccination can cause brain inflammation 23 24 25 26 27
and a wide spectrum of brain injury symptoms, like developmental delays and disabilities. 28 29 30
It is very telling that Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have declared that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and completely shielded drug companies from vaccine injury lawsuits. 31 32
In America, if you or your child gets hurt by a vaccine, you can’t hold anyone who developed, regulated, recommended, marketed, mandated, administered or profits from the vaccine accountable in a civil court of law in front of a jury of your peers.
Parents Concerns About Vaccine Safety Legitimate
The recent statement by a CDC senior scientist admitting that vaccine risk data is being withheld from the public is just one more piece of evidence that parents’ questions and concerns about vaccine safety are legitimate.
Congress should act now and take vaccine safety monitoring away from DHHS.
The health of our children is at stake.
Contact Your U.S. Senator and Representative
Contact your U.S. Senator and Representative today and tell them you want something done about conflicts of interest in the nation’s vaccination system. 33 34
If your child’s health has been harmed by vaccination, tell them about that too.
Go to NVIC.org and learn more about making informed vaccine decisions and protecting your informed consent rights.
It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
Institute of Medicine Committee on the Review of the National Immunization Program’s Research Procedures and Data Sharing Program. Vaccine Safety Research, Data Access and Public Trust.
Independent Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Activities (Pg. 96.) Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press
Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events: Increased Susceptibility. Chapter 3: p. 82. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.
Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of
Ibid. Technical Expert Panel and Peer Reviewers (pp. 5-6).
Business Wire. National Vaccine Information Center Calls for Removal of Vaccine Safety Oversight from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NVIC
Sept. 2, 2014.
HealthGrades. What Are Symptoms of Encephalitis? and What are Causes of Encephalitis? Aug. 9, 2013.
The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (DHHS) enlisted the help of a controversial corporate-funded think tank, RAND Corporation, to conduct a “systematic review of the literature” on the safety of federally recommended vaccines. Authors of the DHHS-funded RAND review concluded that “the evidence showed that vaccines are very safe” and serious vaccine reactions are “extremely rare.” The review, which was requested and funded by the National Program Office (NVPO) in the Office of the Secretary for Health through the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was published July 1, 2014 in Pediatrics, a journal published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
RAND/DHHS Vaccine “Safety” Report: Ignoring Evidence Gaps
An executive summary of the 750-page report prepared by RAND for AHRQ states that the report “will be used by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) to identify the gaps in evidence.” The “evidence” used to write the report extended beyond peer- reviewed studies published in the medical literature and included data sources such as “Scientific Information Packets requested from vaccine manufacturers.”
No Public Transparency or Diversity: Unlike reviews of vaccine safety science funded by DHHS and conducted by Institute of Medicine (IOM) committees, whose members are drawn from a diversified pool of experts and include public workshops to ensure transparency, RAND and DHHS did not hold public workshops. Instead, they confined their vaccine safety review to information controlled by industry and government.
In the DHHS-funded and RAND conducted vaccine safety review, 9 out of 10 study authors were employed by RAND, which has served primarily as a Department of Defense contractor since the corporation was founded in 1948. Among RAND’s many corporate and government funders are GlaxoSmithKline, a major vaccine manufacturer, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which partners with international vaccine corporations and is one of the leading funders and promoters of global mass vaccination programs.
National Media Campaign Fails to Disclose Conflicts of Interest
During the July 1, 2014 holiday week, DHHS and RAND spearheaded a national media campaign to promote the study’s “sweeping” conclusion that federally recommended vaccines are “very safe.” What the public did not know is that the vaccine safety review was significantly influenced by federal government officials with a big stake in finding no significant vaccine safety science gaps.
- Of the seven members of the Technical Expert Panel assisting with design of the federally funded study, two are high ranking DHHS officials responsible for ensuring vaccine safety; two are employed by health care maintenance corporations that partner with DHHS to provide electronic patient medical records for DHHS to conduct vaccine safety studies; and one is an academic vaccine researcher with significant DHHS funding ties;
- Of the four peer reviewers asked to review the federally funded study, two are DHHS employees (one is a high ranking CDC official responsible for ensuring vaccine safety) and one is a Department of Veteran Affairs employee;
- A conflict of interest disclaimer for technical experts and peer reviewers of the report stated that those individuals “must disclose any financial conflicts of interest greater than $10,000 and any other relevant business or professional conflicts of interest. Because of their unique clinical or content expertise, individuals with potential nonfinancial conflicts of interest may be retained.”
There was an interesting analysis published in The Daily Sheeple
on July 2, 2014 analyzing media “spin” around the RAND/DHHS vaccine “safety” review.
Future Vaccine Safety Research: Not Really a Priority
In the report’s conclusion, there is more than enough evidence to conclude that federal health officials have little intention of making vaccine safety science research a priority in the future so that biological high risk factors can be identified in order to identify and spare the lives of those more susceptible to vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths:
“Careful consideration should be given to the investigation of research gaps, including patient risk factors that may be associated with adverse events; however important factors must be taken into account when determining whether studies are warranted, including the severity and frequency of the adverse event being studied and the challenges of conducting sufficiently powered studies when investigating rare events.”
The DHHS/RAND review of vaccine safety science does nothing to reassure educated health care consumers that vaccine reactions are rare, that most federally recommended vaccines are safe for everyone and that there is no urgent need for additional vaccine safety research to be conducted.
Maglione MA, Das L, Raaen L, Smith A, Chari R, Newberry S, Shanman R, Perry T, Goetz MB, Gidengil C. Safety of Vaccines Used for Routine Immunization of US Children: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics
July 1, 2014; 134:1-13.
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.
As summer comes to an end, the drumbeat promoting back-to-school vaccinations grows louder and louder in America. Unlike children in Canada and the European Union,1 2
our children must get dozens of doses of vaccines or they can’t get a public school education.3
No Shots, No School, No Exceptions
Over the past century, denial of a public school education has been used like a club by public health and medical trade officials demanding that state legislators enact “No Shots, No School, No Exceptions” vaccine laws.4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
In 1914, children had to get one dose of smallpox vaccine to go to school.13
In 2014, children entering kindergarten must get a minimum of 29 doses of 9 vaccines.14
Babies enrolled in daycare get even more vaccines.15
Medical Exemptions Rarely Granted
Government and medical trade officials have narrowed medical contraindications to vaccination after Congress shielded doctors and vaccine manufacturers from vaccine injury lawsuits.20
Today, even children with severely compromised immune systems are given most vaccines.21
Doctors Practicing Authoritarian Medicine
Now that everybody is a candidate for vaccination all the time, liability free doctors have been given a green light to practice authoritarian medicine.22 23 24
Distraught parents are contacting NVIC and telling us that pediatricians are dismissing their child’s vaccine reactions as unimportant and refusing to make a report to the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system. Mothers describe how pediatricians are screaming at them if they decline a vaccination or simply ask for fewer shots to be given to their child on the same day.25
Recently, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics26
proclaimed publicly that he is justified in getting angry at and discriminating against parents disobeying his orders to give their children every federally recommended vaccine on schedule27
which, by the way, means 49 doses of 14 vaccines between day of birth and age 6 with 20 more doses of vaccines by age 18.28
Calling those parents “a public health menace” and comparing them to “substance abusers,” he refuses to treat their children. He said – QUOTE - “That person is a danger, not only to themselves but is a danger to society, a danger to other children in my practice, a danger to old people, a danger to everyone.”29
Pediatricians Exempt from Vaccine Injury Lawsuits
It is sad and frightening when doctors demonize and threaten parents making thoughtful medical risk decisions for their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics knows that vaccines carry serious risks for some children because AAP leaders successfully lobbied Congress to be exempt from vaccine injury lawsuits.30 31
Some People More Susceptible to Vaccine Reactions
But even if $3 billion dollars in federal vaccine injury compensation had not
already been awarded to vaccine victims in America,32
and even if the Institute of Medicine had not
published a series of reports confirming that vaccines can cause injury and death,33 34 35 36 37
everybody knows that people do not all respond the same way to pharmaceutical products38
Each one of us is born with unique genes and a unique microbiome39
influenced by epigenetics,40
which affects how we respond to the different environments we live in. Some of us are more susceptible to vaccine complications.41 42
Public health officials have known this for a long, long time.43 44
Learn How to Identify Vaccine Reactions
With so many pediatricians denying vaccine risks and failures, it is even more important for parents to do their own research. If your child is getting back-to-school shots, you should know how to identify symptoms of a vaccine reaction. Once your child has had a vaccine reaction, revaccination may cause a more serious reaction.45
Plus, you only have two years to file a claim in the federal vaccine injury compensation program after a vaccine-related death or three years after a vaccine injury.46 47
A few of the more serious vaccine reaction symptoms are:
- Convulsion or seizure symptoms include eyes fluttering and rolling back in the head; twitching, trembling, jerking, shaking or sudden rigidity of one or more parts of the body.53 54 55 56
- High Fever between 103 and 105 degrees F. or more.48 49
- High Pitched Screaming, also known as the encephalitic cry, is described as a shrill scream, shriek or wail that goes on for hours. Mothers often say they have never heard this type of crying before. Sometimes babies arch their backs while screaming, which can be a sign of brain inflammation.50
- Collapse/Shock. The child may be pale, have bluish lips and suddenly go limp and appear to be unconscious.51 52
- Excessive Sleepiness is when the child sleeps deeply without moving for hours after vaccination and does not respond to noise, touch or light and cannot be easily awakened to eat.57 58 59
- Brain Inflammation, also called encephalitis or acute encephalopathy,has been recognized as a very serious complication of vaccination since the first vaccine for smallpox. Symptoms can include convulsions, high-pitched screaming, collapse, and hours of unconsciousness.60 61 62 63 64 65 66
- Encephalopathy or chronic brain dysfunction can include physical and mental regression, dramatic personality and behavior changes, loss of muscle control, speech and other abilities, or the child may be unable to continue to meet developmental milestones.67 68 69 70 71
Vaccine Reactions May Take A Week or Longer to Appear
This is not a full list of vaccine reaction symptoms and there are other types of reactions affecting immune and brain function involving the skin,72 73 74
and other parts of the body that can be warning signs a child may be sensitive to one or more vaccines. Some reactions develop within hours of vaccination while others, like convulsions following MMR vaccination, can take a week or more to appear.79
Review Vaccine Manufacturer Information & Vaccine Ingredients
Before vaccination, read the vaccine manufacturer’s product inserts so you are aware of the types of serious health problems reported in pre-licensure clinical trials and during post-marketing surveillance.80
Take a look at vaccine ingredients as well, because some children are allergic to antibiotics, gelatin, MSG, Thimerosal, yeast, egg protein and other vaccine ingredients.81 82
Vaccine Immunity Not Permanent: Pertussis Vaccine Failures
Parents also need to know that vaccine acquired immunity is not permanent and fully vaccinated children can still get and transmit infectious diseases.83
Vaccine failures and waning immunity is a real problem for vaccines like B. pertussis,84 85
also known as whooping cough. The FDA reported last year that vaccinated persons still can be infected with and transmit pertussis, sometimes without even showing any symptoms.86
The majority of children in many pertussis outbreaks have been vaccinated.87 88
Learn Symptoms of Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Signs of B. pertussis whooping cough range from a low fever, loss of appetite and a mild cough to violent paroxysmal coughing with choking and vomiting of large amounts of sticky mucus for many weeks.89
Small infants can suffer brain damage or die from pertussis if they cannot clear mucus clogging their airways.90
Understanding vaccine risks and failures is a vital part of conscious parenting today.
Ask 8 Questions Before Vaccination
- You can find well-referenced information about vaccines and diseases, including vaccine manufacturer product inserts, and a brochure that lists 8 questions you should ask yourself before your child is vaccinated;
- You can review vaccine reaction reports made to the federal vaccine adverse events reporting system.
- You can read testimonials on the Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall by Americans describing how they are being persecuted when they try to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccination for themselves and their children.
- You can signup for the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal and work to secure informed consent protections in your state’s vaccine laws.
It is really important to find an intelligent, enlightened doctor you can trust, who treats you with respect and your child with compassion. Plan to spend at least as much time empowering yourself with information and carefully thinking about vaccines and diseases as you do when you buy a new car or a new home.
It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
Immunization Action Coalition (IAC). State mandates on immunization and vaccine-preventable diseases.
(State vaccine mandates for childcare: Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, Varicella Zoster, HIB, Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, Hepatitis A vaccines). July 29, 2014.
The Free Dictionary. Definition of the Authoritarian Personality
: A personality pattern reflecting a desire for security, order, power and status, with a desire for structured lines of authority, a conventional set of values or outlook, a demand for unquestioning obedience and a tendency to be hostile toward or use as scapegoats individuals of minority or nontraditional groups. American Heritage Medical Dictionary
Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines.
Evidence Concerning Pertussis Vaccines and Other Illnesses and Conditions: Protracted Inconsolable Crying and Screaming (Pg. 165-169). Washington, DC. The National Academies Press
Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Effects of Pertusses and Rubella Vaccines.
Evidence Concerning Pertussis Vaccines and Other Illnesses and Conditions: Shock and “Unusual Shock-Like State” with Hypotonicity, Hyporesponsiveness and Short-Lived Convulsions, Usually Febrile (Pg. 171-177). Washington, DC. The National Academies Press
The Free Dictionary. Definition of Somnolence: A state of drowsiness, sleepiness; a condition of semiconsciousness approaching coma. American Heritage Medical Dictionary
2007. Definition of Stupor
: A state of impaired consciousness in which the person shows a marked reduction in reactivity to environmental stimuli, only continual stimulation arouses in the person
. Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary
The Free Dictionary. Definition of Encephalopathy
: Degeneration of brain function, caused by any of various acquired disorders, including metabolic disease, organ failure, inflammation, and chronic infection. American Heritage Medical Dictionary 2007.
Lamoreuz MR, Sternbach MR, Hsu WT. Erythema Multiforme
. American Family Physician
2006; 74(11): 1883-1886.
Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Causality Conclusions Organized by Chapter and Adverse Event: Transient Arthralgia, Transient and Chronic Arthralgia, Psoriatric Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Arthropathy (MMR, hepatitis B, HPV, varicella zoster, influenza, and DTaP/DT vaccines
). Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press
by Barbara Loe Fisher
No matter who you are or where you live, it is difficult to be part of a minority. It takes courage to follow your conscience. It takes courage to stand up and speak out for what you know is right when you are being targeted and sanctioned by those who claim it is their right to bully and shun you for who you are or what you believe.
This is especially true for those speaking out and standing up for the right to make informed, voluntary choices about using vaccines, a pharmaceutical product that carries a risk of harm and failure that can be greater for some than others. 1 2 3
Informed Consent to Medical Risk-Taking: A Human Right
The freedom to make voluntary decisions about what you are willing to risk your life or the life of your child for is a human and civil right.
It is a human right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to medical risk taking,4 5 6
including taking risks with pharmaceutical products like vaccines. In America, parents of minor children have the legal right and responsibility to make medical risk decisions for their children.7 8 9
Freedom of Thought, Speech & Belief: A Civil Right
Under the U.S. Constitution, Americans are guaranteed the civil right to exercise freedom of thought, speech and belief.10 11 12
The right to dissent and petition the government for redress of grievances and hold beliefs that may differ from ones held by the majority is protected because our nation’s founders understood that minorities must be protected from oppression by the majority.13
Targeted, Bullied, Shunned and Sanctioned
In America today, some citizens are being discriminated against and persecuted for following their conscience and making vaccine choices that do not conform with federal health policy. They are being targeted, bullied, shunned and sanctioned. 14 15
and politically powerful special interest groups 17 18 19 20
associated with private drug companies 21
and medical trade associations22
have joined with government health officials23 24
and lobbying state legislators to eliminate or severely restrict the legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccine risk taking.25 26 27
Laws Passed Restricting Non-Medical Exemptions
In the past three years, laws have been passed in the states of Washington,28
requiring parents filing non-medical exemptions to either undergo state mandated vaccine “education” or beg for signatures from pediatricians already refusing to provide medical care to children who do not get all 69 doses of 16 federally recommended vaccines right on schedule.31
Colorado Preserves Personal Belief Exemption
But this year in Colorado, concerned citizens turned out in force to publicly object to similar attempts by professional lobbyists to restrict vaccine informed consent rights.32
On May 2, 2014 the Colorado legislature became the first to vote to preserve the personal belief exemption to vaccination without modification.33
NVIC’s Pro-Vaccine Choice Message in Times Square
The same day that legislators in Colorado voted to affirm freedom of conscience in America, a pro-education, pro-vaccine choice message sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center was up on the CBS Jumbotron in Times Square celebrating freedom of speech.34
The message is simple: “Vaccinations? Know the risks and failures: Your Health. Your Family. Your Choice.” That 24-hour message in the heart of Broadway on 42nd
Street between 7th
Avenues in New York City is going to stay there through mid-July.
NVIC Publishes Vaccine Law Reform Guide
Today, the National Vaccine Information Center is launching a national campaign to secure vaccine safety and informed consent protections in state vaccine policies and laws. We have published a fully referenced guide for legislators and the public called Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law
and you can view or download it for free online on NVIC.org.35
I wrote this Guide and it is anchored with more than 240 references and explains in detail why laws should be passed in every state to maximize vaccine safety for those choosing to use vaccines while protecting the legal right to get an education, hold a job, receive health insurance and medical care, enter a hospital or nursing home and function in society without being forced to get every government recommended vaccine.
These legal rights are important to preserve because, first, we are not all the same.36 37
We do not all respond the same way to drugs or vaccines just like we do not all respond the same way to infectious diseases.38
High Vaccination Rates and Vaccine Failures
Public health officials admit that for more than 30 years, the U.S. has had a 95% plus vaccination rate among children entering kindergarten for at least seven vaccines, including pertussis.39 40
Now, public health officials admit that children and adults can be fully vaccinated and still get infected with and transmit B. pertussis whooping cough to others without even knowing it.4142
There have been recent reported outbreaks of mumps and measles among fully vaccinated children and adults and the influenza vaccine has a less than 60 percent rate of effectiveness in most years.43 44 45 46 47
Pharma Shielded from Civil Liability
At the same time, the federal government has paid out nearly $3 billion dollars to victims of vaccine injury since Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.48
That law banned most vaccine injury lawsuits against drug companies selling vaccines and doctors giving them49
and, in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court went one step further and gave vaccine manufacturers a complete product liability shield – even when vaccines could have been made safer!50
This sealed a cruel fate for the two out of three vaccine victims denied compensation under the federal vaccine injury compensation program.51
Now drug companies can fast track and market new vaccines52
that may be more reactive and less effective than they should be because there is no legal accountability for anyone who develops, regulates, markets, gives and promotes vaccine use.
Individual Susceptibility = Unequal Vaccine Risk Burden
During the past three decades, the Institute of Medicine has published a series of reports pointing out the large gaps in vaccine safety science,53 54
confirming that some people are genetically, biologically and environmentally more susceptible to suffering brain inflammation and other types of serious vaccine reactions but doctors often do not know who will be injured or die from vaccination.55 56
It has become very clear that one-size-fits-all vaccine policies place a disproportionate and unequal risk burden on those more vulnerable to vaccine harm.57
Have you or your child already discovered you are a member of that vulnerable minority who is at increased risk for vaccine injury- or do you have a relative or friend who is?
If so, then you understand why a law that compels everyone to use a pharmaceutical product which carries an unpredictable and greater risk of injury or death for a minority of vulnerable individuals – most of whom do not even know who they are – is not humane. There is nothing moral or just about a government policy that facilitates a de facto selection of certain individuals for sacrifice in the name of the public health.
Every Life Is Important
Every life is important and it is time for all Americans to stand up, speak out and take action to defend our human and civil rights when it comes to vaccine risk taking. Join with NVIC and help us secure vaccine safety informing, reporting and informed consent provisions in all vaccine policies and laws to protect both those who choose to use every government recommended vaccine and those who don’t.
What you choose to do, what we all choose to do right now will determine what kind of America we leave to our children and grandchildren. Because if the state can tag, track down and force individuals against their will to be injected with biological products of known and unknown toxicity today, there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the state can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.
It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Effects of Pertussis and Rubella Vaccines: Afterward on Research Needs
. Washington, DC. The National Academies Press
Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Events Association with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality: Need for Research and Surveillance.
Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press
1994. Also see Reference # 1.
56 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies: Conclusions About Scientific Findings
and Review of Scientific Findings.
Washington, DC: The National Academies Press
Just before midnight on Friday, May 2nd
2014, members of the Colorado House of Representatives voted 39 to 29 to accept the Senate-modified version of HB 1288
that rejected a requirement forcing parents filing a personal belief vaccine exemption for their children to undergo state-mandated vaccine “education” or obtain a signature from a pediatrician or other state-approved vaccine provider. Removal of the signature requirement and re-education component of the bill is a victory for the hundreds of concerned Colorado citizens who contacted their legislators and worked closely with NVIC’s state advocacy team to present testimony in public hearings in the House
Legislators Listened to Constituents and Affirmed Parental Rights
“Many legislators took the time to listen to constituents expressing deep concern about a bill that would penalize parents for making medical decisions for their children,” explained NVIC Colorado State Advocacy Director Cindy Loveland. “This action shows that a majority of Colorado legislators support and trust parents to make informed vaccination decisions for their children without interference from the state.”
NVIC Executive Director Theresa Wrangham, who represented NVIC in a 2013 public engagement project examining the state’s personal belief exemption, testified at both public hearings and added, “I am proud to be a Colorado parent and stand with such an articulate and responsible group of parents who understood the stakes. They used NVIC's Advocacy Portal tools to pull together and uphold parental rights and defend informed consent.”
Colorado First State to Protect Personal Belief Exemption Without Modification
Colorado is one of 17 states that allows an exemption to vaccination for personal, philosophical or conscientious beliefs. This year’s orchestrated and well-publicized campaign by politically powerful groups associated with pharmaceutical companies, public health and other medical trade associations to restrict the personal belief vaccine exemption in Colorado was similar to campaigns waged in Washington
and Oregon between 2011 and 2013.
Washington and California passed laws compelling parents filing a personal belief exemption to first obtain a signature from a doctor or state designated health care worker, while Oregon mandated state-vaccine education and Vermont now requires parents to sign a statement acknowledging the risks of remaining unvaccinated. Colorado is the first state to protect the personal belief exemption currently in state public health law without modification.
Contentious Bill Provision Opens Door for Harassment
The stripped-down version of HB1288 heading to Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk for signature still contains provisions that NVIC opposes. The final bill requires every daycare facility and school in the state to publicly release vaccination rates, which opens the door for identification of children with a medical, religious or personal belief exemption on file with daycare facilities and elementary, middle and high schools.
Commenting on the bill’s potential for targeting of families with children taking vaccine exemptions, Dawn Richardson, NVIC’s Advocacy Director said, “While the bill no longer contains an offensive and discriminatory state enforced re-education requirement, what remains in HB 1288 could open the door to revealing which children in the daycare centers or schools have filed vaccine exemptions and make them vulnerable to harassment. In addition, much of what is still in the bill can be accomplished under current state statutes. The Governor should veto it.”
The bill, which becomes effective July 1, 2014, also requires the state health department to establish “a joint policy on immunization data collection and sharing” in consultation with other state departments.” In addition, it gives the state heath department discretion to require parents filing personal belief exemptions to re-file them more than once.
Take Action Now - Register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal Today
To review the complete history of NVIC’s efforts on HB 1288 and be notified by email of what happens if the Governor signs the bill, sign up and become a user of the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal
and link to the Action Alerts on the Colorado state team page.
Watch a video
of the final House vote and discussion (starting at 5:19:20) and read details
(pages 43-44) about the final House vote on May 2 in the Colorado General Assembly House Journal.
Thank You and Appeal for Vigilance
“Thank you to each and every citizen in Colorado who took the time to get involved in the legislative process and work through the NVIC Advocacy Portal to make your voice heard,” said Dawn Richardson. “We are grateful to legislators in Colorado for keeping an open mind and taking seriously the legitimate concerns of informed parents and health care professionals defending the legal right to make voluntary vaccination decisions.”
NVIC is encouraging everyone in Colorado and every state to stay engaged and continue to educate community leaders and legislators over the summer and fall and be prepared to respond if similar legislation is reintroduced.
“The forced vaccination lobby has a long term goal of persuading legislators to eliminate all non-medical vaccine exemptions,” said Theresa Wrangham. “We have to remain vigilant and ready to take action in every state. The best way for families and health care professionals to do that is by plugging into the NVIC Advocacy Portal so we can work together to respond in an effective way.”