ACCV Federal Advisory Report
By Theresa Wrangham
During 2020, a rule-making process to modify the federal Vaccine Injury Table (VIT) by less than transparent means has unfolded over the course of meetings held by the federal Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV).
An unscheduled discussion took place, during the ACCV’s March meeting, about confidential correspondence that was sent to each Commissioner by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The correspondence solicited each Commissioner’s personal comments on a draft Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to remove syncope and shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA) from the VIT. Dr. Cody Meissner, who was the Chair of the Commission, encouraged Commissioners to respond to the correspondence privately, because he said it would be unlikely that the Commission would reach a consensus.1
Backdoor Attempt to Remove Recognized Vaccine Injuries
The Chairman’s encouragement that committee members respond privately to DHHS about the draft NPRM is contrary to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.2 This federal law requires that any changes to the VIT be discussed in open meetings conducted by the ACCV and that their recommendations be made publicly, prior to the DHHS Secretary’s publishing of an NPRM to alter the VIT. The soliciting of private comments by DHHS from Commissioners appears to have been a backdoor attempt to circumvent long standing federal law.3 4 5
Commissioners Kain and Howie, who strongly opposed Dr. Meissner’s actions, stated that discussion about changes to the VIT should be undertaken publicly as a committee. They also expressed deep concern about the removal of these injuries without a presentation of evidence that would justify their removal from the VIT.6
NVIC Requests Public Discussions of DHHS Draft NPRM
In addition to concerns expressed by ACCV Commissioners in March, NVIC issued a letter in April7 to DHHS and the ACCV noting the legal requirement of the ACCV to publicly discuss and make recommendations to the DHHS Secretary prior to publishing an NPRM. NVIC also requested that ACCV review the original evidence that was presented when these injuries were added to the VIT by unanimous vote in 2012 and weigh it against any new evidence that would justify the removal of these injuries from the VIT.8
An unscheduled ACCV meeting to discuss DHHS’ proposed removal of SIRVA and syncope from the VIT was held on May 18, 2020, due to pressure from organizations and members of the public injured by vaccines, their attorneys and medical professionals.9
Evidence Base for SIRVA and Syncope
In 2009, DHHS engaged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to review the epidemiologic, clinical, and biological evidence of adverse health outcomes associated with nine vaccines routinely recommended for children in the CDC’s childhood vaccination schedule.
The subsequent IOM physician committee report published in 2012 included a review of the evidence relating to reports of vaccine adverse events for syncope and SIRVA. Using their standard assessment, the IOM10 found strong mechanistic evidence11 to support a causal relationship between the injection of vaccines for the injuries of syncope and SIRVA, and did not rule out vaccines themselves as a possible mechanism for these injuries.
DHHS presented the IOM findings and expressed their support of adding these injuries to the VIT at the March 8, 2012 ACCV meeting.12 In turn, the ACCV unanimously voted to recommend that these injuries be added to the VIT.13 As a result, syncope and SIRVA were officially added to the VIT in January of 2017.14
The ACCV’s guiding principles for recommending changes to the VIT states that any change to the table should be evidenced based “and, whenever possible, be made to the benefit of petitioners”.15
SIRVA Now Leading VICP Compensation Awards
Injury compensation updates presented by DHHS throughout 2020 found that for the past two fiscal years the majority of petitions (54 percent) filed with the VICP were for SIRVA injuries.16 17 18 It was also noted that negotiated settlements have decreased since the addition of SIRVA to the VIT.19 The decrease in the number of SIRVA settlements is evidence that the original intent of the VIT, which was the expeditious compensation of cases resulting from a table of evidenced based injuries, has been met and its removal from the VIT would reverse that accomplishment.
ACCV Unanimously Rejects Removal of Syncope and SIRVA from Federal Vaccine Injury Table
During the ACCV’s May meeting, the ACCV unanimously rejected the proposed removal of syncope and SIRVA from the VIT, largely due to the fact that no new evidence was presented by DHHS to justify their removal.20 During the May, September and December ACCV meetings, Commissioners heard from citizens suffering from SIRVA, the Vaccine Injured Petitioners Bar Association, medical professionals, industry, and non-profit organizations such as NVIC and Vaccinate Your Family (formerly Every Child by Two) who all strongly opposed the removal of syncope and SIRVA from the VIT and requested that recommendations be deferred at least until all current research could presented to the Commission.21
Mike Milmoe, a vaccine injury attorney, was critical of DHHS’s attempt to remove these injuries from the VIT without presenting supporting evidence, especially in light of the lengthy and detailed process undertaken when these injuries were added to the table. He also found that the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) letter supporting the removal of these injuries from the VIT, due to the alleged increased workload it creates for DOJ’s staff, had no merit. As a former DOJ attorney in the VICP, Mr. Milmoe noted that by removing these injuries, DOJ staff would actually face increased workloads by having to spend more time trying to negotiate settlements rather than expediting compensation by conceding cases for injuries that appear on the VIT.22
Dr. Ramon Rodriguez, JD, from the Vaccine Injured Petitioners Bar Association, stated that DHHS’ concern that compensation of these injuries would cause depletion of the compensation trust fund was unfounded, and noted that the trust fund had continued to grow and was “healthy” despite compensation awards being made for these recognized injuries.23
John Murphy, General Counsel of Biotechnology Innovation Organization which represents the largest international biotechnology trade association in the world, stated that he supports keeping these injuries on the VIT because the rationale used when they were added to the VIT in 2017 remains largely unchanged.24
Dr. Srikumaran, an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins Shoulder and Sports Medicine, gave his professional opinion based on his clinical experience, that vaccine administration alone could not be responsible for all of the cases of SIRVA and that the vaccine itself must play a role. Both Dr. Srikumaran and Dr. Naveed Natanzi pointed out that the injection of other medications or blood products into the bursa or joint do not cause SIRVA like injuries.25
NVIC’s public comments26 27 and December presentation28 to the ACCV outlined the reasons why syncope and SIRVA should not be removed from the VIT.29 NVIC drew attention to the federal reports that were critical of the lack of a consistency in how injuries were added to or removed from the VIT, and to the fact that the continued narrowing of the VIT only makes it more difficult for claimants to receive compensation for their vaccine related injuries.30 31
NVIC’s December presentation also noted that research has continued to be published on syncope and SIRVA since the IOM’s report and should be reviewed prior to any change to the VIT relating to these injuries. The presentation also showed that there was no need to quell “frivolous” claims because historically the vast majority of injury claims have not been compensated. As December 1, 2020, DHHS reported that only 34 percent (7,705 out of 22,685) of all vaccine injury petitions filed with the VICP have been compensated.32
Steamrolling of the ACCV and Vaccine Injury Table
Despite the ACCV repeatedly requesting that DHHS present evidence as to why syncope and SIRVA should be removed from the VIT, DHHS has failed to present any evidence. As Mr. Milmoe, NVIC, and others have pointed out during ACCV meetings, this lack of participation on the part of DHHS is a stark departure from their actions when changes were made to VIT previously and typically included several presentations of evidence and a vote by the ACCV recommending a change, prior to issuance of an NPRM.33 34 35 36 37
Under federal law any changes to the VIT recommended by the ACCV are non-binding, due to their standing as an advisory committee. Therefore, now that the ACCV has made a recommendation to reject DHHS’ proposed removal of SIRVA and syncope from the VIT, that action is enough to allow the NPRM to move forward.
While DHHS has continued to refuse to present evidence to the ACCV as to why syncope and SIRVA should be removed from the VIT, NVIC, the vaccine injured, attorneys representing the vaccine injured, and health care professionals have presented evidence, opinions and concerns that overwhelmingly supported retaining syncope and SIRVA on the VIT.38 39 40
What Can You Do?
DHHS must respond to written public comments received on the NPRM. The deadline for written public comments on the proposed removal of syncope and SIRVA from the VIT is January 12, 2021. NVIC urges the public to oppose DHHS’ proposal to remove these injuries from the VIT for the following reasons:
- No evidence has been presented by DHHS justifying the removal of these injuries from the VIT;
- No data exists to support the DHHS position that the trust fund is running out of money. The latest data provided to the ACCV shows that there is ample money to furnish awards for these injuries as well as new injuries that may be added to the VIT;41 42
- VICP data does not support DHHS’ assertion that retaining these injuries will encourage frivolous petitions for compensation and add to DOJ’s caseload. In fact, the VICP routinely dismisses claims without merit and the removal of these injuries from the VIT will reduce the number of claims that can been resolved quickly, increase program costs, and provide no relief to caseloads;43 44
- The removal of these injuries from the VIT conflicts with the spirit and intent of the federal law governing the VICP.45
To learn more about the VICP and the proposed changes to the vaccine injury table, listen to Theresa on the Right on Point
podcast interview (Part 1
and Part 2
) by Wayne Rhode, author of The Vaccine Court.
Read NVIC's referenced, public comment on this NPRM submitted to DHHS.
Click the plus sign at the bottom of this page to view and/or post comments on our commentary.
1 HRSA. ACCV Webinar Recording – Mark 37.40 Mar. 6, 2020.
2 GPO.gov. 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-14. Vaccine Injury Table. 2016.
3 GPO.gov. 42 U.S.C. §300aa–19. Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines. 2016.
4 HRSA. Charter - Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV). Jul. 20, 2018.
5 U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Final - Federal Advisory Committee Rule 2001. Feb. 26, 2019.
6 Wadman, Meredith. United States wants to end most payouts for leading vaccination-related injury. Science Magazine. Apr. 20, 2020.
7 Fisher, BL. Williams, K. Wrangham, TK. Hendler, C. Letter to ACCV and ACCV DFO Re: Closed Door Discussions on Possible Removal of Syncope and Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) from the Federal Vaccine Injury Table (VIT). Apr. 16, 2020.
8 Fisher, BL. William, K. Wrangham, TK. Hendler, C. Referenced Written Response & Request Relating to Proposal to Remove SIRVA and Syncope from the Federal Vaccine Injury Table. Apr. 16, 2020.
9 Federal Register. Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines - Notice. Apr. 27, 2020.
10 Institute of Medicine Committee. Adverse Events of Vaccines: Causality Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.
11 Institute of Medicine Committee. Adverse Events of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality - TABLE 12-1 Summary of Epidemiologic Assessments, Mechanistic Assessments, and Causality Conclusions for Injection-Related Adverse Events. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.
12 U.S. HRSA. ACCV Meeting Transcript. Mar. 8, 2012.
13 U.S. HRSA. ACCV Meeting Transcript. Mar. 8, 2012.
14 Federal Register. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: Revisions to the Vaccine Injury Table. Jan. 19, 2017.
15 U.S. HRSA. GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR RECOMMENDING CHANGES TO THE VACCINE INJURY TABLE. Mar. 9, 2006.
16 HRSA. Division of Injury Compensation Programs Update to ACCV. Slide 11. Mar. 6, 2020.
17 HRSA. Division of Injury Compensation Programs Update to ACCV. Slide 11. Sept. 4, 2020.
18 HRSA. Division of Injury Compensation Programs Update to ACCV. Slide 11. Dec. 3, 2020.
19 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. Pg 2. Slide 11. Mar. 6, 2020.
20 HRSA. ACCV Recommendation - Implementation of the Draft National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program NPRM. May 20, 2020.
21 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. May 18, 2020.
22 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. May 18, 2020.
23 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. May 18, 2020.
24 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. May, 18,2020.
25 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. May, 18,2020.
26 Wrangham, T. NVIC Public Comment to ACCV. May 18, 2020.
27 Wrangham, T. NVIC Public Comment to ACCV. Dec. 3, 2020.
28 Wrangham, T. NVIC Presentation to ACCV – NPRM to Remove SIRVA and Syncope - Consumer Perspective. Dec. 3, 2020.
29 U.S. GAO. Vaccine Injury Trust Fund - Revenue Exceeds Current Need for Paying Claims. March 2020.
30 U.S. GAO. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program - Program Challenged to Settle Claims Quickly and Easily. December 1999.
31 U.S. GAO. Vaccine Injury Compensation - Most Claims Took Multiple Years and Many Were Settled through Negotiation. November 2014.
32 HRSA. Data & Statistics – Page 5. Dec. 1, 2020.
33 HRSA. Presentation to ACCV - Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report generated Proposals for Updates to the Vaccine Injury Table (VIT). Ryan, T. Dec. 9, 2011.
34 HRSA. Presentation to ACCV - Clarification on Proposed Changes to the Vaccine Injury Table. Houston, AM. Sep. 4, 2014.
35 HRSA. Presentation to ACCV - Prevention of SIRVA. Dalle-Tezze, T. Jun. 4, 2015.
36 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. Pg 5 – SIRVA. Jun. 3, 2016.
37 Federal Register. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: Revisions to the Vaccine Injury Table. Jan. 19, 2017.
38 HRSA. ACCV Draft Agenda. May 18, 2020.
39 HRSA. ACCV Draft Agenda. Sep. 4, 2020.
40 HRSA. ACCV Draft Agenda. Dec. 3, 2020.
41 HRSA. Division of Injury Compensation Programs Update to ACCV. Slide 10. Dec. 3, 2020.
42 U.S. GAO. Vaccine Injury Trust Fund - Revenue Exceeds Current Need for Paying Claims. March 2020.
43 HRSA. ACCV Minutes. Pg 2. Slide 11. Mar. 6, 2020.
44 HRSA. Division of Injury Compensation Programs Update to ACCV. Slide 8. Dec. 3, 2020.
45 GPO.gov. 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-14. Vaccine Injury Table. 2016.
Click video above to view Barbara Loe Fisher and Dawn Richardson of the National Vaccine Information Center discuss NVIC’s 2020 Annual Report on U.S. State Vaccine Legislation and their perspective on what may occur in 2021. The full report appears below.
By The NVIC Advocacy Team
No State Eliminated Vaccine Exemptions in 2020
Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in vaccine related legislation that impacts every person. More vaccines have been mandated for children in school and daycare and adults in the workplace, vaccine exemption rights have been restricted or removed, emergency powers have been expanded, vaccine tracking and enforcement and vaccine exemption rate disclosure programs threaten choices and health outcomes, and parental and informed consent rights have been weakened or removed all together.
This has all happened under the backdrop of unprecedented censorship of information questioning the safety, efficacy or necessity of the dozens of vaccines being mandated for use and the hundreds of vaccines in development. Public shaming, marginalization, and the bullying of those who don’t agree with accepting every single dose of every federally recommended and state mandated vaccine has become not only commonplace but socially sanctioned by those promoting “no exceptions” vaccine policies and laws.
In addition, with the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, plans to roll out a national vaccination program looms on the horizon. If the COVID-19 becomes state mandated, it has the potential to alter life in America in ways we never thought could be possible.
Citizen involvement in the legislative process to protect the human right to exercise informed consent to vaccination increased to unprecedented levels in 2020. In many cases, it matched and overcame the relentless attack by mandatory vaccination proponents on the ability of individuals to decline vaccination.
In this 2020 Annual Report on U.S. State Vaccine Legislation, the non-profit educational charity National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) reports that during the 2020 legislative session, NVIC analyzed, tracked and issued positions on an unrivaled 232 vaccine related bills in 39 states and the District of Columbia through the NVIC Advocacy Portal. This was the highest number of bills in the history of NVIC’s advocacy program, despite many shortened state legislative sessions due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
Working to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education since 1982, NVIC is the largest and oldest U.S. consumer-led non-profit organization disseminating information about diseases, vaccines and informed consent to vaccination. NVIC provides well-referenced, accurate information to the public about vaccine science, policy and law but does not make vaccine use recommendations. In 2010, NVIC launched the NVIC Advocacy Portal (NVICAP), a free online vaccine choice advocacy network, for the purpose of securing and defending informed consent protections in vaccine policies and laws.
Over the last decade, the NVIC Advocacy Program has analyzed, tracked and issued positions on well over 1000 vaccine related bills and has worked alongside and shares legislative information with many health freedom groups that support NVIC’s almost four-decade call for the protection of vaccine informed consent rights in America. The NVIC Advocacy Portal team, including key NVIC Advocacy directors in many states, works with families and enlightened health care professionals to educate legislators and protect vaccine informed consent rights. NVIC issues action alerts and sends them through email, posts them online and shares them through social media and our text alert program.
At the time this report was prepared, vaccine-related bills are still pending in California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Action to support the good vaccine-related bills and oppose bad bills is still needed. Bills referenced in this report are published on the NVIC Advocacy Portal and registered users can obtain a more detailed bill analysis, including current status, NVIC’s position on the bill, and recommended action.
Highlights from 2020
There were significant positive take away points from the outcome of the 2020 legislative session:
- 13 bills in 10 states [CT, FL, IA, IL, MA, NJ, PA, VT, WA, WI] were filed to eliminate vaccine exemptions. None passed.
- Out of 10 bills filed across 8 states [CO, FL, MA, NJ, NY, OK, PA, VT] to restrict vaccine exemptions, only 1 passed. Colorado SB 163 requires a vaccine provider signature or the completion of an online re-education module for religious or conscientious exemptions.
- Out of the 123 vaccine-related bills that NVIC opposed, only 8 bad bills passed!
- The 2020 legislative session featured 99 bills worthy of NVIC’s support, which is more than any legislative session since the launching of NVIC’s Advocacy Portal in 2010. This is up from only 18 good bills NVIC supported in 2016. The ratio of the total bills supported compared to total bills opposed has gotten better and better. Two of these positive bills passed.
- Proposed administrative rules to either add vaccine mandates or restrict exemptions in four state that NVIC opposed were withdrawn or amended to take out the offending sections.
There were only 3 states with more than 10 vaccine related bills filed in the 2020 session. Iowa led states in most positive bills introduced with 16 bills worthy of support and only 3 that required opposition. New Jersey had 4 bills worthy of support and 13 deserving opposition. The informed consent rights of New Yorkers were attacked by more bills than any other state with 27 bills needing opposition and only 8 that deserved support.
The remaining vaccine-related bills for the 2020 session are broken out and described below by category.
2020 Bill Analysis by Category
The four main areas that NVIC focuses on when tracking proposed bills are: (1) vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights; (2) vaccine mandates; (3) vaccine tracking and reporting and (4) vaccines in general. Some bills may be included in multiple categories. For example, a proposed bill attempting to mandate a vaccine may also have a requirement for vaccine tracking so it would be counted in both categories but only counted once in the total bill count.
The NVIC Advocacy team provides referenced, accurate vaccine information and talking points for NVICAP users to background legislators. Some of the position statements NVIC posted on the Advocacy Portal in 2020 were listed as bills to “watch.” This is done because our analysis indicated that either the bill was well intentioned but contained some problems needing amending before we could support it or the bill contained sections that were highly vulnerable to amendments that could conflict with NVIC’s mission.
The breakout and analysis of bills in these different categories identifies trends across the states and serves as a guide if you want to become active by joining the NVIC Advocacy Portal and educating your state legislators and community in 2021 about why it is so important to protect vaccine informed consent rights.
Vaccine Exemptions and Informed Consent (138 bills)
In a positive turnaround from previous sessions, out of the 138 vaccine-related bills filed in state legislatures in 2020 having components affecting vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights, NVIC opposed 56 of the proposed bills, but supported 78 and “watched” four. This is the first session where NVIC has supported more exemption and informed consent bills than opposed.
The mainstream media tended to hype the bills attacking exemptions so much that it may come as a surprise that there were more bills to expand exemptions and informed consent rights than there were to eliminate or restrict those rights. This can be directly credited to positive action taken by forward thinking state legislators, who were given fact-based information about vaccines, exemptions, and diseases by concerned citizens who took the time to make one-on-one personal contact with their elected representatives.
Eliminating or Restricting Vaccine Exemptions
There was a noticeable drop in bills filed in 2020 to either remove or restrict exemptions: 23 in 2020 versus 40 in 2019.
There were 13 bills in 10 states (Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin) that were filed to eliminate vaccine exemptions. None passed.
Notable in these defeats was Connecticut HB 5044 attempting to remove the religious exemption, which broke all records for online testimony that gripped the country overnight and lasted over 21 hours into the next morning. This bill did not pass.
Florida SB 64 to remove the religious exemption was filed by Senator Lauren Book in 2019 before the 2020 legislative session even started. This prompted families around the state to fight back by attending local pre-session delegation meetings asking for the bill’s defeat. Health Freedom Florida hosted a rally featuring presentations by NVIC and Children’s Health Defense the first week of session to educate citizens about the bill. This proactive strategy was effective. SB 64 failed to pass and did not even get a hearing.
New Jersey’s religious exemption removal bills (A969/S902) drew more in person protests than any vaccine bill had done before with many thousands showing up to oppose the exemption removal. Legislators inside the capitol building could hear protesting parents chanting for hours outside. This bill came the closest to passing of all the exemption removal bills. The strong showing by New Jersey families helped provide support to the brave legislators opposing this bill.
Out of 10 bills filed across 8 states (Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Vermont) to restrict vaccine exemptions, only one passed. Colorado SB 163 requires a vaccine provider signature or the completion of an online re-education module for religious or conscientious exemptions.
Bills pending to remove or restrict vaccine exemptions that deserve continued strong opposition are still active in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. These bills need to continue to be opposed.
It is critical that vaccine choice advocates in every state register for and regularly check in to the NVIC Advocacy Portal. The most important thing you can do if you care about this issue is to establish relationships with and educate your legislators now and into next year so you can be ready to counter bills that will restrict or eliminate exemptions and get good bills filed to protect and expand vaccine exemptions. There is nothing more important that you can do to protect or expand your right to delay or decline vaccines without penalty or harassment than talking to your legislators in person and establishing a positive, respectful relationship with them.
Exemption Disclosure and School Shaming
The trend to publicly disclose vaccine exemptions to shame schools with higher exemption rates has continued in 2020 where 9 bills were filed in 7 states. This year none of these bills passed.
Promoted by those who seek to ultimately eliminate vaccine exemptions, these public disclosure bills threaten and place pressure on students with vaccine exemptions by requiring schools to publish vaccination and/or vaccine exemption rates online. These bills are promoted under the false pretense of transparency, but they are really about government-sponsored shaming of schools with students who have vaccine exemptions.
The real goal of school shaming bills is to create centralized repositories of specific community level vaccine usage data that the media and public health employees use to identify and locate those who decline to receive every vaccine recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Media will use these reports in a biased manner to reflect negatively on schools with more exemptions in an attempt to solicit support for further restricting or eliminating vaccine exemptions.
Setting up schools to be designated “winners” and “losers” in the myopic quest for a 100 percent vaccination rate with all federally recommended vaccines, these types of bills add more layers of pressure and coercion with every single dose of every single vaccine and create an environment that pits parents, children, schools and districts against each other.
Arizona has had a bill filed every year since 2015 to post vaccine exemption rates. Fortunately, they have all failed to pass thanks to proactive citizen advocacy and brave legislators, who have held back these bills from moving forward. Even though these bills don’t authorize the release of individually identifiable information, the numbers of children utilizing vaccine exemptions are so small that bills like these puts the exposure of children’s identity at risk and sets them up for harassment, discrimination, and bullying. These bills need to continue to be opposed.
Children Vaccinating Themselves?
A very troubling area of proposed legislative changes are bills that allow minor children to be vaccinated without the knowledge or informed consent of their parents. A child is less likely than an adult parent to understand their personal and family medical history, including a history of vaccine reactions, allergies and autoimmune or neurological disorders.
Minor children do not have the same kind of critical thinking skills or emotional maturity required to make a vaccine benefit-risk decision compared to an adult. In addition, if a child receives a vaccination without a parent’s knowledge or informed consent and then experiences a vaccine reaction, a parent might not recognize the potential cause of their child’s sudden decline in health. This lack of knowledge by parents could be life threatening for the child.
None of the 21 bills introduced in eleven states (Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia), which attempted to grant minor children the ability to consent to vaccines on their own without parental knowledge or consent, passed.
In 2019, Congress held two vaccine hearings, one on February 27th and another on March 5th and one focus of the hearing was pitting children against their parents. Veteran vaccine safety and informed consent advocates with nearly four decades experience, including time spent serving on federal advisory committees, were denied the ability to testify, but a teenager with no experience other than recently opposing his mother on social media for not vaccinating him was invited to testify.
The ill-conceived concept of minor children consenting to vaccination without their parents’ consent appeared in media stories more frequently following the congressional hearing and used the teen’s testimony to advocate for this policy change. Medical trade groups also advanced the concept. Doctors, who are frustrated with having to spend time talking with educated parents during routine “well child” visits to answer questions and concerns about vaccines, have identified minor consent as a way to coerce children into consenting to vaccines on their own.
Adolescents are vulnerable to peer and authority-figure persuasion. An opinion piece was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Medical Association passed a resolution supporting state laws to allow minors to consent to vaccination.
This coordinated effort resulted in 13 bills introduced in 2019 and a big jump to 21 bills introduced in 2020. Fortunately, legislators listened to parents and rejected all 34 minor consent bills filed in 2019 and 2020.
Federal legislative history provides evidence that Congress never intended for a minor child to make decisions to get a vaccine without parental knowledge or consent. When the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed, the Act clearly stated that before the administration of certain vaccines, a health care provider shall give a copy of the CDC’s vaccine information materials to either the, “the parent or legal representative of any child to whom the provider intends to administer such vaccine…”
The CDC asserts the requirement that the VIS sheet is provided to the parent/legal guardian prior to vaccination of a minor child on their Q&A page on VIS sheets: Under the question “Is there a requirement to verify that parents/legal representatives have actually received and reviewed the VIS,” the answer is a clear and undebatable “YES”.
There is no justification for the state to override a parent’s legal right to make an informed benefit and risk decision about vaccination on behalf of their minor children and hand that legal right to doctors and medical workers, who have no liability or accountability for what happens to the child after vaccination. These types of bills are a violation of parents’ constitutional right to raise their children without undue interference from the state, and each one of these bills that surfaces in state legislatures should be strongly opposed.
Expanding Vaccine Exemptions and Informed Consent
Hard working vaccine and health freedom advocates and open-minded legislators came together in 2020 to advocate for 78 bills in the following 24 states to expand vaccine exemptions and enhance informed consent rights: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. This is a big jump from the 58 bills of this kind filed in 2019.
In response to expanding vaccination schedules and overzealous forced vaccination polices implemented by day care and schools, legislators filed 20 bills in the following 12 states to expand vaccine exemptions: Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia. Most of the bills filed added religious or conscientious exemptions.
While no bills adding vaccine exemptions for children to attend daycare and school were passed, Delaware passed a bill (HB 214) to allow veterinarians to exempt animals from rabies vaccines if the veterinarian concludes the vaccine would endanger the animal’s health.
Gaps in Informed Consent to Vaccination On Legislators’ Radar to Fix
Legislators are increasingly recognizing problems created because parents are not provided enough information about potential vaccine risks and contraindications. In response, 30 bills were filed in 16 states tackling the issue of improving vaccine informed consent rights. California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia all had bills filed to require additional information to be provided prior to vaccination.
Nine states had legislators wanting to get better information about the increased prevalence of vaccine reactions. 11 bills were filed to require vaccine reactions to be reported to the legislature directly or through a state agency. Iowa, New Hampshire and Missouri each had a bill introduced to require death certificates to include information about vaccines administered.
Also addressing gaps in informed consent, 9 bills were filed in the 7 states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania that would require parents to be informed of the availability of vaccine exemptions. Often, parents do not know they have the legal right to take a vaccine exemption.
Some schools don’t readily share this information and parents may be incorrectly told there is a “no shots, no school” policy that prevents unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children from enrolling in school. This can result in a child, who may be at high risk for suffering a vaccine reaction, getting vaccinated under false pressure that can lead to the child suffering a serious reaction.
Other bills filed required the disclosure of certain vaccine ingredients and risks, and several bills added steps like requiring specific written permission before any vaccine could be administered. One broad groundbreaking bill in Florida entitled the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” would have provided civil remedies for those whose religious or political speech was censored by a social media website.
While none of these bills passed, over 1000 state legislators were educated about the failures in the informed consent process to vaccination. This education can serve as a deterrent to passing other bad bills that remove or restrict informed consent rights in the future.
An encouraging new trend is that more legislators are recognizing the significant problems caused by discrimination against those who choose to delay or decline vaccination and are willing to support legislation to stop this discrimination and bias. A total of 32 bills tackling different aspects of discrimination head on were filed. The majority of bills filed were trying to protect adult employees from any kind of penalties for refusing vaccines.
This category of bills will be extremely important in 2021 as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out and potential legislation is introduced to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations. It is critical to protect people from sanctions by employers, insurance companies, medical providers, retail establishments, and interstate travel opportunities for refusing to take a vaccine. It is not too early to talk to legislators about prefiling bills to prevent this type of discrimination ahead of the 2021 legislative session.
Six bills were introduced this session to specifically prohibit insurance companies from penalizing doctors or patients when the patient did not take a recommended vaccine, while one bill in Wyoming prohibited doctors from expelling patients for vaccine refusal, and another Wyoming bill prohibited hospitals from refusing to treat individuals based solely on their vaccination status. Iowa and Michigan filed bills that would prohibit denying a foster care license based on the vaccination status of the family.
Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon also tried to join the ranks of Texas with bills that prohibit either abuse claims or custody restrictions based on vaccine refusal, and Colorado’s efforts were rewarded with the passage and governor’s signature on HB 1297. This clarified that delaying or declining a vaccine by itself is not child abuse or neglect. This bill enjoyed notable bipartisan support. Colorado demonstrated that it is important not to prejudge legislators based on party affiliation for their support or opposition to a bill and it is important to sincerely educate and treat all legislators respectfully.
Vaccine Mandates (42 bills)
Expanding Vaccine Mandates
In 2020, only 3 of the 42 bills filed to add vaccine mandates passed. Two bills were in New Jersey. Annual flu vaccines are now required for health care facility employees in New Jersey and meningococcal vaccines are now mandated for residential students at four-year colleges in New Jersey.
The third and worst vaccine mandate bill to pass in 2020 was Virginia HB 1090. It gave the Governor-appointed Board of Health the authority to add federally recommended vaccines to the schedule required for school attendance (with the exception of requiring annual influenza vaccinations) without a public hearing or vote by the legislature. It also expanded the current list of required vaccines to add HPV vaccines for boys to the existing requirement for girls and added rotavirus, hepatitis A, and meningococcal conjugate vaccine requirements in conformance with recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
This puts Virginia school children at risk of being required to receive a mandated COVID-19 vaccine once it is licensed by the FDA and recommended by ACIP for children. The Health Commissioner of Virginia has already stated that he intends to mandate that all Virginians get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available.
Mississippi had a failed attempt to pass a bill to mandate annual flu vaccines for school employees with no religious exemption, and New York still has two pending bills attempting to mandate flu vaccines for children in school and daycare, A2316 and S2776, that need to be watched and opposed.
Five states, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia had bills filed to specifically mandate HPV vaccines for students that have not passed.
New Jersey, New York, and Ohio attempted to add other adult vaccine mandates. NVIC opposes all adult mandates as a condition for employment. Vaccines are already available to those who want them.
New York attempted a bill to mandate vaccines for children’s camps with no religious exemptions allowed, but it has not passed.
Restricting Vaccine Mandates
NVIC supported 20 bills in 13 states that would have restricted vaccine mandates. While none of these bills passed, many legislators were educated about the harm vaccine mandates can cause, and this education helped hold back the passage of dozens of bills enacting more forceful mandates.
Eight bills were filed in Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio to protect employees who want to refuse vaccination requirements. These types of bills need to be filed and passed in every state.
Michigan had 2 bills, HB 5135 and HB 5136, that would have prohibited new vaccine mandates to be issued by agency rule making. Oklahoma passed a bill in the House, but not the Senate, to require legislative approval when new vaccine mandates are added for school by the department of health.
Given the threat posed by unelected and unaccountable state employees having the power to expand vaccine mandates, lawmakers in state legislatures, who have punted the responsibility of setting the vaccine schedule to health agency employees, need to take their legislative authority back so the people these mandates affect have a voice and can participate in the democratic process.
Iowa and Michigan set their sights on prohibiting a requirement that foster care families vaccinate their families. While the Iowa bill died, the Michigan bill is still pending, and support could help tip this good bill over the edge to pass.
Two exciting bills were introduced in Arizona (HB 2050) and South Dakota (HB 1235) to eliminate vaccine mandates, and people should consider talking to their legislators about filing this kind of bill in their own states. Brave legislators in these states recognized that vaccines are pharmaceutical products that can cause injury or death, and families should be allowed to make voluntary decisions about their use without being coerced and forced by law to vaccinate. These bills were filed as a direct result of people talking to their legislators about the harm that vaccine mandates have caused their families.
Vaccine Tracking and Reporting (37 bills)
Forced inclusion, forced reporting, and opt-out electronic vaccine tracking registries and enforcement systems continue to threaten the medical privacy of citizens and their legal right to refuse federally recommended vaccines without being subjected to harassment or punishment. On the positive side, legislators are also becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of reporting and tracking of serious vaccine reactions and are trying to take steps to put this information in front of more government officials.
The 2020 legislative session included 37 bills in the category of vaccine tracking and reporting that NVICAP analyzed, posted and monitored.
Expanding Vaccine Tracking
Eighteen bills tried to expand vaccine tracking in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Washington. Three of these bad bills passed. This is a big improvement from 2019 where 9 bills expanding vaccine tracking passed.
Colorado passed SB 163 which, in addition to restricting vaccine exemptions, adds a hefty dose of increased vaccine tracking and electronic surveillance. Health care providers are required to submit all vaccines administered and also all vaccine exemption information to the state operated electronic vaccine tracking system, CIIS. Now, there is no way for public and private school students and children attending daycare to not be tracked by the health department in Colorado.
Indiana passed HB 1210 which expands the current vaccine tracking system in Indiana to include additional personal health information, including newborn screening and blood lead screening.
Nebraska passed LB 1183 which enacted government vaccine tracking through the Population Health Information Act. The bill was initially introduced to deal with prescription drug monitoring, but it was amended to include vaccine tracking in this new state electronic database. There is no requirement for opt-in informed consent to participate in this registry and the bill provides for any health care entity to access this information.
Alabama, New Jersey, and West Virginia had 4 additional bills that would have required vaccine providers to report to the registry, but fortunately they did not pass.
All 50 states now have vaccine tracking systems for children and many states have expanded their systems to include adults. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has created a new term for vaccine tracking, surveillance, and enforcement registries so people don’t focus on and become concerned about how they are actually being used. The CDC now calls them Immunization Information Systems (IIS), which makes them seem to be more passive and less threatening.
In reality, IIS represent one of the largest threats to being free to refuse any vaccination, including upcoming vaccines for COVID-19. Federal agencies are working with public health trade groups to link the registries all together to be able to create and access a complete personalized vaccine profile on every U.S. citizen.
The Network for Public Health Law recently held two webinars about data sharing to support each “jurisdiction’s role in mass vaccination for COVID-19” using the Immunization (IZ) Gateway. The IZ Gateway is sponsored by the CDC Immunization Information Systems Support Branch and led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Chief Technology Officer. It’s purpose is to facilitate the sharing of everyone’s immunization status through multiple private and government entities in real time to create a virtual national immunization registry so that wherever you are, government and health care providers will know your vaccination status.
This presents a huge problem for people who don’t want to have their vaccination status tracked by government or anyone else. Many states have mandatory tracking where consent is unfortunately assumed and there is no way to get out. This is sometimes initiated with the state sharing birth records to the immunization registry without a parent’s knowledge or consent for the purpose of initiating a registry file on every newborn. Some states automatically put everyone in the system but claim someone can either opt-out, or opt-out of data sharing.
This is problematic for two reasons. First, because of data interoperability, every system that has access to each state registry can pull an individual’s vaccination status, store it, and release it even further before someone may have a chance to opt-out. Even if someone opts-out, the data is already out there and can’t be taken back.
Second, opting-out of data sharing does nothing to protect your vaccination status from the health department who operates the registry itself. It only prevents other entities like insurance companies, health care providers or schools from accessing the information. This does little to reassure people who are concerned the information will be used to force vaccination. Many people are more concerned about what public health officials will do with this information now and in the future as the vaccine records in most IIS can never be removed.
The only way to guarantee your vaccination status won’t get tracked in existing vaccine tracking registries by your state and used to penalize you or enforce vaccination is for your state to legislate explicit opt-in consent for inclusion into the registry and for the release of data out of the registry. Also, the option for complete personal vaccine data purging from the registry and all other health department files should be enacted for those who want their personal information removed from the registry after it has been included.
Texas and Montana are the only states that require opt-in informed consent. If you do not live in either of these states, laws need to be changed to prohibit any collection or sharing of your medical/vaccine records without your expressed written informed consent. With impending controversial COVID-19 mass vaccination programs, limiting personal health information that is collected and shared with IIS is critical.
Strong opposition to mandatory inclusion, assumed consent, and opt-out vaccine tracking systems is needed. Reaching a 100% vaccine compliance rate by all children and adults is the goal of these electronic vaccine tracking systems.
Expanding Vaccine Reaction Reporting and Tracking
On the other side in a positive new trend, there were 14 bills requiring the reporting or recording of vaccine reactions. California, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington had 11 bills requiring that reports of vaccine reactions be sent to the legislature or the state. Iowa, New Hampshire, and Missouri took on the heart wrenching topic of infant deaths following vaccination and had 3 bills requiring vaccine information to be recorded on death certificates or to be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
While none of these bills passed, legislators were educated about the lack of public transparency about real vaccine reactions and deaths and these bills were a great first step at trying to change that.
Vaccines (35 bills)
Arizona and Pennsylvania had two bills that attempted to expand emergency powers by the state but they did not pass. In 2021, we can expect many more bills trying to expand emergency powers, as well as curtail abuses of emergency powers, in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. These bills will need to be watched carefully.
Most states lack sufficient vaccine exemptions to protect citizens from forced vaccination in times of declared public health emergencies. Now would be a good time for people to review their state emergency powers laws to look for problems and talk to their legislators about filing bills before the 2021 legislative sessions to expand vaccine exemptions for all state residents during a declared public health emergency. This is especially important for those who have concerns about potential mandates for COVID-19 or influenza vaccines.
Authorizing More Professions to Administer More Vaccines
One of the most successful areas where we worked with families in the states was in the area of bills that proposed to expand the authority to pharmacists and others to administer vaccines to children. There were 22 bills filed in 14 states (Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin) to allow pharmacists and other types of medical professions to administer vaccines to young children.
Four of the 22 bills attempted to expand vaccine administrators to other professions outside of pharmacists. Ohio had a bill trying to allow podiatrists to give flu vaccines to anyone 7 years old and up, Oklahoma tried to get paramedics to give vaccines, and Wisconsin tried to give authority to dentists to administer vaccines. Fortunately, none of these bills passed but it is easy to see how other professions want a piece of the almost $18 billion dollar U.S. vaccine market in 2020, and how that could lead to more “gatekeepers” instituting policies that refuse services to the unvaccinated.
In terms of expanding a pharmacist’s ability to give vaccines, both New Hampshire and New York passed controversial futuristic bills allowing pharmacists to vaccinate for COVID-19 once a vaccine becomes available. Other than the 2 COVID-19 expansions bills, the only other bill of this type that passed was in Florida, but the offending language allowing pharmacists to vaccinate children was completely removed from the bill thanks to strong opposition.
Unfortunately, the federal government stepped in and overrode the states on the issue of pharmacists being given the authority to vaccinate young children. State legislatures were completely circumvented by an action taken by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar.
On Aug. 24, 2020, the Federal Register published Mr. Azar’s amendments to the declared emergency for COVID-19 issued under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19. Countermeasures include vaccines for ACIP-recommended vaccines and this amendment now allows pharmacists to administer every ACIP-recommended vaccine to all children three years old or older, regardless of what each state law limits.
This is a significant abuse of federal power. States have been deliberately cautious about limiting the types of vaccines and ages of children which pharmacists are allowed to vaccinate. The actions of Mr. Azar, who is a former CEO of the U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and a former pharmaceutical lobbyist, illustrate the problems created by the revolving door between the pharmaceutical industry and government agencies.
Pharmacists administering vaccines in the corner drug store or grocery store pharmacy to minor children and toddlers trivializes very real vaccine risks and the potential for serious reactions. Pharmacists are not doctors and twenty hours of required training for pharmacists to be able to administer all childhood vaccines cannot substitute for the knowledge and practical experience that doctors and nurses have administering vaccines. Pharmacists are not as knowledgeable about diagnosing the difference between cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis, and fainting and most pharmacies don’t have lifesaving defibrillators.
The limited training pharmacists get in vaccines will not be able to cover all the contraindications for the 57 different unique vaccines available now in the United States or the nearly 260 vaccines in development. Ensuring informed consent and accurate screening to consider family and individual medical histories will be challenging in the back of a pharmacy or a grocery store. Certain allergies, fevers, weakened immune systems, seizures, pregnancy, Guillan-Barre Syndrome and other reactions post vaccination are all reasons listed on the CDC’s Vaccine Information Statements indicating a possible reason to not vaccinate.
It is also a stretch to think pharmacists are going to report reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) or warn parents about the statute of limitations and instructions for filing a claim with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which has paid out over $4.4 billion dollars to vaccine victims.
Administrative rules, while not law, carry the same effect as law. State legislatures delegate rule-making authority to the state agencies, boards of health, or health commissioners tasked with implementing state law, however, they are not supposed to change or add to what is in statute. As more concerned citizens have made significant impact in stopping bad vaccine bills, some state health departments have turned to the rule process to add more mandates or restrict vaccine exemptions. Additionally, there has been a trend in recent years for some state legislators who are influenced by the medical trade lobby to move the task of setting vaccine mandates or setting the criteria for vaccine exemptions completely out of the legislature and into the hands of state employees.
It is a widespread problem that many state agencies abuse their power and write rules that go beyond the scope of the state statute they are implementing. Many state’s administrative procedures acts do not give the average citizen sufficient opportunities to give feedback that will be sincerely considered. Because state employees are not elected, state residents don’t have any recourse to remove them from their jobs as they are able to do with elected legislators who restrict or eliminate rights.
In the 2020 legislative session, NVIC Advocacy tracked and issued action alerts on proposed administrative rule changes in 4 states, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. NVIC Advocacy team members and like-minded groups worked together in these states to stop these four rule changes.
The Oklahoma rule change would have restricted vaccine exemptions by requiring the completion of a mandatory health department educational presentation in order to obtain a religious or personal belief exemption. Strong opposition to this attempted restriction to exemptions helped ensure that the rule was amended to remove this burden on exemptions in Oklahoma.
Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming proposed new vaccine mandates through rule. Local vaccine informed consent and health freedom groups came through in large numbers attending public comment sessions and submitting comments, engaging more families concerned about expanding vaccine schedules and communicating with legislators to ask them to oppose the rule changes as well. This resulted in all of these proposed rule changes for new vaccine mandates being withdrawn.
Proposed rule changes are typically published in state registers. It is important to watch the state health and education agency registers for proposed rules regarding vaccine requirements and exemptions. Links to these state registers are available on the NVIC law pages. Sometimes contacting your legislators about proposed rules that force more vaccines or restrict vaccine exemptions can be helpful if the legislator contacts the agency and ask them to back off. Legislators, especially those who sit on powerful appropriation committees setting state budgets, can have more of an influence than the average citizen. NVIC is opposed to unelected unaccountable state employees setting required vaccine schedules. A good bill to file in states where the legislature has abdicated it’s power to control what vaccines are mandated on its citizens would be to repeal these laws and return control back to legislators who must face voters at the ballot box.
Comparing Recent Sessions to 2020
232 bills represent the most proposed vaccine-related bills NVIC has recorded in the history of the NVIC Advocacy Portal, surpassing the previous all-time high of 221 bills introduced in 2019. It is important to note that four states (Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas) meet biennially to consider new bills and do not hold a legislative session in even years. It is remarkable that this record number of vaccine-related bills were proposed with these four states not participating in the 2020 legislative session.
The number of states proposing bills in 2020 that affected NVIC’s mission remained similar to last year: 39 and the District of Columbia compared to 40 and the District of Columbia in 2019.
There were fewer bills that NVIC opposed in 2020 compared to last year (123 versus 137). There were more bills filed that NVIC supported in 2020 than in any other session. NVIC supported 99 bills this session, which is 22 more positive bills than the previous record-breaking number of 77 bills NVIC supported in 2019.
Enlightened legislators are not only listening to concerned constituents in greater numbers, many more are continuing or beginning to resist aggressive lobbying efforts by the vaccine industry, medical trade and other groups, whose positions and profits benefit from laws that force children and adults to use every vaccine sold by pharmaceutical companies and recommended by public health officials.
Only 8 bad vaccine bills passed out of the 123 that NVIC opposed in the 2020 legislative session, which was 10 less than the 18 bad vaccine bills that passed last year.
Individual citizen involvement in the legislative process, through personal communications and education of legislators, continues to make a significant impact year after year on the outcomes of vaccine related bills in state legislatures. NVIC predicts that the continued attack on vaccine exemptions and bills to expand emergency powers and mandate fast tracked COVID-19 vaccines after they are licensed and recommended by the federal government will drive even more Americans in every state to get more involved in the legislative process at every level in the years to come.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
NVIC expects that the vaccine industry and their medical trade association partners will step up lobbying efforts to restrict or remove vaccine exemptions in 2021 since so many of their bills failed in 2020. Please become a registered user of the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal and check in often to learn about ways to personally educate your legislators when vaccine bills that affect your rights are moving in your state. Please encourage your family and all of your friends to do the same.
Clearly your efforts are making a much more significant difference than the mainstream media and those pushing “no exceptions” forced vaccination policies and laws are willing to admit, and your active participation is vital to protecting informed consent rights and vaccine choices in America. If you see inaccurate information in the media, please take the time to respond by making a constructive comment online.
You can also email the journalist or call the media outlet and provide accurate, well referenced Diseases and Vaccines information and accurate state vaccine law information, which you can find on our website NVIC.org. NVIC’s illustrated and fully referenced Guide to Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law is another good vaccine education tool for legislators and friends and family, too. The same holds true if you are censored online for providing accurate information about vaccination, infectious diseases and health. Contest it and educate those doing the censoring. The information seeds you plant today can make a difference tomorrow and into the future.
Yes, the challenges are great but so are the opportunities to educate and empower legislators and residents of every state to defend vaccine freedom of choice. NVIC is committed to continuing to make that happen and we look forward to working with you through the NVIC Advocacy Portal to help you protect vaccine informed consent rights in your state in 2021 and beyond.
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 the National Vaccine Information Center prepares to host the three day, three night Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination that will be broadcast online Oct. 16-18, 2020, the theme we have chosen is Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century, because at no time in modern history has it been more important for all of us to take a stand and do just that. This year, the orchestrated actions by governments around the world to restrict or eliminate civil liberties in response to the emergence of a new coronavirus has been unprecedented, and it has had profound effects on the global economy and on the physical, mental and emotional health of billions of people. 1
By mid-September 2020, there were about 29 million cases of the new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) reported worldwide with about 925,000 associated deaths. The United States, the third most populated country in the world at 330 million people, had recorded over seven million cases and 198,000 deaths, with an estimated 598 deaths per million people, which is a higher death rate pthan Sweden, 2where health officials have refused to order masking or lock down the country and allowed the population to acquire natural herd immunity to the virus. 3 4
Overall COVID-19 Mortality Less Than One Percent
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall mortality rate for the new SARS coronavirus causing COVID-19 is about 0.6 percent, 5 although some scientists say it is lower, 6 while others estimate it can be as high as one to two percent in some parts of the world. 7 Compared to Ebola with a 50 percent mortality rate 8or smallpox, at 30 percent; 9 tuberculosis at 20 to 70 percent; 10 diphtheria at 5 to 10 percent; 11 or the 1918 influenza pandemic with a 2.5 percent mortality rate, 12 COVID-19 is near the bottom of the infectious diseases mortality scale with a less one percent mortality rate in most countries.
Those at highest risk for complications and death include the elderly and those with one or more poor health conditions. 13 The CDC recently reported that only six percent of COVID-19-related deaths were solely due to coronavirus infection and 94 percent of the people who died also had influenza or pneumonia; heart, lung or kidney disease; high blood pressure; diabetes, or another underlying poor health condition. 14 Most studies suggest it is rare for children to suffer complications and die from COVID-19. 15
But seven months after the World Health Organization 16 declared a coronavirus pandemic, 17 and public health officials persuaded lawmakers to turn the world upside down, a lot of people are asking questions and so are doctors who disagree with each other about the facts. Questions like:
Where did the new respiratory virus come from?
The most popular narratives about the mutated coronavirus is that it either jumped out of a bat or another animal in a Chinese wet food market 18 19 or escaped out of a biohazard lab in 2019, 20 21 but scientists continue to argue about which scenario is more likely. 22
And this question:
If I wear a cloth facemask, does it really prevent me from getting infected with or transmitting COVID-19?
There is an ongoing debate in the medical community about whether it is a good idea for all healthy children and adults to wear cloth masks when they leave their home. 23
In March 2020, the US Surgeon General ordered the American public to stop buying and wearing masks because “they are not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus” 24
and “actually can increase the spread of coronavirus," which was the position of the World Health Organization. 25
But in April, the CDC walked back its “do not mask” order and urged all healthy Americans to voluntarily wear homemade cloth face coverings when entering public spaces. 26
In June, the World Health Organization was continuing to say that, “At the present time, the widespread use of masks everywhere is not supported by high-quality scientific evidence, and there are potential benefits and harms to consider…Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19,” 27 But by June, a number of state Governors and local governments had mandated facemask wearing and an epidemic of mask shaming had begun, 28 29 which led to public protests against masking mandates.30 In August, the CDC doubled down and expanded face masking directives to include all children over the age of two, 31 while the World Health Organization warned that children under the age of six should not wear masks but children over age 12 should. 32
So confusion reigns. While some scientists are saying that if all healthy people are forced to wear face masks it will not stop the coronavirus pandemic and gives a dangerous and false illusion of safety, 33 other scientists are demonizing the refusers, alleging that people refusing to mask up are “sociopathic” and have lower levels of empathy. 34
About 30 U.S. states require masking for young children and adults who enter public spaces, 35 and some states are leveling steep fines of up to $1,000 or threatening jail time for anyone who fails to comply. 36 Washington state has made not wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor crime 37 and central Texas officials say they wish they could put people in prison for refusing to wear a mask. 38 More than 50 countries in the world now require people to cover their faces when they leave home and some do fine and imprison people who go outside without wearing a mask. 39
So what about getting tested for COVID-19? The CDC says that people should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the infection. There is also an antibody test to identify whether or not you have been infected in the past. 40
But lab tests are not always reliable and people are asking this logical question:
If I get a lab test, will it accurately identify if I am currently infected or have been infected with COVID-19 in the past?
Unfortunately, it’s not clear how accurate any of the tests are, especially the antibody test for past infection because the presence of antibodies may not be the only way to measure immunity. 41 The best guess is that the range of reported false negative results for the nasal swab test is between two and 50 percent, and the reported false negative results for the antibody blood test is up to 30 percent, depending upon when during or after the infection testing is performed. 42
In July, a state lab in Connecticut admitted that 90 out of 144 people tested during a 30 day period - most of them nursing home residents - were inaccurately informed they were infected because of faulty, false positive lab tests. 43 In August, 77 football players in the National Football league were given false positive test results when, after retesting, all the tests came back negative. 44
People are also wondering about what happens after they get COVID-19, asking this question:
If I recover from COVID-19 will I only get temporary immunity or will I have long-term immunity against re-infection?
The CDC says it is unknown how long immunity lasts or whether you can get the new coronavirus infection twice. 45 However, last spring researchers found that out of 68 uninfected persons, the blood from one third of them contained helper T-cells that recognized the mutated SARS coronavirus. They concluded the presence of these defensive helper T cells gives evidence for some residual immunity that may have been produced after common cold infections caused by other types of coronaviruses. This, the scientists said, “bodes well for the development of long-term protective immunity.” 46
Another important study was published in the medical literature in August providing evidence for robust memory T cell immune responses in people who had recovered from even mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 but had no detectable virus-specific antibodies. 47
If people can have strong immune responses without symptoms and traditional antibody tests for proof of immunity don’t apply to COVID-19, public health officials may be underestimating the extent of population-level herd immunity that already exists in the U.S., where there have been more cases reported than anywhere else.
COVID-19 Public Health Laws A Public Relations Disaster
While doctors debate the science, it is becoming clearer that the response to the new coronavirus infection by government health officials has been a public relations disaster. The anxiety, fear, and chaos created by regulations instituted by most governments after the declaration of a COVID-19 pandemic in March 2019 has torn the fabric of societies and affected public opinion about public health laws and vaccination. 48
Now the people are being told that there is one - and only one - simple solution to resolving the crisis and getting back to normal: that is, the only way we can take off our masks and touch, hug, kiss, or come close to each other again 49 50 51 52 53 54 is for every person living in every country to get injected with one of the liability-free COVID-19 vaccines being fast tracked to market. 55 56 57 58 59
In April, World Health Organization officials at the United Nations launched a global initiative “to end the Covid-19 pandemic, ”proclaiming that, “no one is safe until everyone is safe.”60 By May, they were warning that if every person in the world doesn’t get injected with a COVID-19 vaccination, the virus “may never go away.” 61
The World Health Organization, 62 US government 63 64 65 66 and lawmakers in the European Union, 67 along with wealthy and politically powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the Gates Foundation, 68 69 70 GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, 71 and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) 72 have given the pharmaceutical industry tens of billions of dollars to develop and fast track experimental coronavirus vaccines to market and promote their universal use. 73 74 At the same time, governments have given pharmaceutical companies a liability shield from lawsuits when COVID-19 vaccines injure or kill people. 75 76
The hard sell is on, but a lot of people are not buying it.
People Are Rejecting the COVID-19 Vaccine Sales Pitch
Every poll taken this year has revealed that between 40 and 70 percent of people living in the U.S. and Europe don’t plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is licensed. 77 78 79 80 81 82 Populations in developed countries are resisting the siren call for “solidarity,” as doubt about COVID-19 vaccines is becoming more common in developing counties, too. 83
Apparently, the pushback by a wary public has taken government officials by surprise. Apparently, they were banking that the economic and social deprivation, fear and chaos surrounding lockdowns would produce a bull market for experimental mRNA and DNA COVID-19 vaccines using technology that never has been licensed for humans. 84
It is widely acknowledged now that a solid two-thirds of Americans or more will “just say no” to getting injected with a vaccine containing lab altered parts of a new coronavirus that scientists admit they still don’t know much about, 85 vaccines that preliminary clinical trials have revealed may well cause more than just a few minor reactions. 86 A frustrated top U.S. health official has name-called Americans, who refuse to go along with public health policies and laws, calling them “anti-science” and “anti-authority.” 87 88
The truth is, people in this country and many others just don’t have confidence in the quality and quantity of the science or government health officials they are being told to trust. 89
Angry that a growing number of people are reluctant to roll up their sleeves for a vaccine that is being rushed to market at “warp speed,” public health officials, 90 billionaire Silicon Valley technocrats, 91 92 93 doctors, attorneys and bioethics professors, 94 95 96 97 98 and politicians 99 are beating the drum for swift enactment of “no exceptions” mandatory vaccination laws as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are licensed. 100 Already, some cheerleaders at leading universities are banging that drum for approving and using experimental COVID-19 vaccines even before testing is done, 101 and are calling for young, healthy people to be the first to get the vaccine because it is their “civic duty” to protect everyone else. 102
They warn that “herd immunity may not be achieved if people refuse to take the coronavirus vaccine, 103 104 and say that, in order to keep society “safe,” laws must be passed to threaten and coerce you and your minor children to get vaccinated or face crippling social sanctions that will effectively take away your liberty and destroy your life. 105
People in U.S. and Other Nations Rise Up to Protest Lockdowns, Defending Freedom
This summer, huge public demonstrations defending freedom in Berlin, 106 London, 107 Paris 108 and Copenhagen saw tens of thousands of citizens gather to protest masking 109 and other oppressive coronavirus lockdown policies, which have severely restricted normal physical contact between people, caused widespread unemployment, 110 and harmed their physical, mental and emotional health. 111 Like in Europe, people living in Canada, 112 Australia 113 114 and New Zealand 115 also are resisting months of social distancing policies that have eliminated fundamental human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.
The U.S. has seen similar but smaller public demonstrations opposing forced masking, social distancing and lockdown laws and defending freedom in Virginia, 116 Pennsylvania, 117 Wisconsin, 118 Michigan, 119 California 120 and other states, as record numbers of Americans struggle with unemployment, 121 122 the destruction of small middle class businesses, 123 mortgage defaults 124 and bankruptcy filings; 125 steep increases in anxiety and depression, 126 127 drug and alcohol addiction, 128 child and spousal abuse, 129 and divorce. 130
Social Sanctions for Failure to Get Vaccinated May Align with Lockdown Sanctions
The punishing social sanctions being talked about if you refuse a COVID-19 vaccination are likely to be enforced using government-operated electronic tracking systems linked to digital “immunity passports” that require you to “prove” you are immune to the new SARS coronavirus before you are allowed to work in an office building or enter other public spaces. 131 132 133 134 These social sanctions for failure to vaccinate may closely resemble the types of social interaction restrictions enforced in the U.S. and other countries over the past year.
In the U.S., most public health laws, including vaccine laws, are enacted by the states, 135 while the federal government makes vaccine use recommendations and can mandate vaccines for people crossing national or state borders. Local city and county governments also can impose their own public health regulations. 136 That is why some states and cities have seen very restrictive COVID-19 pandemic masking 137 and lockdown regulations 138 and others have been more open. 139
So whether or not you will be punished for refusing to get a COVID-19 shot next year primarily will be determined by your state’s Governor and the representatives who have been elected to make laws in your state Capitol. 140 Depending upon where you live and the political philosophy of the majority of representatives in your state legislature, after the COVID-19 vaccine is licensed by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the CDC for use by all children and adults, 141 if you refuse to get a COVID-19 shot, you could be blocked from: 142
- Being employed and going to work in an office
- Getting and education
- Obtaining a driver’s license or passport
- Boarding a train or other public transportation
- Attending a sports game or concert
- Entering a store, restaurant, bar, coffee shop or nail salon
- Booking an appointment with a doctor
And you could be prohibited from checking into a hospital for surgery, or visiting a family member in a nursing home, or blocked from obtaining private health insurance and Medicaid or Medicare.
In other words, if you refuse to get a coronavirus vaccination, you could be subjected to the kinds of punitive social sanctions I have been predicting and publicly warned about since 1997, 143 144 145 146 sanctions that are already being applied to Americans who decline to get or give their children dozens of doses of CDC “recommended” liability free vaccines 147 and already are being denied an education, medical care, and employment. 148 149
Broken Promises Leads to Broken Trust
Doctors and public health officials wondering why people don’t trust what they say about infectious diseases and vaccination, including coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, only have to look in the mirror to answer the question.
Since 1982, parents of vaccine injured children have been begging doctors to do the kind of science that will explain why so many highly vaccinated children, who don’t get measles or chicken pox anymore, are stuck on sick and suffering with brain and autoimmune disorders that never go away. 150 For four decades we have been asking doctors and government health officials to stop sweeping casualties of inhumane one-size-fits all vaccine policies under the rug. 151
What we get from medical professors in universities receiving lots of money from the government and pharmaceutical companies, and from doctors developing vaccines, and from public health officials pushing “no exceptions” vaccination policies is threats, name-calling, bullying and punishment if we try to exercise informed consent to vaccination. 152 153 154
There is no other word for it but abuse.
They order us to obey them but refuse to take responsibility for what happens when we obey the orders they give. They expect us to trust them and refuse to care about the victims of vaccination when the benefits do not outweigh the risks. Instead, they act to protect the power and profit-making of their business partners: the pharmaceutical industry, medical trade associations, multi-national media corporations and Silicon Valley billionaires, and leave vaccine victims to take care of themselves.
What’s trust got to do with it?
Broken trust has everything to do with why the majority of people in the U.S. and Europe do not want to roll the dice and find out whether the odds of surviving a COVID-19 vaccination are in their favor.
It is during this extraordinary time of great challenge and opportunity that NVIC is sponsoring the Fifth International Public Conference on Vaccination. Our conference will create an expanded base of knowledge about vaccine science, policy, law and ethics brought to you by more than 40 distinguished speakers, who will empower you with information you need to become an effective vaccine freedom advocate. Go to NVIC.org and register today for this historic conference celebrating freedom of thought, speech and conscience and gain permanent online access to this valuable video library of information.
It’s your health, your family, your choice.
And our mission continues: No forced vaccination, not in America.
Click the plus sign at the bottom of this page to view and/or post comments on our commentary.
1 Fisher BL. How Fear of a Virus Changed Our World. NVIC Newsletter June 1, 200.
2 World-o-Meter. 2019 Coronavirus Pandemic. Sept. 13, 2020.
3 Raines K. Sweden’s Different Response to COVID-19 Based on Mutual Respect. The Vaccine Reaction May 18, 2020.
4 Sandbrook D. No lockdown, no masks, no hysteria…NO PROBLEM: Sweden didn’t go into a corona coma – and it’s living in glorious normality. Daily Mail Online Aug 21, 2020.
5 Tate N. What Changing Death Rates Tell Us About COVID-19. WebMD Sept. 1, 2020.
6 Bendavid E, Mulaney B et al. COVID-19 Antibody Seroprevalence in Santa Clara County, California. MedRxiv Apr. 14, 2020.
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21 Young A, Blake J. Near Misses at UNC Chapel Hill’s High Security Lab Illustrate Risk of Accidents with Coronavirus. ProPublica Aug. 17, 2020.
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23 Miltimore J. Europe’s Top Health Officials Say Masks Aren’t Helpful in Beating COVID-19. Foundation for Economic Education Aug. 6, 2020.
24 Asmelash L. The surgeon general wants Americans to stop buying face masks, CNN Feb 29, 2020.
25 Berrien H. Surgeon General: Here’s Why CDC and WHO Recommend Healthy People Do NOT Wear Masks. Daily Wire Mar. 31, 2020.
26 Dwyer C, Aubrey A. CDC Now Recommends Americans Consider Wearing Cloth Face Coverings in Public. NPR Apr. 3, 2020.
27 World Health Organization (WHO). Q&A Masks and COVID-19: Does WHO recommend use of fabric masks for the general public? June 7, 2020.
28 Moran R. ‘Mask Shaming’ Is Just Another Form of Virtue Signaling. PJ Media May 9, 2020.
29 Schwebke S, Downey D. Mask shaming erupts as latest public battle over coronavirus restrictions. Orange County Register May 14, 2020.
30 Deliso M. Officials see pushback as more states, counties require people to wear masks in public. ABC June 25, 2020.
31 CDC. COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks. Aug. 7, 2020.
32 Reuters. WHO says children aged 12 and over should wear masks like adults. Aug. 22, 2020.
33 Colton E. Top Swedish epidemiologist: It’s “very dangerous” to believe masks will stop coronavirus. Washington Examiner Aug. 12, 2020.
34 Miguel FK, Machado GM. Compliance with containment measures to the COVID-19 pandemic over time. Do antisocial traits matter? Personality and Infection Differences Jan. 1, 2021; 168.
35 Shelbourne T. COVID-19: More than 30 states have mask mandates: Is your state one? Heavy Aug. 16, 2020.
36 Waraich S. District Attorney: Fines for not wearing a mask can be as high as $1,000 or jail time. Times Standard (CA) Apr. 22, 2020.
37 Rodriguez E. Washington Makes Not Wearing a Face Mask a Misdemeanor Crime. Newsweek June 24, 2020.
38 Asmussen J. Central Texas officials upset they can’t imprison unmasked citizens. Texas Scoreboard June 16, 2020.
39 Al Jazeera. Which countries have made wearing face masks compulsory? Aug. 17, 2020.
40 CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): COVID-19 Testing Overview. and Aug. 24, 2020.
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43 Microsoft News. State Lab Finds 90 Positive COVID-19 Test Results Were False. July 20, 2020.
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45 CDC. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): When to Quarantine. Aug 16, 2020.
46 Leslie M. T cells found on COVID-19 patients ‘bode well’ for long-term immunity. Science May 14, 2020.
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49 Matarese J. No more handshakes? Not as easy as you think. WCPO Mar. 6, 2020.
50 Jansson-Boyd C. Coronavirus is accelerating a culture of no touching – here’s why that’s a problem. The Conversation Mar. 16, 2020.
51 Bogart N. Is it safe to hug a friend or loved one at this point in the pandemic? CTV News June 8, 2020.
52 Migala J. Sex During the Coronavirus Pandemic: What’s Safe, and What Experts Don’t Want You to Do. Health June 16, 2020.
53 Paine H. Coronavirus: Australians still shouldn’t kiss, hug or handshake. Newscom.au June 22, 2020.
54 Kekatos M. Have sex, but don’t kiss, Canada’s top doctor says: Chief health advisor urges wearing masks while getting intimate and avoiding ‘face to face closeness” with new people. Daily Mail Sept. 2, 2020.
55 Woods A. Coronavirus lockdowns shouldn’t end until there’s a vaccine, study says. New York Post Apr. 9, 2020.
56 Gates B. What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine. Gates Notes Apr. 30, 2020.
57 Kramer J. COVID-19 vaccines could become mandatory. Here’s how it might work. National Geographic Aug. 19, 2020.
58 Horovitz B. What Seniors Can Expect as Their New Normal in a Post-Vaccine World. Kaiser Health News Aug. 3, 2020.
59 Farber M. FDA willing to fast-track coronavirus vaccine, agency chief says. Fox Sept. 1 2020.
60 O’Sullivan K. ‘No one is safe until everyone is safe’: Global alliance formed to take on Covid-19. Irish Times Apr. 23, 2020
61 Brueck H. WHO: The coronavirus ‘may never go away’ if clusters of anti-vaxxers oppose a vaccine. Business Insider May 13, 2020.
62 World Health Organization. World experts and funders set priorities for COVID-19 research. WHO Feb. 12, 2020.
63 U.S. 116th Congress. Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (Public Law 116-123). Mar. 6, 2020.
64 Cohen J. The $1B bet: Pharma giant and U.S. government team up in all-out coronavirus vaccine push. Science Magazine Mar. 31, 2020.
65 Less J. These 19 companies are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines – here’s where things stand. MarketWatch Apr. 1, 2020.
66 DiStefano JN. Coronavirus has created a new golden age for vaccines, and Philly is at the heart of it. Philadelphia Inquirer Apr. 3, 2020.
67 Moran N. WHO releases COVID-19 roadmap: funding efforts in progress. BioWorld Mar. 9, 2020.
68 Gates Foundation. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Dedicates Additional Funding to the Novel Coronavirus Response. Feb. 5, 2020.
69 Hamilton IA. Bill Gates is funding new factories for 7 potential coronavirus vaccines, even though it will waste billions of dollars. Business Insider Apr. 3, 2020.
70 Loffredo J, Greenstein M. Why the Bill Gates Global Health Empire Promises More Empire and Less Public Health. The Grey Zone July 8, 2020.
71 Kelland K. Vaccine group plans advance market agreement for COVID-19 vaccines. Thomson Reuters June 3, 2020.
72 CEPI. UK boosts support for CEPI to spur COVID-19 vaccine development. Mar. 26, 2020.
73 Lupkin S. Prices for COVID-19 Vaccines Are Starting to Come Into Focus. NPR Aug. 6, 2020.
74 Weintraub A. COVID-19 vaccine players will split $100B in sales and $40B in profits with Moderna leading the way: analyst. Fierce Pharma Aug. 13, 2020.
75 Manincinelli ME. HHS Grants Broad Liability Immunity against Future Claims Related to COVID-19 Countermeasures. J Health Biomed Law Mar. 22, 2020.
77 Pransky N. Poll: Less than a Third of America Will Rush to Get Coronavirus Vaccine. NBC Apr. 2, 2020.
79 Neergaard L, Fingerhut H. Only half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, AP-NORC poll shows. Associated Press May 27, 2020.
81 Shankleman J. Only 30% of UK Population Would Definitely Take Virus Vaccine. Bloomberg News Aug. 8, 2020.
82 O’Callaghan L. Britons would ‘go to prison before being injected’ as distrust of Covid vaccine grows. Express Aug. 10, 2020.
83 Reynolds E. Vaccines are safe. But huge numbers of people around the world say they wouldn’t take a Covid jab. CNN Aug. 15, 2020.
84 Roberts J. Five things you need to know about mRNA vaccines. Horizon Apr. 1, 2020.
86 Caceres M. A Grade 3 Vaccine Adverse Event is Serious. The Vaccine Reaction July 26, 2020.
87 Howard J, Stracqualursi V. Anthony Fauci warns of ‘anti-science bias’ being a problem in the US. CNN June 19, 2020.
88 CNN. Fauci says there is a “degree of anti-science feeling” in the U.S. Aug. 5, 2020.
89 Milner C. Vaccine officials struggle with public trust Amid Lacking Science. The Epoch Times Apr. 6, 2020.
90 Curl J. Virginia Health Commissioner Says He’ll Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines for All State Residents. The Daily Wire Aug. 24, 2020.
91 TED. Bill Gates on how we must respond to the coronavirus pandemic. You Tube video: 33.46-33.36. Mar. 25, 2020.
92 Klein N. Under Cover of Mass Death, Andrew Cuomo Calls in the Billionaires to Build a High-Tech Dystopia. The Intercept May 8, 2020.
93 Loffredo J, Greenstein M. Why the Bill Gates Global Health Empire Promises More Empire and Less Public Health. The Grey Zone July 8, 2020.
94 Reiss DK, Caplan AL. Considerations in mandating a new COVID-19 vaccine in the USA for children and adults. J Law Biosciences 2020; 7(1).
95 Lederman M, Mehlman MJ, Youngner S. Defeat COVID-19 by requiring vaccination for all. It’s not un-American, it’s patriotic. USA Today Aug. 6, 2020.
96 Danielpour K, Klausner J. Legislature needs an emergency hearing on vaccines – for COVID-19 and the flu. Cal Matters Aug. 26, 2020.
97 Vasudevan L. Skeptical Americans still should get COVID-19 vaccine. It’s the only way to end the pandemic. Miami Herald Aug. 26, 2020.
98 Grossman LS. To put Covid-19 behind us, all Americans should be vaccinated against it. STAT News May 12, 2020.
99 Gander K. Coronavirus Vaccine Would Be Mandatory, Free, in Australia Says PM, As Deal Struck for 25 Million Doses. Newsweek Aug. 19, 2020.
100 Smith WJ. Will We Be Forced to Get COVID Vaccines? The American Spectator May 20, 2020.
101 Salzberg S. We Should Consider Starting Covid-19 Vaccinations Now. Forbes Aug. 2, 2020.
102 Flam F. Give the COVID vaccine to healthy young people first. Bloomberg Aug. 18, 2020.
103 Cohen E. Fauci says Covid-19 vaccine may not get US to herd immunity if too many people refuse to get it. CNN June 28, 2020.
104 Gardner J. Coronavirus vaccines speed ahead, but experts fear not everyone will take them. BioPharmaDive July 23 2020.
105 Kramer J. COVID-19 vaccines could become mandatory. Here’s hot it might work. National Geographic Aug. 19, 2020
106 Smith O. “Merkel must go!” Violent clashes erupt as German police break up huge ‘anti-corona’ rally. Express Aug. 29, 2020.
107 Williams T. Anti-lockdown protesters calling coronavirus a ‘hoax’ gather in London. Metro Aug. 29, 2020.
108 Andrews L. Coronavirus conspiracy marches are held across Europe as Berlin police break up 18,000 marchers for failing to social distance while droves of anti-maskers storm Paris and Copenhagen. Daily Mail Online Aug. 29, 2020.
109 LePage I. Berlin Halts ‘Anti-corona’ Rally As European Cities Protest Masks. International Business Times Aug. 29, 2020.
110 Schlein L. Young Lockdown Generation Suffering Severe Job Losses From COVID-19. Voice of America Aug. 11, 2020.
111 NIH. Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks. Apr. 23, 2020.
112 Zanotti E. Anger Goes Global: Anti-Lockdown Protests Erupt in Canada, France and Germany. The Daily Wire Apr. 26 2020.
113 Breitbart. Police in Australia arrested a pregnant 28-year old woman in front of her partner and two children Wednesday for allegedly planning a coronavirus lockdown protest and promoting it on Facebook. Sept. 3, 2020.
114 Mcphee E. Dozens of arrests as Melbourne’s anti-lockdown protest turns violent with more than 1,000 angry locals defying attempt to cancel event – while demonstrators gather in huge numbers in Byron Bay. MailOnline Sept. 4, 2020.
115 Pearse A. Covid 19 coronavirus: Lockdown protest stops traffic in Whangarei. New Zealand Herald Aug. 13, 2020.
116 Fordham E. Coronavirus lockdown protesters drive through Virginia Capital. Fox Apr 22, 2020.
117 Czachor E. Protesters Gather at Pennsylvania State Capitol in Opposition to Coronavirus Lockdown Measures. Newsweek Apr. 20, 2020.
118 RT. Over 1,000 protesters storm Wisconsin Capitol to Demand end to Lockdown As Every 8th Resident Out of Work. Apr. 24, 2020.
119 O’Reilly A. Defiant Whitmer slams anti-lockdown protests, questions political motives behind demonstrations. Fox May 18, 2020.
120 Zhao C. ‘Liberty Fest’ Protesters Gather at California Capitol Against State’s Coronavirus Lockdown on Memorial Day Weekend. Newsweek May 23, 2020.
121 Bloomberg News. California Lockdown’s Job Losses Spell Trouble for the Nation. Aug. 4 2020.
122 Amadeo K. Current US Unemployment Rate Statistics and News. The Balance Sept. 4, 2020.
123 Ngo M. Small Businesses Are Dying by the Thousands – And No One Is Tracking the Carnage. Bloomberg Aug. 11, 2020.
124 National Consumer Law Center. Covid-19 State Foreclosure Moratoriums. July 8, 2020.
125 Fay B. COVID-19 Bankruptcies. Debt July 15, 2020.
126 CDC. Mental Health, Substance use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, June 24-30, 2020. MMWR Aug. 14, 2020; 69(32): 1049-0157.
127 Laguipo AB. Depression rate in the United States triples during COVID pandemic, research shows. Medical News Sept. 3, 2020.
128 Bacher R. Support Needed as Alcohol and Drug Problems Rise During Pandemic. AARP Aug. 24, 2020.
129 Leslie E, Wilson R. Sheltering in place and domestic violence: Evidence from calls for service during COVID-19. J Public Economics 2020; 189(104241).
130 Moric M. US Divorce Rates Soar During COVID-19 Crisis. Legal Template July 29, 2020.
131 Forgey Q. Fauci: Coronavirus immunity cards for Americans are ‘being discussed.’ Politico Apr. 10, 2020.
132 Allison A. COVID-19 ‘Immunity Passport’ Unites 60 Firms on Self-Sovereign ID Project. Yahoo Finance Apr. 13, 2020.
133 delCastillo M. Apple and Google Admit Ethereum App to Let Employees Prove They’ve Been Vaccinated. Forbes June 16, 2020.
134 Meneguzzi J. Will you need an ‘immunity passport’ to travel? BBC Aug. 31, 2020.
135 Cole JP, Swendiman JS. Mandatory Vaccinations: Precedent and Current Laws. Congressional Research Service May 21, 2014.
136 FL or TX county masking regulation stricter than state
137 Carrega C. Mom plans $10 million lawsuit after arrest for improperly wearing face mask. ABC June 17, 2020.
138 Martin E. Paddleboarder arrested at Malibu Pier for flouting state stay at home order. KTLA Apr. 2, 2020.
139 McCann A. States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions. WalletHub Aug. 11, 2020.
140 Masters K. VA House committee rejects legislation limiting the state’s ability to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine. Virginia Mercury Aug. 26, 2020.
141 Smith JC. The structure, role and procedures of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Vaccine 2010; 28(1): A680A75.
142 Kramer J. COVID-19 vaccines could become mandatory. Here’s how it might work. National Geographic Aug. 19, 2020.
143 Fisher BL. The Moral Right to Conscientious, Philosophical and Personal Belief Exemption to Vaccination. National Vaccine Advisory Committee Presentation May 2, 1997.
144 Fisher BL. Vaccines & Liberty: Let Freedom Ring. National Vaccine Information Center June 29, 2011.
145 Fisher BL. The Vaccine Culture War in America: Are You Ready? NVIC Newsletter Mar. 8, 2015.
146 Fisher BL. Witnessing the Vaccine Injury Epidemic. The Vaccine Injury Epidemic Event, National Mall, Washington, D.C. Nov. 14, 2019.
147 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for Ages 18 or Younger, United States, 2020. Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for ages 19 or older, United States, 2020. Feb. 3, 2020.
148 Fisher BL. The Disappearing Medical Exemption to Vaccination. NVIC Newsletter Sept. 17, 2019.
149 National Vaccine Information Center. Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall.
150 Fisher BL. What’s Old is New: 1996 Vaccine Safety Research Priorities. NVIC Newsletter May 22, 2018.
151 Fisher BL. Witnessing the Vaccine Injury Epidemic. The Vaccine Injury Epidemic Event, National Mall, Washington, D.C. Nov. 14, 2019.
152 Fisher BL. Doctors Denying Vaccine Risks: An American Tragedy. NVIC Newsletter Apr. 21, 2011.
153 Fisher BL. Class and Race Profiling in the Vaccine Culture War. NVIC Newsletter July 14, 2017.
154 Fisher BL. Baylor’s Doc Hotez Bullies Parents of Vaccine Injured Children. May 10, 2018.
By Barbara Loe Fisher
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Fear is a primal biological response to a perceived threat to our survival. Fear triggers momentary paralysis and then a fight or flight reaction before the brain can rationally analyze and calibrate our response to a perceived threat. 1
Right now, people around the world are living in fear of being infected or infecting someone else with a new coronavirus that can kill those most vulnerable without warning. Along with confusion and uncertainty, which prolongs fear, many of us are traumatized by the authoritarian measures governments have taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that began in China in late 2019.
The “new normal” is disorienting, like we have taken a hit to the gut and then to the head that we didn’t see coming. Maybe that is why so many Americans, who value freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy and the right to work, have given those constitutional rights up, without stopping to think through the ramifications of the larger precedent being set.
We are slowly coming out of shock five months after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2 which escalated six weeks later into a social distancing lockdown when the World Health Organization declared a COVID-19 pandemic on March 11. 3
Questions About the Lockdown Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
There are lots of questions being asked now about whether the lockdown response to the new coronavirus has matched the threat, questions like:
- Why did the U.S. fail to immediately screen people at sea ports and airports for illness as soon as the outbreak was identified in China and got worse in February so they could be quarantined and tested? 4 5 6 7 8
- At the beginning of the pandemic, why were Americans told masks were useless and to stop buying and wearing them, when now we are told we must wear masks? 9 10 11 12
- Why were U.S. emergency supply warehouses, which were supposed to be stocked with pandemic preparedness equipment for health care workers, completely empty? 13
- Why were residents of nursing homes and other crowded medical facilities not effectively screened and tested to make sure the sick were not being housed with the healthy? 14 15 16 17
- Why did U.S. public health officials persuade lawmakers to almost immediately lockdown and home quarantine most of our population,18 instead of using traditional disease control measures that identify, quarantine and treat the sick? 19 20 21 22
Opening Up Conversation About Science, Health and Liberty in the U.S.
As we let go of fear and return to rational thinking, it is opening up a public conversation about science, health and liberty that is going viral, despite attempts by Big Pharma and Big Tech working with governments and mainstream media to censor it. 23 24 25 26 27
In the United States of America, we live in a constitutional republic where democratically elected representatives make laws, and state governments are a check and balance on the authority of the federal government. 28
American values and beliefs, which have influenced the adoption of human rights in international law, 29 30 31 32 are embedded in the 1776 Declaration of Independence 33 and codified in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. 34
Americans value autonomy and individuality. We believe each person is a unique and independent individual with an inalienable right to life and liberty. 35
We value the human right to freedom of thought, expression and belief; freedom of conscience and association; and respect for privacy - all civil liberties that limit the power of government. 36
We value equal opportunity for all and mobility within society based on individual initiative and hard work, not on hierarchy, inherited privilege or government permission. 37
We are a pragmatic and adaptable people who value the use of common sense and practical solutions to problem solve, achieve and succeed. 38
We are a generous people and believe that voluntarily helping others by donating our money and time is a personal choice motivated by charity, not by communal expectation or a legal requirement. 39
Above all, we are a self-reliant, optimistic people with an indomitable spirit and faith in our ability to overcome adversity individually and as a nation. 40 41 42
Some of the core values, which have shaped our history and defined who we are as a nation, have been put on trial in 2020 because we are paralyzed by fear of a virus that doctors say could be hiding in the breath of every person who comes near us and contaminate everything we touch. 43 44 Often described in military and apocalyptic terms as a war for human survival against an “invisible enemy,” 45 46 47 48 the authoritarian lockdown approach by governments to the coronavirus pandemic has been framed as a choice between safety and liberty.
In horror, we watched the coronavirus pandemic unfold in February 2020 with Chinese officials either chasing citizens suspected of being infected with the virus into the streets and dragging them away to quarantine camps, or using hammers, nails and blocks of wood to barricade families into their apartments. 49 50 51 52 Then, after scientists and U.S. public health officials used mathematical models to warn lawmakers to lock down the U.S. or prepare for between 1.7 and 2.2 million Americans to die of COVID-19, 53 54 55 we were filled with an uncommon fear and uncertainty that continues to haunt our lives.
The Fear of Entering Public Spaces and Getting Too Close to Each Other
As most states emerge from months of quarantining people in their homes and shuttering businesses,56 many Americans are still afraid to enter a public space because we are warned over and over again that the invisible enemy will kill us if we don’t stay six feet away from each other at all times, even outdoors. 57 Parents have been urged not to hug their children if a member in their family has been exposed to the virus. 58 In one city, government officials told residents to take photos and report fellow citizens who violate social distancing rules by getting too close to each other outside. 59
We see fellow Americans be arrested for not wearing masks, 60 61 or walking on deserted beaches, 62 63 or for taking their children to empty playgrounds. 64 65 Small business owners, who are struggling to feed their families, are being sent to jail for re-opening without government permission. 66 Food banks are running out of food because families, who have never stood in a food bank line in their lives, have no other choice. 67
It doesn’t feel right, but most of us comply with the new rules, afraid to be the one who gets a dirty look or is yelled at or arrested - or worse – if we don’t comply.
COVID-19 Mortality Estimates Far Exceed Reality
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 and CDC officials predicted it could kill 1.7 million Americans, by May 22, there had been 335,000 COVID-19 reported deaths among the world’s seven billion people with about 96,000 of those deaths reported in the U.S.  How the death toll would have been affected if global lockdowns had not taken place to try to slow the infection rate and delay population based herd immunity will be debated for years to come. 
Although the vast majority of COVID-19 infections are thought to be asymptomatic, data shows the estimated symptomatic infection-mortality rate in America is currently at most 1.3 percent. 70 71 72 73 About 90 percent of people who die are over 65 years old, with the majority of those people suffering with one or more chronic poor health conditions like heart or lung disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. 74 More than 80 percent of children who die from COVID-19 also suffer with chronic illness and disabilities like immune suppression, obesity, diabetes, seizures, developmental delays and genetic disorders. 75 76
We all hope to live long and productive lives but nobody escapes death and, for some, it comes sooner than expected. The sudden unexpected death of a person for any reason is a tragedy, especially for that person’s family and friends. The deaths of tens of thousands during this pandemic or any pandemic is a tragedy. The feelings of loss and helplessness are magnified when individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 die alone, separated from their families, denied the comfort of taking their last breath in the company of people they love and who love them. 77
Are We Really All in This Together?
Whether the new coronavirus jumped out of an animal in a Chinese live food market 78 or escaped from a biohazard lab, 79 80 whether the virus kills an estimated one to two percent of those symptomatically infected or far less, 81 this year billions of people around the world have followed the advice of the World Health Organization, government health agencies and doctors, who tell us that this “invisible common enemy” must be vanquished using any means possible because, collectively, “we are all in this together.” 82
Public health officials have persuaded lawmakers to divide the American people into two classes: those who are considered “essential” and allowed to continue working and those who are considered “non-essential” and barred from earning a living. 83 84 85 86 Small businesses and services judged to be “non-essential” have been forced to close their doors, including daycares, schools, churches, restaurants, theaters, barber shops and salons, gyms, parks and beaches while, paradoxically, everyone is free to roam through grocery stores, drug stores and big box stores like Walmart, Target and Home Depot owned by big corporations.
The Mass Suffering Generated by Widespread “Sheltering in Place”
Tens of millions of healthy Americans have obeyed orders to “shelter in place” and self-quarantine at home for months, sacrificing their jobs and losing their savings, 87 88 89 destroying one third of the small businesses middle class citizens have worked a lifetime to build, 90 91 while parts of the travel, 92 93 94 95 96 restaurant, 97 retail 98 99 and personal care industries 100 go bankrupt. By the end of May, there were more than 38 million Americans unemployed, representing almost 24 percent of the labor force, and most of them are low hourly wage earners who don’t have savings to pay the rent or buy food while they are out of work. 101 102 103
So the homeless rate in the U.S. is projected to increase by 45 percent this year, with almost one million people homeless by the summer. 104 At the same time, Congress is driving up the national debt in an attempt to delay the complete collapse of our economy by using taxpayer money to pay people to stay away from each other. 105
Fear of a virus has prevented people sick with heart disease, cancer and other health problems from being treated in hospitals that have been told to only treat patients infected with COVID-19. 106 107 Neglected children and battered women have been trapped for months in homes with their abusers, while calls to mental health hotlines from depressed, anxiety-ridden and suicidal children and adults have increased by nearly 900 percent 108 109 110 111 and, in some cities, prison inmates – even those charged with violent crimes – are being released from jail with the justification they should not be exposed to COVID-19. 112 113
With our children locked out of classrooms and the faithful blocked from worshipping in churches, synagogues and mosques, fear has stopped most of us from publicly questioning the premise that the price of safety is liberty. 114 115 116 117 118 119
Few have challenged the mantra repeated over and over again by doctors and politicians in positions of power that this dystopian reality we are now living in will be the “new normal” 120 until we are all tested and everyone is vaccinated when a COVID-19 vaccine is available because then, and only then, will it be “safe” for government to give back at least some of the liberty that has been taken from us. 121 122 123 124 125
What we have allowed to be done in the name of public health has no parallel in American history or human history.
No Lockdowns for Past Epidemics and Pandemics
The world did not lock down during centuries of epidemics of smallpox, which was a highly contagious virus and had a case fatality rate of 30 percent. 126 Americans did not stop working to prevent epidemics of diphtheria when that contagious disease swept through communities in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with a mortality rate of between 5 and 10 percent that was even higher for children. 127 Societies have not closed businesses and schools to prevent tuberculosis, a contagious disease that spreads the same way as coronavirus and has a case fatality rate still between 20 and 70 percent. 128 129
In 1918, state Governors did not order healthy people to shelter in place and put tens of millions of Americans out of work during the Spanish Flu Pandemic, when that highly contagious H1N1 influenza virus had a case fatality rate of more than 2.5 percent. 130
So why are the majority of people in educated societies like the U.S. cowering in fear before a virus that does not cause any symptoms or complications in the majority of children and adults under the age of 65, and has a mortality rate of about one percent, which is even lower if all the asymptomatic infections are counted? 131
In America, why are we allowing fear to erode cultural values and beliefs that have sustained and defined who we are as a nation for 245 years?
1982: The Challenge to Vaccine Science, Policy, Law and Ethics
The profound ramifications of what is happening this year in the name of public health and the slippery slope that has been created is expanding the conversation about science, health and liberty that has been going on for several centuries in academic, philosophical and political circles, 132 133 134 135 136 137 but didn’t go public in post-World War II America until 1982, when parents of vaccine injured children challenged the science, policy, law and ethics of mandatory vaccination, the most revered of all medical interventions in the history of public health programs. 138
Mothers and fathers, whose children died or were brain inj