Parents and health care professionals filled the Old Supreme Court building in Denver at an Apr. 9, 2014 public hearing of the Colorado Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to testify against a bill (HB1288) to restrict the personal belief exemption to vaccination. The bill is being sponsored by Irene Aguilar (D-District 32) and co-sponsored by Lucia Guzman (D-District 34); Nancy Todd (D-District 28); and Jessie Ulibarri (D-District 21).
Testimony for and against the bill went on for nearly five hours. Just like the Mar. 13 House hearing
, parents opposing the bill outnumbered those speaking in support of the bill. Unlike the House hearing, however, the Senate hearing was not as extensively covered by the media.
Burdening Parents and Judging Personal Beliefs
Colorado resident and NVIC Executive Director Theresa Wrangham testified
at the hearing that the bill is “discriminatory because it burdens those choosing to take vaccine exemptions with higher education requirements than federal law requires for those choosing to vaccinate. “ She added that “Those harmed by vaccination are as important as those harmed by a disease” and that requiring state sponsored education or a doctor’s signature to obtain a personal belief exemption puts “the state or health care provider in the position of approving another citizen’s religious or conscientiously held beliefs.”
Threatening Medical Privacy and Singling Out Parents for Harassment
NVIC Advocacy Director, Dawn Richardson, submitted written testimony
on behalf of NVIC and said the bill “threatens the medical privacy of children and sets them up for harassment by requiring their individual school or daycare to publicly release vaccine exemptions rates upon request.” She pointed out that the small number of parents taking exemptions will make it likely the family will be “singled out, harassed and be discriminated against” and said that this is already happening in California where a similar bill restricting personal belief exemption was passed.
Parents Testifying About Vaccines Injuries and Health Choices
Parents testified that they followed doctors’ orders without questioning and their children suffered vaccine reactions and were left with permanent brain and immune system problems. Ronnie Prine brought his severely vaccine injured adult son to the Capitol in a wheelchair and Kathy Sincere testified that she has four adult vaccine injured children. Robyn Charron, who has a four year old vaccine injured son and wants to protect her two year old daughter from becoming vaccine injured, expressed the concerns of many parents testifying in opposition to the bill. She said, “This moves us toward vaccinations for everyone and eliminating exemptions altogether.”
Health care professionals also testified against the bill, including a doctor of chiropractic with four children. She said, “I Iive in a different paradigm for my family when it comes to their health care.”
Watch a report on the hearing by KDVR-TV.
Colorado residents still have time to contact their elected state representatives and senators and express their concerns about HB1288. Sign up for the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal
and stay informed.
On Apr. 13, 2014, USA Today became the first U.S. national newspaper to call for an end to the personal belief exemption to vaccination in the U.S. and for narrowing of “strictly defined” religious and medical exemptions. In an opposing OpEd, NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher disagreed and said: “Non-medical vaccine exemptions immunize individuals and the community against unsafe, ineffective vaccines and tyranny.”
The OpEds generated a heated online debate among USA Today readers. Within 72 hours, there were more than 15,000 “shares” and 450 comments for the “pro-choice” OpEd and 3,000 “shares “ and 140 comments for the “anti-choice” OpEd. A USA Today reader poll overwhelmingly supported informed consent to vaccination and the freedom to take non-medical vaccine exemptions for religious, philosophical or conscientious beliefs.
Below is a fully referenced version of Barbara Loe Fisher’s OpEd
that appeared in USA Today
on Apr. 13, 2014. To read the USA Today
OpEd, click here
Leave Parents Free to Choose Vaccines
by Barbara Loe Fisher
Apr. 13, 2014
The public conversation about vaccine safety and choice began after Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 shielding drug companies from product liability and doctors from vaccine injury lawsuits.1
Under that law, $3 billion has been paid to the vaccine injured2
while liability-free drug companies enjoy profits from a multi-billion dollar market.3 4
U.S. health officials now recommend 69 doses of 16 vaccines for every child.5
States mandate up to 15 of them - twice as many as 30 years ago.6 7
With 95% of kindergarteners fully vaccinated8
and one child in six in America learning disabled,9
1 in 10 asthmatic10
and 1 in 50 living with autism,11
educated parents and health care professionals are asking legitimate questions about why so many highly vaccinated children are so sick.12
They are examining vaccine science shortfalls13 14 15
and wondering why Americans are coerced and punished for declining to use every government recommended vaccine16
while citizens in Canada, Japan and the European Union are free to make choices.17
Vaccines carry two risks: a risk of harm18
and a risk the vaccine will fail to prevent disease.19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admits that U.S. pertussis outbreaks are not due to a failure to vaccinate but failure of the vaccine to confer long-lasting immunity.20 21
The Institute of Medicine acknowledges major gaps in scientific knowledge about how and why vaccines cause injury and death and who will be more susceptible to suffering harm. 22 23
Vaccine risks are not being shared equally by all because “no exceptions” vaccine mandates discriminate against and penalize those vulnerable to vaccine complications.
Public health officials and pediatricians are not infallible and what is considered scientific “truth” today may not be true tomorrow. When doctors cannot predict ahead of time who will be harmed by a vaccine and cannot guarantee that those who have been vaccinated won’t get infected or transmit infection, the ethical principle of informed consent24
becomes a civil, human and parental right that must be safeguarded in U.S. law.
Non-medical vaccine exemptions immunize individuals and the community against unsafe, ineffective vaccines and tyranny.
Click Here to View References