Vermont Parents Fight to Save Philosophical Exemption to Vaccination

Posted: 2/21/2012 12:55:36 PM | with 14 comments

by Barbara Loe Fisher

Informed consent to medical risk taking is a human right.1 You have the right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of pharmaceutical products – like vaccines - and be allowed to make a voluntary choice about whether or to take the risk without being punished for it.
More than $2 billion dollars has been awarded to children and adults in America, who have been seriously injured by vaccines. 2
Vaccine Risks Are Greater For Some Than Others
We are not all the same. People are injured or die from vaccination because vaccine risks are greater for some than others 3 4 5 6 7 and sometimes vaccines fail to work at all. That is a big reason why there are vaccine exemptions in state public health laws for medical, religious and conscientious or philosophical beliefs. 8
Vermont Philosophical Exemption Threatened
But in Vermont – right now – the legal right to take a vaccine exemption for philosophical beliefs is being threatened.
Two Vermont legislators, State Senator Kevin Mullin and State Representative George Till, have joined with the Vermont Health Commissioner, Dr. Harry Chen, to lead a crusade to take away philosophical exemption to vaccination with two bills before the state House and Senate - S. 199 and H. 527.9 10 11 12
Seven-Year Old Kaylynne Dies After Routine Flu Shot
Nicole is a Vermont mother, whose seven year old daughter, Kaylynne, died within 92 hours of a routine flu shot in December 2011. 13
“Kaylynne was very outgoing. She was shy but she made herself known. She loved hugs. She loved every kind of animal. She was always trying to get her Dad to bring animals to take care of and nurture. She loved her brother and sisters. She was Miss Mom to her little sisters. She was Nate’s best friend. They did a lot together outdoors. She was a wild girl. She wasn’t really scared of anything. She was very, very intelligent. She means the world to our family,” said Nicole.
Nicole described what happened the day Kaylynne died.
“She was a healthy seven year old child before her flu shot. She went from being very healthy, nothing wrong with her, to passing away 92 hours later. First, was a headache. Then there was a fever. After the fever, she started getting sick to her stomach, throwing up. And the, she was cold and she had purple blotches on her arms and legs. We rushed her to the doctor’s office. I was in the back seat with her. My mother was driving and she stopped breathing probably less than a mile away from the hospital. If I would have known then what I know now about vaccination, it would have been a whole different story. My daughter would still be here with us.”
More Informed Vaccine Choices Needed, Says Kaylynne’s Mom
Nicole believes that parents should be fully informed and able to make voluntary decisions about vaccination for their children.
“If I would have known the reactions and symptoms of adverse reactions to vaccination, I would have had her seen immediately. If I would have known about the risks and symptoms, I would have been most likely able to save my daughter,” said Nicole. “I feel that Vermonters need to be educated and be able to make their own decisions on whether or not they want to vaccinate their children and pediatricians and physicians, as well, need to be more educated.”
VT Health Commissioner & Pharma Funded Orgs Lobbying Legislators
The Vermont State Health Commissioner agrees. He told one reporter: “Of course, it’s important for parents to understand the risks and benefits, and I have absolute respect for their right to make their own decisions.” 14
Then, why is he joining with medical trade organizations funded by vaccine manufacturers, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, 15 16 17 18 19 and trying to take away the right for Vermont parents to make their own vaccine decisions? 20  Especially when the state of Vermont is rated the Number One healthiest state? 21
Parental Informed Consent Rights Protect Children
If the philosophical exemption to vaccination is removed from Vermont state law, Nicole and parents like Nicole will have no choice.
Kaylynne’s Dad, Justin, said “I feel strongly about protecting my children because, as parents, we should have the right to do the best for our kids.” Nicole added, “If I can’t get a medical signature from a medical physician to do an exemption for philosophical rights, my other children are at risk and that takes my rights as a mother away to protect my children.”
Vaccine Business A Multi-Billion Dollar Business
Today, the federal government recommends that children get 69 doses of 16 vaccines from day of birth to age 18. Most of these vaccines are required for children to attend school in the state of Vermont.
The vaccine business is a multi-billion dollar big business. 22 23 24 There are hundreds of new vaccines being created by drug companies 25 26 27 and most of these new vaccines will be federally recommended for children, like Syphilis Vaccine, 28 Gonorrhea Vaccine, 29 Genital Herpes Vaccine,30 Hepatitis C  Vaccine, 31 E-Coli Vaccine, 32 Salmonella Vaccine, 33 Chlamydia Vaccine, 34 Cytomegalovirus Vaccine; 35 HIV/AIDS Vaccine, 36 Tooth Decay Vaccine; 37 Anti-Smoking Vaccine, 38 Anti-Cocaine Addiction Vaccine; 39 40 Bad Breath Vaccine; 41 Diabetes Vaccine; 42 Asthma Vaccine, 43 Norovirus Vaccine 44 and many, many more.
In the future, the state of Vermont could add 10, 20, 30 or more vaccinations to state public health laws.
Should every vaccine that Big Pharma creates and doctors want legislators to mandate be legally required for all children without parents being informed and allowed to make a voluntary choice?
Vermont Parents Plead for Opposition to Proposed Legislation
Vermont families want options, especially when the risks of vaccination for their child turn out to be 100 percent.
Nicole and Justin are appealing to parents and Vermont legislators.
“Do your research on what is in vaccinations,” said Nicole. “Find out symptoms and reactions and then make your own decision. As of this moment, Vermonters have to fight to protect their right to be able to make their own decisions to protect their children. We are asking for the legislators to please oppose S. 199 and H. 527 to take away our philosophical exemption.”
“We, as Americans, should have our choice,” said Justin.
Fight for Right to Make Voluntary Vaccine Decisions
Help fight for the right to make voluntary decisions about vaccination in Vermont and every state. Go to and take action today.
It’s your health.  Your family.  Your choice.
1 Nir E. Informed Consent. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Fall 2011 Edition.
4 Howson CP, Howe CJ, Fineberg HV, Editors. Adverse Effects of Pertussis & Rubella Vaccines. Institute of Medicine: National Academy Press. 1991. 
5 Stratton KR, Howe CJ, Johnston RB, Editors. Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality. Institute of Medicine: National Academy Press.1994
6 Stratton KR, Howe CJ, Johnston RB, Editors. DPT Vaccine & Chronic Nervous System Dysfunction:  A New Analysis. Institute of Medicine: National Academy Press. 1994
7 Stratton K, Ford A, Rusch E, Clayton EW, editors. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Institute of Medicine: National Academies Press. 2011. Pages 70-78.
9 Vermont State Senate Bill 199. Statement of Purpose: This bill proposes to extend the termination date of the immunization pilot program and remove the exemption from immunization on philosophical grounds.    
10 Vermont State House Bill 527. An Act related to requiring immunizations for attendance at school and childcare facilities.    
13 Cleveland J.H. Medical Examiner Can’t Determine Manner of 7-Year Old’s Death. The Orleans Record. Feb. 21, 2012.  
15 Attkisson S. How Independent Are Vaccine Defenders? CBS News. July 25, 2008.  
16 Orange County Register. CORRECTION re: August 4, 2008 article “Dr. Paul Offit Responds.” April 18, 2011.
17 Center for Science in the Public Interest. Integrity in Science: Non-Profit Organizations Receiving Corporate Funding: American Academy of Pediatrics
18 Clapp R. My Turn: Immunizations: Critical Protection for State’s Families. Burlington Free Press. Feb. 19, 2012.   
19 Center for Science in the Public Interest. Integrity in Science: Non-Profit Organizations Receiving Corporate Funding: March of Dimes.  
21 United Health Foundation. America’s Health Rankings: Vermont.  
22 Reuters. BCC Research Press Release: Global Market for Vaccines Worth $36.3 Billion by 2013. Technologies and Global Markets. Jan. 24, 2008
23  Drug Discovery & Development. Vaccine Market A Refuge for Big Pharma. January 13, 2011
27 Mettens P, Monteyne. Life-Style Vaccines. British Medical Bulletin 2002; 62(1): 175-186.  
28 NewsRx/Vaccine Weekly. Syphilis Vaccine: Antibody Partially Protects Against Syphilis. June 29, 2005.   
29 Progress Made Toward Gonorrhea Vaccines. Drug News. July 19, 2005.    
30 Science Daily. Progress Made Toward a Genital Herpes Vaccine. Jan. 4, 2012.    
31 Medical News Today. Hep C Vaccine Shows Promise in First Trial. Jan. 7, 2012.   
33 Fierce Vaccines. Research Paving Way to Salmonella Vaccine.  Feb. 16, 2012.  
35 Lite J. CMV Vaccine Shows Promise. Scientific American. May 18, 2009.  
36 Robinson HL. Progress Toward An HIV/AIDS Vaccine. The Scientist. May 11, 2011.  
37 Shivakumar KM, Vidya SK, Chandu GN. Dental Caries Vaccine. Indian Journal of Dental Research 2009; 20(1): 99-100.   
38 Anti-Smoking Vaccine from Glaxo. Nov. 17, 2009.  
39 Kensey BM, Kosten TR, Orson FM. Anti-Cocaine Vaccine Development. Expert Rev Vaccines 2010 Sept; 9(9): 1109-14.  
40 Quenqua D. An Addiction Vaccine, Tantalyzingly Close. New York Times. Oct. 3, 2011.   
41 Liu PF, Haake SK et al. A novel vaccine targeting Fusobacterium nucleatum against abscesses and halitosis. Vaccine 209 March 4; 27(10): 1589-1595. 
42 BusinessWire. Prevention Study with Diamyd’s Diabetes Vaccine Fully Recruited. Diamyd Press Release: Jan. 9 2012.  
44 Rettner R. Norovirus Vaccine Showing Promise. Feb. 21, 2012.  

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NVAC Says: Mandate Flu Shots for Health Care Workers

Posted: 2/21/2012 10:32:51 AM | with 0 comments
By Theresa Wrangham, NVIC Executive Director
On Feb. 8, the federal National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) approved strong recommendations for employers of health care workers to mandate annual flu shots as a condition of employment. The Committee justified this action as necessary to "meet" the goals of Healthy People 2020.  The NVAC approved these measures, despite written and oral public comment supporting informed consent and against influenza vaccine mandates for health care workers. The NVAC’s actions failed to recommend exemption requirements for religious and conscientious/personal belief in their report, which will now go to U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health (ASH) for further action.
The NVAC’s report to the ASH also failed to present balanced scientific information on influenza vaccine and omitted vaccine safety reviews, such as the Institutes of Medicine August 2011 report: Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality, and other systematic reviews demonstrating the lack of safety and efficacy[1][2][3] for influenza vaccine. Many committee members stated concern that without vaccine mandates, health care workers risked transmission of influenza to their patients. However, they did not acknowledge that independent, systematic reviews of the medical literature have demonstrated that fears regarding health care worker transmission of Type A an B Influenza are without scientific merit.[4][5]
Currently adult influenza vaccine injury claims are the leading claim in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.[6] In addition to the written public comments submitted by NVIC to the NVAC last month, I stated during last week’s meeting that NVIC is opposed to any influenza vaccine mandate lacking flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions and expressed the need for NVAC to correct the omission of relevant science in their report. The NVAC’s report also failed to guide state vaccine policymakers on potential liability resulting from the report’s recommendations. States will have to address the potential rising unemployment and Workers’ Compensation claims among health care workers, who are fired for noncompliance with influenza vaccine mandates and/or who become vaccine injured when they are forced to get annual flu shots or be fired.
As NVIC’s written and verbal public comments at NVAC made clear, zealous pursuit of the shortsighted Healthy People 2020 goal and a one-size-fits-all vaccination policy undermines not only the informed consent ethic, but has the potential to create staffing shortages in health care. It also has the potential to increase state taxpayer burden by increasing unemployment and Workers’ Compensation claims, as well as increasing state-paid legal costs involved with defending flu shot mandates for health care workers.
Colorado Will Require Flu Shots for Health Care Workers
By Theresa Wrangham, NVIC Executive Director
On Feb. 15, at a meeting of the Colorado Board of Health, the Board passed a rule change that will require some health care workers to receive an annual flu shot. The rule is based on phased-in benchmarks that will ultimately require that 90% of health care workers in identified settings have either proof of vaccination or a qualified medical exemption. Cindy Loveland, NVIC’s State Advocacy Assistant, and I attended the meeting and we gave public comment against the rule change in support of health care workers’ right to exercise informed consent to vaccination through exemptions that allow refusal for medical, religious or conscientious belief reasons.
There was heated public comment from health care workers opposing the proposed rule change as a violation of their civil liberties. The cost analysis for the rule change failed to address potential liabilities resulting from the rule change to the state, health care employers and facilities, including staffing shortages, increased Worker’s Compensation claims for vaccine injury, and increases in unemployment benefits paid out to health care workers fired for refusing to get an annual flu shot. 
The analysis also failed to include reviews of the medical literature for influenza vaccine by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which stated in 2011 that science has not identified all of the pre-existing genetic and biological susceptibilities to vaccine complications and revealed vaccine safety research gaps for influenza  vaccine.[7] Also omitted in the analysis were reviews on influenza vaccine published by the Cochrane Collaboration and studies published in the medical literature, which demonstrate that most influenza vaccine studies are poorly designed and fail to demonstrate the vaccine’s safety and efficacy or that vaccinated care workers are unable to infect their patients with influenza.[8] NVIC's written comments to the Board highlighted these concerns and can be read here.
NVIC asked that these studies be included and considered by the Board and that a requirement be included for employers of health care workers to offer flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions to vaccination for the workers.
The Board passed the rule change in a 7 to 1 vote without including flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions to influenza vaccination for health care workers. Once fully phased-in, if the 90% benchmark is not reached, health care workers in Colorado, who don’t qualify for medical exemption as defined in the rule, can be fired if they refuse to get an annual flu shot.
We will keep NVIC Vaccine E-News readers informed on next steps regarding this rule change on NVIC’s Advocacy Portal

New IOM Committee Examines Vax/Unvax Study Feasibility
On Feb. 9, the Institute of Medicine’s new Committee on Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule held their first public meeting at the Pew Charitable Trust in Washington, D.C.. The IOM Committee, which is chaired by Dr. Ada Sue Hinshaw, is conducting an independent assessment of the feasibility of a study that would evaluate health outcomes in children, who were vaccinated according to the CDC recommended schedule, those using an alternative schedule, and those remaining unvaccinated.
NVIC’s Co-founder & President, Barbara Loe Fisher, was invited to present a public perspective at the meeting. In her heavily referenced presentation, she pointed out that “The public is increasingly distrustful of the one-size-fits-all, universal use approach that is designed to maximize individual vaccine use and increase population coverage.  Federal vaccine policies and state mandates, which fail to acknowledge biodiversity and the fact that we are not all the same and do not all respond the same way to vaccines – just as we do not all respond the same way to prescription drugs – is appropriately viewed by parents as inherently unequal, unsafe and unethical when the risk of vaccine injury or death for their children turns out to be 100 percent.”
She noted that “The significant change in vaccine schedules during the past half century, which has altered the way infants and children immunologically experience their environment, cannot be left off the table when it comes to investigating the unexplained child chronic disease and disability epidemic, an epidemic that is bankrupting families, the health care system and public schools, which can’t build special education classrooms and train special ed teachers fast enough.”
Other presenters at the public meeting were Dr. Bruce Gellin; Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton; Dr. Gary Freed; Dr. Susan Ellenberg; Dr. Robert Nelson; Dr. Melinda Wharton; Dr. Frank DeStefano; Dr. Saad Omer and Dr. Chuck Hackett.  Among those, who attended and offered public comment, were Dr. Vicky Debold, NVIC Director of Patient Safety and Research; Chris Downey, developer and manager of the Vaccine Ingredient Calculator featured on; Eric Uram, SafeMinds Executive Director; and Age of Autism contributors, Jake Crosby and Josh Mazer.
For more information on the Health and Medical Division of the National Academies (formerly IOM) Committee and the Feb. 9 meeting, Click here for latest information on the Committee’s work. 

Upcoming Federal Vaccine Advisory Committee Meetings
Feb. 28-29 - FDA Vaccines & Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC): This FDA committee reviews data about the safety, effectiveness and use of human vaccines and related biological products. At the Feb. 28-29 meeting, the Committee will recommend three influenza strains to be included in the 2012/2013 influenza vaccine; review information on pandemic influenza surveillance; and discuss licensure pathways for pandemic influenza vaccines.  NVIC's volunteer Director of Patient Safety and Research, Vicky Debold, PhD, RN, has served on VRBPAC as the consumer representative since 2008.  For more information on the meeting schedule, how to participate or view the webcast, click here.  
NVIC Working in States to Help Americans Protect Vaccine Choices 
By Theresa Wrangham, NVIC Executive Director
Are you a member of NVIC’s Advocacy Portal? This year promises to be an unprecedented year of attacks on vaccine freedom and every state could end up on the block for change.  However, freedom cannot be defeated easily and NVIC is also helping parents in different states work on legislation that expands vaccine exemptions to protect informed consent rights. We monitor attacks on freedom and support its expansion in all states!
The cornerstone of NVIC’s 30-year mission is to empower consumers to obtain full and accurate information on the risks and benefits associated with vaccines so they can make educated and voluntary vaccination decisions. A one-size-fits-all approach to vaccine policies and laws does not respect our individual biological differences and violates informed consent rights.
NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal keeps users up-to-date on proposed laws that would restrict or expand vaccine choices in the states. Your legislators need to hear your voice when you agree or disagree with vaccine laws proposed in your state. NVIC’s one-of-a-kind online portal puts you in touch with your elected state representatives with the click of a mouse or touch on your SmartPhone. As a Portal user, you get timely Action Alerts and tips on how to communicate effectively with your legislator.
Below are our most current Action Alerts. Act today to protect and expand vaccine freedom in your state by signing up and becoming a user of NVIC’s Advocacy Portal!
OPPOSE bill requiring health professional to sign off on religious and personal exemptions
OPPOSE a flu vaccine mandate for healthcare workers that doesn’t offer religious or personal exemptions
OPPOSE a bill to push HPV vaccine on FL 6th graders
OPPOSE a proposal to spend $250,000 on an HPV Vaccine education program and 2.5 million on vaccines
SUPPORT a bill to expand the Medical Exemption to Mandatory Vaccination
OPPOSE a bill to require health care workers get an annual flu vaccine
SUPPORT a bill to ELIMINATE the HPV Vaccine requirement for school children
OPPOSE a bill to ELIMINATE philosophical exemptions in Vermont
OPPOSE a bill to ELIMINATE philosophical exemptions
SUPPORT a bill to add religious and conscientious belief exemptions for school children in WV
OPPOSE a bill on Meningococcal vaccination – Has Passed Out of Committee and is Heading to Senate Floor

NVIC Making News
Vaccine Speech in Portland Educates Families – More than 400 people from Oregon and Washington state attended a speech by NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher on Feb. 2, 2012 at the Newmark Theater at the Portland Performing Arts Center. The multi-media presentation entitled “Vaccination: The Right to Know & Freedom to Choose” was sponsored by Dr. Jeff Devine, of Devine Chiropractic in Portland.
Fred and MyLynda King and Dr. John Green, who are featured in the film documentary The Greater Good, were in the audience, along with Washington state vaccine safety and informed consent advocates Karl Kanthak and NVIC’s Washington State Advocacy Team Director, Janelle Hall.
More Doctors 'Fire' Vaccine Refusers (Wall Street Journal – Feb. 15, 2012)Pediatricians fed up with parents, who refuse to vaccinate their children out of concern it can cause autism or other problems, increasingly are "firing" such families from their practices, raising questions about a doctor's responsibility to these patients. Pamela Felice said "A doctor should feel obligated to discuss [potential vaccine] risks with any parent who wants to discuss them."  Read More
Some States Weigh Opt-out Laws for Mandatory Immunizations (USA Today - Feb. 15, 2012).  Legislation pending in seven states to widen exemptions for mandatory vaccination requirements for children sparks debate among public health experts and parents. [NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher, was not quoted accurately in this article. She – and NVIC – support the universal human right to informed consent to medical risk taking, including voluntary use of vaccines, independent of scientific research].  Read More…
Flu Shots For Workers In Health Care Setting Approved (CBS 4 Denver – Feb. 15, 2012) The vote was 7-1. The plan would be phased in over a period of 3 years. It will eventually require 90 percent of health workers to get flu shots. “We have to insure that health care workers are treated the same way you and I are, as individuals. They have the same rights you and I do on informed consent. They should have the right to say no,” said National Vaccine Information Center spokeswoman Theresa Wrangham.  Read More…  
More Vaccine News
Responses to UBC vaccine paper a problem for free scientific inquiry and expression. UBC researchers raise questions, experience backlash (Vancouver Courier -  Jan. 30, 2012): These calls to silence critical discussion of a still open scientific question are troubling. Science progresses by investigation, debate and full discussion, not by fiat and censorship. Read more
Oregon Nurses Association Attempts to Change Oregon’s Vaccination Law (The Lund Report – Feb. 1, 2012)The nurses have the support of labor unions and the Oregon Health Care Association, but the hospital association has raised objections. The flu vaccine is widely available this time of year, from doctor’s offices to pharmacies to work places. For most people, it’s a choice, but for health care workers in Oregon and around the country, that choice is becoming increasingly threatened. Read More

A Look At Vermont’s Debate Over the Philosophical Exemption to Vaccination (WAMC Northeast Public Radio – Feb. 9, 2012) - Vermont is one of twenty states that allows a parent to opt out of having their child vaccinated if they do not agree with the idea for any reason. Senate Bill 199 would remove that philosophical exemption. Read More… 


[2] Jefferson T. 2006. Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidenceBritish Medical Journal.
[3] Osterholm M, Kelley N, Sommer A, Belongia E, Efficacy and Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccines: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Early Online Publication, 26 October 2011, doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(11)70295-X
[4] Patrozou, Mermel: Does Influenza Transmission Occur from Asymptomatic Infection or Prior to Symptom Onset?, Public Health Rep. 2009 Mar-Apr; 124(2): 193–196.
[5] Thomas RE, Jefferson T, Lasserson TJ. Influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who work with the elderly. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD005187. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005187.pub3
[6] Minutes – Federal Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV), March 3-4, 2011 
[7] Stratton K, Ford A, Rusch E, Clayton EW, editors. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. National Academies Press: 2011. Pages 351-353: Summary of Epidemiologic Assessments, Mechanistic Assessments, and Causality Conclusions for the Influenza Vaccine.
[8] Ibid endnote 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

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