More Than 100 Bills Proposed in 30 States To Expand, Restrict or Eliminate Vaccine Informed Consent Rights

Posted: 2/17/2019 6:56:28 PM | with 6 comments
washington capitol
Parents and their children line up at a Feb. 8, 2019 legislative hearing in Washington state to oppose a vaccine bill eliminating personal belief exemption.

As of Feb. 18, 2019, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is monitoring more than 100 bills filed in 30 states proposing to expand, restrict or eliminate vaccine informed consent rights. Over President’s Day weekend, the NVIC Advocacy Portal team issued Action Alerts for vaccine bills introduced in the states of Connecticut, Nevada and Florida that threaten voluntary vaccine decision making, and also issued Action Alerts for the states of Oregon and Arizona that expand the ability to make informed voluntary decisions about vaccination. Additional bills may be filed during the next few weeks and more Action Alerts will be sent to registered users of the Portal.

Washington, Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Oregon and Colorado are among the states that have either introduced bills to restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions or there have been confirmed reports that similar legislation is under consideration. However, there are also a number of bills proposing to expand vaccine informed consent rights, including in Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. As of Feb. 18, NVIC has indicated support for 50 of the more than 100 vaccine-related bills introduced so far this legislative session.

Since 1982, NVIC has advocated for voluntary vaccine decision-making in the U.S. and the inclusion of flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions in public health policies and laws. In 2010, the free online communications network, the NVIC Advocacy Portal was launched to inform the public about proposed vaccine-related bills and to email Action Alerts to registered Portal users and put them in direct electronic contact with their own legislators.

NVIC monitors and reports on vaccine-related legislation that affects children and adults living in the U.S., including parents of minor children; foster parents; college students; health care providers and other adults whose lives are impacted by vaccination policies and laws.

Among the vaccine bills that NVIC is tracking this year include ones that propose to:

Compromise Vaccine Informed Consent Rights

  • Mandate use of new vaccines by children and adults;
  • Restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions;
  • Restrict the list of persons who can approve vaccine exemptions
  • Allow vaccine providers to administer HPV and hepatitis B vaccines to minors without parental consent;
  • Allow forced vaccination and medical treatment under certain circumstances;
  • Allow state health officials to mandate all federally recommended vaccines;
  • Mandate that doctors and other vaccine providers track and report the vaccination status of all children and adults in electronic medical records;
  • Require schools to publicly post vaccination rates or vaccine exemption rates;
  • Require a physician signature for a religious or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination;
  • Require school districts to conduct health and safety visits for children under private instruction;
  • Require vaccines for college students based on CDC (ACIP) vaccine recommendations;
  • Require long term care facilities to track vaccination status of employees and residents;
  • Expand the release of information in the state vaccine tracking registry (such as to insurance companies);
  • Mandate vaccines for vendors serving hospitals and other medical facilities;
  • Require all insurance plans to cover all CDC recommended vaccines without copays or deductibles;
  • Allow pharmacists, dentists or optometrists to administer vaccines.

Expand Vaccine Informed Consent Rights

  • Require vaccine administrators to provide certain kinds of vaccine information to adults or parents of minor children before vaccination;
  • Require schools to inform parents of their right to exemptions from vaccine requirements;
  • Expand the list of persons who can approve vaccine exemptions;
  • Require legislature approval for changes to the list of vaccines required for school attendance;
  • Protect employees who refuse vaccination from discipline or discharge;
  • Clarify that refusal to vaccinate or delay vaccines is not child abuse;
  • Allow serologic (blood titer) proof of immunity in lieu of vaccination;
  • Prohibit vaccine mandates for non-communicable diseases;
  • Eliminate the ability of state health officials to mandate all federally recommended vaccines;
  • Establish that it is unlawful for an employer to mandate vaccines for healthcare employees;
  • Require information and notification of vaccines derived from aborted fetal tissue;
  • Prohibit managed care entities from imposing requirements relating to vaccination protocol;
  • Require parental consent before a child in protective custody can be vaccinated;
  • Establish a state database to monitor adverse effects of vaccinations.
washington capitol
Parents and their children demonstrate on the steps of the Washington state Capitol Feb. 8, 2019 in opposition to a vaccine bill that would remove personal belief exemption.

Check the NVIC Advocacy Portal Often

The federal government makes vaccine use recommendations and state governments make vaccine use laws. NVIC primarily focuses on reviewing state bills and making bill updates to the Portal on a daily basis, including creating more detailed background information on bills for Portal users.

Registered users of the NVIC Advocacy Portal are emailed Action Alerts with talking points when there are major calls for action, such as submission of personal testimony or attendance at a legislative hearing in a state Capitol, or the need to immediately contact legislators by phone, fax, email or in-person visits.

Because a bill’s status can change quickly, NVIC Portal users are encouraged to log into the Portal every day to check their own state pages for:

  • Vaccine bill descriptions
  • NVIC’s position (or changes) on the bill;
  • Bill information posted by state legislatures
  • Where the bill is in the legislative process
  • Talking points and NVIC’s recommendations for action

COMMINICATING WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS

NVIC provides information about proposed vaccine legislation to help Americans become educated about vaccine policymaking and participate in the democratic process when laws are proposed that violates the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking or threatens exercise of freedom of thought, speech and conscience when it comes to making vaccine choices. If you want to have input into the public health law making process, you must establish personal relationships with your elected representatives and voice your concerns.

NVIC encourages that positive action be taken to oppose a bill that places any restriction on medical vaccine exemptions or restricts or eliminates personal, religious or conscientious belief vaccine exemptions or compromises the legal right to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccination without being coerced or punished for the decision made. Although emails and faxes are important, personal calls and visits to legislators are even more important. 

Use the NVIC Advocacy Portal to Contact Your Legislator

Contact information for your state representatives and senators can be obtained by becoming a registered user of the free NVIC Advocacy Portal, logging into the Portal and clicking on the “State Teams” tab and then “My State,” where there is a list of elected officials automatically posted on the right hand side of the page.  There is a request for an address when you register for the Portal in order to provide you with personally customized legislator contact information.

Forced vaccination proponents have tried to create an environment in the media and in communities that minimizes the reality of vaccine injuries and deaths. The VAXXED Website,  has thousands of video clips of people in different states sharing their vaccine reaction experiences.  There is a state map on the VAXXED website where visitors can click on a state and view vaccine injury testimonials. These can be shared on social media and with legislators and staff.

Your legislator should also be aware of the suffering of Americans, who are being threatened and punished when they do not comply with physician, school or employer requirements to receive federally recommended vaccines. NVIC’s Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall contains first person descriptions of parents and adult workers who have been coerced and sanctioned for attempting to make voluntary vaccine decisions for themselves or their children.

NVIC’s fully referenced and illustrated Guide to Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law provides an overview summary of the major issues related to vaccine science, policy, law and ethics and is an excellent information resource for legislators.

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NVIC’s “No Forced Vaccination” Message Back Up in Times Square As Americans Fight for Human Rights

Posted: 2/15/2019 6:58:59 PM | with 9 comments
 


By Barbara Loe Fisher

There have been 101 cases of measles that have been reported in 10 states since the beginning of 2019, 1 hardly a public health emergency in a U.S. population of more than 320 million people where 94 percent of school children have received two doses of MMR vaccine and only two percent of children have a vaccine exemption for any reason. 2 In what looks like a repeat of the “measles in Disneyland” media feeding frenzy that stampeded California state legislators into eliminating the personal belief vaccine exemption in 2015, 3 4 the tiny minority of parents who have made a conscious choice not to give their children every one of the dozens of doses of federally recommended and state mandated vaccines are being once again relentlessly stereotyped, demonized and bullied. 5 6 7 8

In what appears to be another well-orchestrated campaign to pressure state legislatures to remove all personal belief vaccine exemptions in the U.S. and further restrict already narrow medical exemptions to vaccination, 9 10 11 12 13 forced vaccination proponents are whipping up irrational fear to justify attacking human rights, including freedom of thought, speech, religious belief and conscience.14 15 16 17 18 19 It is a spectacle unworthy of a nation where human rights 20 and civil liberties have been valued since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution in 1789 21 and the informed consent principle became the anchor for medical ethics after World War II. 222324

During this time of discrimination and oppression, the nonprofit educational charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), is back up in Times Square with NVIC's “Vaccinations: Know the Risks and Failures” and “No Forced Vaccination” animated digital message. Displayed on a giant 56 foot by 29 foot electronic screen in the heart of New York City’s Times Square Plaza at 1500 Broadway (where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve), NVIC’s 10-second spot celebrating the human right to freedom of thought and conscience will be broadcast a minimum of three times per hour for 20 hours per day from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. through April 2019. More than one million people pass through Times Square daily. View the digital ad on NVIC’s referenced Vaccinations: Know the Risks and Failures page on NVIC’s website here.

times square

During the past decade, NVIC has sponsored national vaccine education campaigns to encourage well-informed, voluntary vaccine decisionmaking. In 2011, NVIC sponsored a digital vaccine education billboard in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve 25 and produced a flu prevention video for Delta Airline’s in-flight programming. 26 In 2013, NVIC launched a national vaccine education billboard and ad campaign that featured billboards on highways and buses New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Georgia and Colorado, Vermont and other states. 27 In 2015 and 2016, NVIC’s message advocating for vaccine education and choice was up in Times Square, as well. 28 29

Founded by parents of DPT vaccine injured children in 1982 to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education, NVIC has steadfastly defended respect for the informed consent principle and its protection in vaccine policies and laws because vaccines are pharmaceutical products that carry a risk of injury or death. More than $4 billion has been paid by the government since 1988 to children and adults who have been harmed by FDA licensed and CDC recommended vaccines under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. 30 Some people are biologically more susceptible to suffering vaccine reactions but doctors are unable to reliability predict who will be harmed before vaccination. 31 This fact makes protection of personal belief vaccine exemptions  even more important, as does the fact that Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have shielded vaccine companies and vaccine administrators from liability for vaccine injuries and deaths. 32 33

In a population of more than 320 million people, a few hundred cases of measles is not a public health emergency and should not be used to justify eliminating the legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccination, which is protected by the inclusion of flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions in public health laws. 34 35  

The human right to freedom of thought, speech, religious belief, conscience and informed consent will be preserved if Americans stand up for human rights that protect against tyranny. Only if we elect and support lawmakers who protect human rights will human rights be protected in government policy and law.

Whether it is in the states, on Capitol Hill or in Times Square, our mission continues: No forced vaccination. Not in America.

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U.S. Government Will Focus on Marketing HPV Vaccine in 2019

Posted: 2/10/2019 9:34:01 AM | with 5 comments

Report on Vaccine Related Federal Advisory Committee Activities

By Theresa Wrangham

hpv vaccine

After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approved Merck’s HPV-9 Gardasil vaccine for use in adults age 27 to 45 in 2018, the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is evaluating whether to expand their current HPV vaccine recommendation to include this new age group.

ACIP’s current recommendation is that boys and girls ages 9 through 15 should get two-doses of HPV-9. The “catch-up” vaccine schedule is a three- dose series for females above age 15 through age 27 and males above 15 years of age to 21 years of age, if not previously vaccinated with HPV vaccine.1

CDC to Step Up HPV Vaccine Marketing Strategies

Should ACIP expand their recommendations for use of HPV-9 vaccine in the newly approved age group, the CDC won’t be alone in the push to increase the use of the HPV vaccine by children and adults in the U.S. During the September meeting of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC), a federal advisory committee that makes recommendations to the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO), the HHS Assistant Secretary ADM Brett Giroir M.D. emphasized that HHS supported the NVAC’s HPV vaccine recommendations 2 published in June 2018. Dr. Giroir stated that increasing HPV vaccination in America would be a focus for HHS in 2019.

The federal government’s focus on increasing the use recommendations for the HPV vaccine may result in a renewed effort by state legislators to introduce legislation in many states to mandate HPV vaccine for school entry.

HPV-9 Use in Older Adults Considered by ACIP

dr with calculator

During the October 2018 ACIP meeting, the HPV workgroup presented preliminary information for discussion purposes.  Cost data, though incomplete, showed that increasing use recommendations of the HPV-9 vaccine is not likely to be cost effective. In addition, preliminary data showed that receiving the vaccine would not likely have a significant positive impact on those who may have chronic HPV infections that go on to become HPV associated cancers.3

As this discussion unfolds and finalized data is presented to ACIP during 2019, reportedly a permissive use recommendation is more likely than a routine use recommendation.4 A permissive use recommendation would mean that consumers would be advised of the vaccine’s approval for use in 27 to 45 year olds, while a routine use recommendation would mean that vaccine providers would more strongly recommend use of the vaccine in this older age group.  

Any recommendation by ACIP to expand the use recommendation of the HPV vaccine in this age group will result in providing a liability shield to vaccine providers and require anyone in this age group who is injured by this vaccine to petition the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) for injury compensation.

ACIP may vote on this issue as early as their next meeting in February 2019. However, ACIP’s February agenda has not yet been published. Notably, during  the February 2018 ACIP meeting, the CDC presented data indicating that it may be decades before it is known whether HPV vaccine has impact on HPV associated cancers.5

ACIP Recommends Routine Hepatitis A Vaccination for the Homeless

dr messonnier quote

Votes carried out during October’s ACIP meeting included the passage of a routine recommendation of Hepatitis A vaccine for the homeless to prevent outbreaks in this at risk group;6 and formatting and language clean up of the CDC recommended childhood7 and adult8 vaccine schedules (routine, catch-up and medical indication tables). The CDC’s website will be updated with these vaccine schedules with the goal of making the new schedules clearer to vaccine administrators and the public.

Vaccine Access A Key Factor in Rise in Unvaccinated Children

At the October ACIP meeting, the CDC set forth the latest MMWR reports on childhood vaccine coverage. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) commented on the slight increase in the number of unvaccinated children. Dr. Messonnier stated,

“Parental choice may play some role, but CDC’s data really suggests that many of these parents do want to vaccinate their children, but they may not be able to get vaccines for them. They may face hurdles like not having a health care professional near by, not having time to get their children to a doctor, and thinking that they cannot afford vaccines.”9

New Anthrax Vaccine Likely to be Stockpiled

A presentation was made on the new anthrax vaccine AV7909, which is manufactured by Emergent Biosolutions, and uses the novel CpG 7909 adjuvant. The new adjuvant CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG ODN) is a synthetic oligodeoxynucleotide derived from bacterial DNA that accelerates the pro-inflammatory response of the immune system to stimulate immunity.10 11 This vaccine, once approved, will be stockpiled in the Strategic National Stockpile, to be used in the event of a bioterrorism attack.12 13

Pneumococcal Vaccine May Provide Little Benefit To Seniors

worried man

ACIP is also conducting a routine review of their use recommendation for PVC 13 pneumococcal vaccine in adults. Data was presented suggesting that the vaccine has little direct benefit to seniors. Additional data will be presented during February’s ACIP meeting with a possible vote in February or June that may result in a change to the routine use recommendation of the PCV 13 vaccine in 65+ adults.14

Change in Tetanus Revaccination Considered

Data was presented on the use of Tdap in place of Td vaccine for the 10-year booster vaccination recommended by the CDC.15 It appears a key reason behind this possible substitution has to do with vaccine providers opting to keep little to no Td vaccine supplies on hand. ACIP has formed a workgroup to evaluate a possible change in this policy and will present data and recommendations to ACIP for additional consideration.

Infant Dose of Influenza Vaccine May Change

Sanofi Pasteur presented data on the initial use of a full dose (.5-ml) of the Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine in infants six months of age compared to the current half dose recommended for this age group.16 Additional information will be presented at future ACIP meetings as the committee considers a possible change in recommendations.

CDC Removes Many Pertussis Vaccine Contraindications

105 temp thermometer

The CDC removed four DTaP precautions to receipt of pertussis containing vaccines, including

  • Fever over 105 F within 48 hours following DTaP;
  • Persistent, inconsolable crying lasting more than 3 hours within 48 hours following a dose of DTaP;
  • Collapse or shock-like state within 48 hours following a dose of DTaP;
  • Seizure within 72 hours following a dose of DTaP.

from their Best Practice Guidelines webpage.17 18 The reason provided for this change was that these precautions were associated with the DTP vaccine, which is no longer licensed for use in the U.S. due to its higher reactivity and risk for vaccine injury, and not the DTaP vaccine.

Parents Describe Vaccine Injury and Death During ACIP Public Comment Period

During ACIP’s public comment session, the majority of comments were made by individuals reporting vaccine injuries and deaths and those concerned about lack of informed consent protections in vaccine policies and laws. Health care professionals provided public comments that were critical of data presented to ACIP and of current ACIP vaccine recommendations. Many parents echoed these concerns and shared their heart breaking stories of vaccine injury and death.19 20

Destiny Maynard tearfully shared with the committee the story of her son, Christopher, who died in the summer of 2018 following complications from Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) shortly after receiving an HPV vaccination. She read a statement from her son’s neurologist explaining that cases of ADEM can be triggered by vaccines and that the HPV vaccine, specifically, has been implicated in cases of ADEM within one month of vaccination. The statement concluded that strong consideration must be given to the HPV vaccine causing ADEM, which resulted in the death of Christopher.21

ACCV Requests Funding for More  Special Masters But Ignores Vaccine Safety Gaps

sick girl in wheelchair

On December 6, 2018, The Advisory Committee on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV) met and passed a resolution to request that the Secretary of Health provide additional funding to hire more special masters for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to adjudicate vaccine injury claims in the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP). When the Secretary of HHS opposes awarding compensation, the special masters make determinations about whether plaintiffs will or will not receive an award from the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP). Noting a serious backlog in pending compensation claims, ACCV expressed hope that providing funding for hiring more special masters will accelerate to processing of claims.

The Government Accountability Office published a report in 2014 critical of the length of time it takes to process VICP claims, 22 one of many criticisms of the implementation of the VICP created by Congress in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act.23 The Secretary of Health still has not fulfilled NVIC’s long-standing request for funding of research to address acknowledged vaccine safety science gaps identified in over 25 years of reports issued by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

Vaccine Administrators Get Liability Shield for Causing Shoulder Injuries

According to reports by federal officials during ACCV’s meeting, the leading injury claim in the VICP by adults is shoulder injury (SIRVA) from improperly administered vaccines, followed by Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS) caused by from influenza vaccine. Notably, during the June 4, 2015 meeting of ACCV, HRSA noted that SIRVA was not an adverse reaction to the vaccine itself, rather it was an injury resulting from incorrect administration of the vaccine too high in the shoulder muscle causing shoulder injury. NVIC provided public comment opposing the addition of SIRVA to the Vaccine Injury Table (VIT) due to the fact that this injury is not a vaccine adverse event, rather it is the result of a lack of professional training and/or misadministration by the vaccine provider.24

Despite these comments, ACCV recommended adding SIRVA to the VIT to provide healthcare professionals with a liability shield if they incorrectly administer any routinely recommended childhood vaccine in the shoulder and cause a shoulder injury. SIRVA injuries can range from mild to severe, can cause temporary or permanent injury that limits movement and results in pain from bursitis and tendinitis.25 26

ACCV Considers Survey to Assess VICP Experience and Awareness

ACCV’s process workgroup presented initial discussion results on their review of a survey of petitioners rating their experience with VICP, the outcome of their claim, and how they found out about the VICP. This survey is, in part, the result of the acknowledged lack of public awareness of the VICP and how it might be improved. NVIC has requested that ACCV amend the survey to include questions relating to the satisfaction and adequacy of awards from VICP based on recommendations from federally commissioned reports on VICP.

Upcoming Federal Advisory Committee Meetings.

For more than three decades, NVIC has monitored and reported on federal vaccine advisory committee meetings that shape federal vaccine policy and influence state vaccine laws. These meetings are open to the public and most are streamed live. All meetings allow for public comment and have different requirements on registering to make a public comment.  A selection of NVIC’s previous public comments can be read here. We encourage our supporters to make their voice heard and to voice their concerns to these federal committees. Upcoming committee meetings in 2019 are:

ACIP - February 27-28, 2019, learn more and register here.

ACCV – March 7-8, 2019, learn more and register here.

NVAC – March 25, 2019, learn more and register here.

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