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On a cold winter morning in November 2007, I watched hundreds of parents line up with their children in front of a Maryland county courthouse. The children had been kicked out of school by state officials and were truant. The mothers and fathers were holding letters threatening them with imprisonment or fines of $50 a day for failing to show proof their children had gotten a chickenpox or hepatitis B shot. 1
Confused, angry and frightened, but mostly resigned, they were working Moms and Dads trudging toward the courthouse on a Saturday morning to face a judge ordering them to vaccinate their children or go to jail.
Patrolling the scene was an armed SWAT team of policemen with dogs.
The U.S. media turned out that day, but they and other members of the public were kept behind barricades and denied access into the building. I was there with my son, who brought his camera. We were there to witness what was going on with parents whose children had been injured by vaccines.
There was no transparency, no public oversight on what was happening to the parents and children inside the building.
I spoke with several mothers leaving the building with their children and learned the sad truth. They were not being asked questions about their child’s medical history or whether the children had experienced health problems after previous vaccinations. No information was given about vaccine side effects or how to monitor their children for signs of vaccine reactions. 2 They were not made aware of exemptions to vaccination.
Clearly, preventing vaccine reactions was not a priority for those in charge that day.
The children were being injected with not just the two new vaccines added to the state’s school requirement list - hepatitis B and chickenpox - but also with other required vaccines if the public school system could find no record. One mother told me her children were up-to-date on their shots but the school system lost the records. She agreed to have her children receive the required vaccines all over again on the spot to avoid being fined or, worse, being sent to jail.
This mother and I were talking hundreds of yards from the front of the Courthouse door. We were standing about 12 inches inside a row of large cement stones that had been put there as a barrier to prevent terrorist attacks.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw an armed guard with a dog emerge from the Courthouse. He was walking straight toward us.
I got this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It was the surge of shock and dread that any citizen of any country in any century has felt when an armed guard with a dog starts advancing.
As if we were criminals or terrorists, he yelled and gestured to us to move behind the stones. I looked at the mother and my son, who was filming our conversation, and we moved without a word.
We were being shown the power of the State wielded by that guard armed with a dog and a gun, just as parents inside the courthouse were being shown the power of the State wielded by doctors with syringes.
U.S. Constitution Protects Freedom To Dissent
When a government policy is unjust and people resist, the last resort is always a show of force. Use of fear, intimidation, discrimination and punishment of dissenting minorities is the hallmark of authoritarian governments and so is censorship and propaganda.
None of these tactics have a place in America, where our Constitution protects civil liberties, including freedom of thought, speech, conscience, religious belief and the right to dissent and petition the government. 3 4 5
Twelve years after I watched a state health department flex its muscle at a county courthouse, this year the whole world is watching the multi-billion dollar vaccine industrial complex flex its muscle in America. 6 7 8 Declaring a “take no prisoners” war on parents who decline to give their children every dose of every government recommended vaccine, the vaccine industry has been emboldened by the lucrative public-private business partnerships that have been forged over the past four decades with governments and the World Health Organization. 9 10
Vaccine Industry Wants Forced Use of All Vaccines by All People
The win that industry is looking for is a complete shut down of the public conversation about health and vaccination followed by a mandate by every government to force every child and adult to use every vaccine that drug companies develop and sell.
For children born in America in 1983, the federal government recommended 23 doses of seven vaccines given between two months and six years old. 11 Today, the child vaccination schedule is 69 doses of 16 vaccines given between the day of birth and age 18, with 50 doses administered before age six, at a current price tag of more than $3,000 per child. 12 13
Child Vaccine Schedule Could Double or Triple in Future
For children born in America in the years to come, that vaccine list and cost could double or triple. The World Health Organization is encouraging drug companies to fast track more than a dozen new “priority” vaccines to market for children, pregnant women and adults - and you can be sure industry will lobby governments to mandate all of them - respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), streptococcus A & B, HIV, herpes simplex virus, gonorrhea, e-coli, shigella, salmonella, tuberculosis, malaria and more. 14
Where is the scientific evidence to support the assumption that forcing everyone to use more and more vaccines to atypically manipulate our immune systems and repeatedly provoke inflammatory responses in our bodies throughout life will produce better health for all? 15 16 17 18 19 20
The Real Public Health Emergency Is Not About Measles
The signs are everywhere that people are trying to throw off the chains binding them to failed medical and public health policies that cost Americans more than three trillion dollars a year in health care costs. 21 Americans are beginning to understand that trusting blindly and saluting doctors smartly for the past 40 years has not prevented 1 child in 6 from becoming learning disabled, 22 23 or 1 in 9 from suffering with asthma, 24 or 1 in 10 from struggling with mental and behavior disorders 25 or 1 in 40 from developing autism. 26
America now has the worst infant mortality rates, 27 28 and worst maternal mortality rates, 29 30 and worst life expectancy 31 32 of all developed nations. Highly vaccinated and medicated Americans are very sick, with millions of children and adults suffering with immune and brain dysfunction marked by chronic inflammation in their brains and bodies 33 34 that confines too many of them to special education classrooms and frequent trips to doctors’ offices to try to deal with a lifetime of chronic illness and disability. 35 36
No public health official, professor or legislator in America can explain why millions and millions of children and more than 1 in 2 adults are chronically ill or disabled. 37
This is the real public health emergency that mothers and fathers want to talk about, but Congress and medical trade groups do not want to talk about. This is the elephant in the room at every public hearing on bills proposing to take away or expand vaccine informed consent rights being held in state legislatures today.
No Exception Vaccine Laws Guarantee Denial of Vaccine Casualties
The pharmaceutical industry, which was handed a partial liability shield from vaccine injury lawsuits by the U.S. Congress in 1986 38 that was turned into a total liability shield by the Supreme Court in 2011,39 40 41 is fighting to keep an economic stranglehold on a crumbling U.S. health care system. 42 43 44 45 With the government having paid vaccine victims more than $4 billion dollars in federal vaccine injury compensation since 1988 under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, 46 47 pharmaceutical corporations do not want to give up the no-risk, stable income stream they get from selling mandated vaccines. 48
“No exception” vaccine laws guarantee that the good vaccine science will never be done so vaccine casualties can continue to be swept under the rug by denying they exist, 49 50 51 52 53 and nobody has to care about the crippled and dead bodies lying on the ground except the mothers and fathers grieving endlessly for what could have been. 54
Today, everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again. 55 56 This inconvenient truth is why the vaccine industry must find a way to shut down all public conversation about vaccination and eliminate all vaccine exemptions - and do it now.
Vaccine Risks Not Being Shared Equally By All
In January 2019, the World Health Organization announced that “vaccine hesitant” people, especially parents, are one of the top 10 threats to global health. 57 This ominous warning was quickly followed by the declaration of a state of emergency in Washington after a handful of measles cases were confirmed in primarily unvaccinated children. 58 Immediately, the media shifted into overdrive just like in January 2015 when measles cases were reported in Disneyland and the California legislature quickly removed the personal belief vaccine exemption for school children, 59 60 61 despite the biggest public protests the state Capitol had seen since the Viet Nam War.
In the first two months of 2019, we have watched thousands of brave parents and health care professionals travel to state Capitols and line up with their children at public hearings in Washington, 62 63 Arizona, 64 Nevada, 65 Oregon 66 and on Capitol Hill. 67 They are taking time off their jobs and spending their own money to make the journey to beg lawmakers to protect the legal right for children to get a school education and for parents to exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccine risk taking for their minor children. 68
With almost no vaccine contraindications today that qualify for a medical exemption under narrow CDC guidelines, 69 70 vaccine risks are not being shared equally by all. One-size-fits-all vaccine laws place an unequal risk burden on, and discriminate against, a vulnerable minority of children, who have genetic, biological and environmental susceptibility to suffering vaccine reactions. 71 72 73 74
Why are the lives of vaccine vulnerable children, who public health officials do not want to acknowledge, valued less than the lives of immune compromised children they will acknowledge?
Calls for Forced Vaccination and Censorship
Since 2015, no state legislature has removed a vaccine exemption. 75 76 This year, while 11 states are proposing to restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions, NVIC is supporting 61 bills that expand exemptions or protect vaccine informed consent rights (as of Mar.1, 2019), the largest number of bills we have ever supported in a legislative session. 77
This pushback against forced vaccination is being met with fury by doctors and lawyers inside and outside of government and by multi-media corporations demanding that parental rights and vaccine exemptions be stripped from state laws and that all information criticizing government vaccine policy be removed from the web. 78 79 80
In the past few weeks, high ranking federal health officials have made false statements in Congress in an effort to mislead lawmakers into believing childhood vaccines like MMR do not carry serious risks. 81
The Chair of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee has pressured Facebook to block conversations about vaccination and Amazon to censor books and videos containing information about vaccine risks and failures. 85 86 87
Amazon immediately bowed to that government pressure and removed the movie Vaxxed from Amazon Prime and similar videos critical of vaccine safety. 88 However, CNN is urging Amazon to go further and burn all the books, too. 89 90
A Washington DC lawmaker reacted to the hype by asking, “What if you take parents out of the equation?” and introduced a bill to allow minor children of any age to get vaccines in the city without a parent’s knowledge or consent after a doctor says the child is “mature” enough to make the decision. 91
What is the justification for burning the books and clearing the way for doctors to persuade very young children to get vaccinated without their parents’ knowledge or consent?
The media would have you believe that calls for censorship and the elimination of state vaccine exemptions and parental rights is based on 206 reported cases of measles identified in 11 states between January and March in our population of 328 million people. According to the CDC, “three or more cases” of measles is considered to be an “outbreak.” 92
All the blame for measles outbreaks is being put on parents of the less than two percent of unvaccinated children attending U.S. schools, where nearly 95 percent of children nationwide have received two doses of measles containing MMR vaccine. 93
Aside from the illogical premise that children only catch measles or other infections in school buildings, is the call for censorship and “no exceptions” vaccine laws only about a few hundred cases of measles?
I don’t think so.
The Human Right to Autonomy Limits the Power of the State
The demonization of parents and enlightened doctors, who criticize vaccine science and government policy, is the tip of the spear in a larger culture war going on in this and other countries where economically stable, well educated populations are beginning to understand they are being exploited by corporations that have made business deals with governments. 94 95 96 97 98
The culture wars in the 21st century are about whether the first human right, individual autonomy, 99 will survive or an authoritarian State will own our children and have the power to eliminate civil liberties and sacrifice the lives of certain people for what those in control of the State consider the greater good of society. 100
The human right to autonomy protects individuals and vulnerable minorities from being discriminated against and exploited by the State. Who has the moral right, or should have the legal authority, to demand that mothers and fathers violate their conscience and risk their children’s lives or face punishment for refusing to do it?
What kind of government policy demands that kind of involuntary sacrifice?
And what kind of government demands that information about the risks and failures of a liability free pharmaceutical product be censored and withheld from the people being forced to use it?
There is no more important freedom than the freedom to decide when and for what reason you are willing to risk your life or your child’s life. We give up the human right to autonomy at our peril, no matter where or in what century we live.
The outcome of the Vaccine Culture War will determine what it means to be free. 101 Because if the State can tag, track down and force individuals against their will to be injected with biologicals of known and unknown toxicity today, then there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the State can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.
Martin Niemoller prophetically warned that incremental oppression by those in control of an authoritarian State is facilitated by denial, apathy and fear. He said, "In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up." 102
Americans, this is our moment to help determine the outcome of a very real culture war that threatens to destroy long held values and beliefs that are embodied in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution to protect us from tyranny. The Bill of Rights affirms that we have God given natural rights, known today as civil liberties or human rights, which belong to each one of us and should never be taken away for any reason.
You Will Make the Choice
You and you alone will make the choice to live free or die as a slave. Do not let anyone take away your freedom to think and speak and obey the certain judgment of your conscience.
Use the NVIC Advocacy Portal to contact your state and federal legislators. Defend freedom and educate your family, friends and leaders in your community. Go to NVIC.org and sign up for our newsletter, so that no matter what happens in the weeks and months to come, you will not lose contact with us.
Be the one who never has to regret that you did not do today what you could have done to change tomorrow.
It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
And our mission continues: No forced vaccination. Not in America.
Note: This commentary provides referenced information and perspective on a topic related to vaccine science, policy, law or ethics being discussed in public forums and by U.S. lawmakers. The websites of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provide information and perspective of federal agencies responsible for vaccine research, development, regulation and policymaking.
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8 Belluz J. Pinterest, Facebook and You Tube are cracking down on fake vaccine news. Vox Mar. 1, 2019.
9 The Vaccine Reaction. How NIH Uses U.S. Tax Dollars to Secure Profits for Vaccine Developers and Manufacturers. May 2, 2018.
10 Fisher BL. WHO, Pharma, Gates & Government: Who’s Calling the Shots? NVIC Newsletter Jan. 27, 2019.
12 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger, United States, 2019. Feb. 5, 2019.
14 World Health Organization. WHO Product Development for Vaccines Advisory Committee (PDVAC) meeting. June 26-27, 2018.
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22 Boyle CA, Boulet S et al. Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children 1997-2000.Pediatrics May 23, 2011.
25 CDC. Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health. Dec. 20, 2018.
26 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. HRSA led study estimates 1 in 40 U.S. children has diagnosed autism. Nov. 26, 2018.
27 CDC. International Comparisons of Infant Mortality and Related Factors: United States and Europe, 2010. National Vital Statistics Report Sept. 24, 2014; 63(5).
29 Martin N, Montagne R. U.S. Has the Worst Rate of Maternal Deaths in the Developed World. National Public Radio May 12, 2017.
31 Donnelly G. Here’s Why Life Expectancy Dropped Again in the U.S. This Year. Fortune Magazine Feb. 9, 2018.
33 Libby P. Inflammatory mechanisms: the molecular basis of inflammation and disease. Nutr Rev 2007; 65(12 Pt2): S140-146.
38 National Vaccine Information Center. NVIC Position Statement on National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. May 2018.
39 Supreme Court of the United States. Bruesewitz v. Wyeth No. 09-152. Justice Sotomayor with whom Justice Ginsberg joins, dissenting Feb. 22, 2011.
40 National Vaccine Information Center. National Vaccine Information Center Cites “Betrayal” of Consumers by U.S. Supreme Court Giving Total Liability Shield to Big Pharma. Business Wire Feb. 23, 2011.
41 Fisher BL, Williams K, Wrangham TK. NVIC response to an inquiry from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the implementation of the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) after passage of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. National Vaccine Information Center July 11, 2014.
42 Irving P. Chronic Conditions in America: Price and Prevalence. RAND Corp. July 12, 2017.
43 Sawyer B, Cox C. How does health care spending in the U.S. compare to other countries? Kaiser Family Foundation Dec. 7, 2018.
44 Hilzik M. The 21st Century Cures Act: A huge handout to the drug industry disguised as a pro-research bounty. Los Angeles Times Dec. 5, 2016.
45 Parpia R. Big Pharma Pays Universities for Most Medical Research in the U.S. Today. The Vaccine Reaction Apr. 15, 2018.
46 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Vaccine Injury Compensation Data from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Mar. 1, 2019.
47 Fisher BL. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Failed Experiment in Tort Reform? Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines Nov. 18, 2008.
48 LaVigne P. Global Vaccines Market Projected to Surge to $58 Billion by 2025. The Vaccine Reaction Jan. 3, 2019.
49 Fisher BL. What’s Old Is New: Vaccine Safety Concerns of Parents in 1996 (presented to Institute of Medicine). NVIC Newsletter May 22, 2018.
51 Fisher BL. Public Perspective on Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Federal Childhood Immunization Schedule. Institute of Medicine Feb. 9, 2012.
52 National Vaccine Information Center. NVIC Supports Three of Five Recommendations of New IOM Report on US Childhood Immunization Schedule and Calls for Transparency. Business Wire Jan. 16, 2013.
53 Informed Consent Action Network. Letter to Secretary of HHS and National Vaccine Program Office on Vaccine Safety Responsibilities under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. Dec. 18, 2018.
58 Gstalger MM. Washington declare public health emergency as measles hits anti-vaccination community. The Hill Jan. 23, 2019.
59 Fisher BL. Measles in Disneyland: Third MMR Shot and Vaccine Exemption Ban? NVIC Newsletter Jan. 28, 2015.
60 Parpia R. Pharma Cash Raises Question of Undue Influence on SB277. The Vaccine Reaction July 9, 2015.
61 Richardson D. The Fallout from California SB277: What Happens Next? NVIC Newsletter Aug. 5, 2015.
62 Evans C. Hundreds rally to preserve right not to vaccinate children amid measles outbreak. CBS News Feb. 8, 2019.
63 LaCorte R. Washington Lawmakers Weigh 2 Vaccine Exemption Bills. Associated Press/US News & World Report Feb. 20, 2019.
64 Fischer H. Bills that critics fear would lead to dip in vaccinations advance. Arizona Capitol Times Feb. 21, 2019.
65 Solis J. ‘Vaccine hesitancy’ hindering Nevada’s response to outbreaks. Nevada Current Feb. 20, 2019.
66 Visser A. Controversial Vaccine Bill Draws Crowd, Slurs and Tears at Hearing. The Lund Report Feb. 28, 2019.
67 Sun L. Senate panel warns of dangers of anti-vaccine movement. Washington Post/Stars & Stripes Mar. 5, 2019.
68 Bennett L. Senate vaccine hearings spark anti-vaccine protest in Utah. Deseret News Mar. 5, 2019.
69 CDC. Recommendations and Guidelines of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP): Contraindications and Precautions. Table 4-2. Conditions incorrectly perceived as contraindications or precautions to vaccination (i.e., vaccines may be given under these conditions). Jan. 10, 2019.
70 Rubin LG, Levin MJ, Lyungman P et al. 2013 Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Clinical Practice Guideline for Vaccination of the Immunocompromised Host. Clin Infect Dis Dec. 4, 2013; 58(3).
71 Crowe JE. Genetic predisposition for adverse events after vaccination. J Infect Dis 2007; 196(2): 176-177.
72 Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality: Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events (p. 57-102), Increased Susceptibility (p. 82). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.
73 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. Summary: Health Outcomes (p. 5-6) and Conclusions About Scientific Findings (p. 11) and Review of Scientific Findings (p. 75-98). The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies; Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 2013.
77 National Vaccine Information Center. Public Hearings on Measles Outbreaks and Vaccine Laws Provide Opportunities for Americans to Voice Concerns. Business Wire Feb. 25, 2019.
78 Einbinder N. As more parents join the anti-vax movement, states are scrambling to make it harder to opt out of vaccinating your child. Insider Feb. 28, 2019.
79 Simmons T. Faith is no excuse for skipping vaccines, says med school professor. Religion News Feb. 28, 2019.
80 Colliver V. State lawmakers pushing for laxer vaccine rules despite measles outbreaks. Politico Mar. 3, 2019.
81 Fisher BL. Dr. Fauci, It’s Not Nice to Fool Congress About Vaccine Reactions. The Vaccine Reaction Feb. 28, 2019.
82 O’Reilly ED. Measles outbreak is bringing vaccine exemptions into spotlight. Axios Feb. 14, 2019.
83 Hoyt R, Pittman T. Health officials reacts to FDA chief comment on vaccine exemptions. THV 11 Feb. 22, 2019.
84 Parmet W. Gottlieb’s threat of federal vaccine mandates: questionable legality, poor policy. Stat News Feb. 28, 2019.
85 Congressman Adam Schiff News Release. Schiff Sends Letter to Google, Facebook Regarding Anti-Vaccine Misinformation. Feb. 14, 2019.
86 Congressman Adam Schiff News Release. Schiff Sends Letter to Amazon CEO Regarding Anti-Vaccine Misinformation. Mar. 1, 2019.
88 O’Donovan C. You Can No Longer Stream Anti-Vax Documentaries on Amazon Prime. Buzz Feed Mar. 1, 2019.
89 Sarlin J. Anti-vaccine movies disappear from Amazon after CNN Business Report. CNN Mar. 1, 2019.
90 O’Kane C. Amazon removes books promoting autism “cures” and vaccine misinformation. CBS News Mar. 13, 2019
91 Austermuhle M. Vaccines for Kids? New DC Bill Would Allow Minors to Get Shots Without Parental Consent. WAMU 9 Mar. 6, 2019.
93 CDC. Vaccination Coverage for Selected Vaccines and Exemption Rates Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2017–18 School Year. MMWR Oct. 12, 2018; 67(4)): 1115-1122.
96 Fisher BL. Here Comes the 21st Century Cures At: Say Goodbye to Vaccine Safety Science. NVIC Newsletter July 21, 2015.
97 Drug Companies Pay FDA and NIH to Fast Track and Market Vaccines. The Vaccine Reaction Sept. 28, 2018.
98 National Vaccine Advisory Committee. Strengthening the Effectiveness of State, and Local Efforts to Improve HPV Vaccine Coverage in the United States: Recommendations of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee. Public Health Reports Aug. 9, 2018.
100 Fisher BL. Forced Vaccination: The Tragic Legacy of Jacobson v. Massachusetts. NVIC Newsletter Nov. 2, 2016.
101 Fisher BL. The Vaccine Culture War in America: Are You Ready? NVIC Newsletter Mar. 8, 2019.
102 Martin Niemoller, German Theologian and Lutheran Pastor. New World Encyclopedia Aug. 24, 2018.
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