Thank you, HairyArmpits! Awesome work!
VT: bill to ban philosophical exemption for vaccines - Page 2
...and here it is, Bill H.527:
Hi all! At our first holistic mom's group on this coming Saturday evening in South Burlington, we will now have a chiropractor who will speak briefly on the bill to ban the philosophical vaccine exemption in Vermont. She is leading the effort to stop this bill, and wants to speak at our dinner. If you are interested in attending, please email me directly! Thanks! Valerie
Just to be clear, the group that is forming here near Burlington for holistic moms is not a HMN chapter. Not to say that it might not turn into that, if that is the direction we decide to head into, but for now we are just getting parents together and getting a sense of where this will go! I still need to research HMN and see what it has to offer, what is involved. Also, please let me know if you want to attend via direct email or pm as we have a reservation for the dinner and I need specific numbers. Thanks so much!!! Valerie
[Dr. Curtis Gross of Middlebury ChiropracticsHi. I am writing to tell you about a very controversial issue that has recently come to the forefront. Vaccinations. Although there has always been misunderstandings and controversy about them, it is right now coming to a head. Bill S199 has been introduced which will eliminate parental discretion. In other words, every child will get every vaccine. There will no longer be any choice. My perspective is that parents should be able to make an informed choice, just like giving your child a medication or deciding not to. I testified to the senate health and welfare committee yesterday and showed them an excellent PowerPoint presentation. It stimulated a lot of questions and I believe made somewhat of an impression.I am scheduled to give this PowerPoint presentation at Ilsley library tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 7:00. If this is an area that interests you in any way, you might want to be there. This is not an issue I will be pursuing or presenting much in the future. It is relevant right now and if you want this information before your senators vote on the bill (very soon), the time is tomorrow evening at 7:00. The presentation will focus on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccinations and you will hear some things that will probably shock you. In the end, I am not asking anyone to eliminate any vaccinations, but informing people about behind the scenes information that you have not had available to you before. If you know people with small children who might be interested, feel free to pass this on them.Hope to see you there,Curt
Hello concerned mothers - It is not a surprise to learn that Senator Mullin, who drafted this bill, has been supported with campaign $ over the years from vaccine manufacturers including Glaxo, Astra Zeneca and Merck (pharma is his 3rd leading contributor). No matter where you stand on vaccines, we must not ignore that vaccines are a $20 billion market and the industry has been indemnified from safety concerns. Unless it is "B Corp" the company is in it to make a profit, period. It all ties into today's debate on money in politics, only now it is closer to home. Thankfully, others on the committee seem to be relatively "unspoilt"... for now...
Some have painted parents who choose not to vaccinate as lazy. This is not the case. I think you will find that those who choose not to vaccinate are highly educated. Our family's decision to not vaccinate our children was an intensely personal and educated one, based upon thorough consideration of all available facts – forced originally by our son’s terrifying “adverse reaction” to his vaccine at 2.5 months old.
Hi Valerie - I am not on that board but feel free to send me a link or to quote me. There a bills in both the house and the senate right now, so we should all do our part if we can!
House bill is H.527 and senate bill is S.199. http://NVICAdvocacy.org is a good place to get updates and email addresses too!
thanks... it is nice to know there are so many others who are concerned. I was lucky to have been alerted by a friend on fb about the senate bill. Then I found this list-serve and the info you have all shared this week have helped me greatly. :-)
It took all day for me to compose letters!
But this topic means a lot to me. I am sharing sample letters (already sent mine) for caring mommas who want to do something but have limited time - I hope they help!
**SAMPLE SENATE S.199 Opposition letter
To: Secayer@leg.state.vt.us, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dear Senators Ayer, Mullin, Pollina, Fox, Miller, Cummings and Doyle; and Rep. Greshin,
As a concerned Vermont resident, I am writing this letter in strong opposition of the proposal to remove the philosophical exemption from the Vermont State vaccination regulations. Vermont currently recognizes that individuals have the right to carefully weigh the benefits vs. risks of vaccinating our children. I respectfully request that the Vermont law remain intact with regards to the medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions.
While I would like to believe that each of you has the best interests of Vermonters at heart as you pursue discussion on this bill, it has come to my attention that Senator Mullin, who drafted this bill, has been supported with campaign $ over the years from vaccine manufacturers including Glaxo, Astra Zeneca and Merck1. None of us should ignore that vaccines are a (growing and profitable) $20 billion market2 and that the industry, driven by profit motive alone, has been indemnified from safety concerns3.
Since this bill calls into question individual rights and liberties to choose, it is alarming that this bill may have been influenced by corporate money. I urge you to consider the repercussions of supporting such a bill.
Some on the pro-vaccine side have painted parents who choose not to vaccinate as lazy. This is not the case. I think you will find that those who choose not to vaccinate are highly educated. I can ensure you that any decision we make not vaccinate our children will be based upon thorough consideration of all available facts. I firmly believe that the decision to inject is a personal choice. Those worried about epidemics can of course choose to vaccinate. Thank you for your time and consideration.
**SAMPLE HOUSE H.527 Opposition Letter
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
As a concerned Vermont resident, I am writing this letter in strong opposition of H.527, which proposes to remove the philosophical exemption from the Vermont State vaccination regulations. Vermont currently recognizes that individuals have the right to carefully weigh the benefits vs. risks of vaccinating our children. I respectfully request that the Vermont law remain intact with regards to the medical, religious, or philosophical exemptions.
Beyond the limitation of personal freedoms that vaccine mandates impose upon citizens, a state-supported mandate must also consider who will be held responsible when things go wrong. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court said that pharmaceutical corporations have no liability even if they could have made a safer vaccine1. This is no doubt a joy for the pharmaceutical companies, which estimate their sales potential to be $20 billion2 and who spent $235 million last year alone to try to influence our lawmakers’ decisions3.
It may seem that this bill will help to “stop unnecessary illness and epidemics.” But if a vaccine is effective, then those who choose to use vaccinations will have nothing to fear from those who decide not to inject their children. Some on the pro-vaccine side have painted parents who choose not to vaccinate as lazy. This is not the case. I think you will find that those who choose not to vaccinate are highly educated. Our family's decision to not vaccinate our children was an intensely personal and educated one, based upon thorough consideration of all available facts.
I urge you to reject support for H.527. Thank you for you time and thought on this matter.
I too received the same response from Senator Pollina, and asked him for further clarification; he wrote back,
"Hi I think keeping the exemptions and having an educational campaign for those who need it might be a better strategy,
so have been talking to others about that."
Which sounds promising, as long as Glaxo, et al are not footing the bill for such an "educational campaign."
I also heard back from Rep. Jim Eckert, who said that he would not be supporting the bill,
and Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, who said,
"Thank you for sharing your concerns. If the House Health Care Committee
takes the bill up, they will hear testimony from all sides of the
argument. I believe Rep. Till's bill removes the 'philosophical'
exemption but the medical exemption remains in place. Rep. Till is a
physician and is aware that there is growing concern by the pediatric
community about some very serious childhood illnesses that are causing
issues in our schools. There is no mandate to have immunizations unless
you attend public school - parents of kids in private schools or who
are home-schooled could still exercise their philosophical preference."
In another email she went on to say,
"My understanding is that we have had recent outbreaks of pertussis in
our schools which, although not lethal in healthy individuals, can cause
serious problems for children with impaired immune systems. Children
who have medical reasons not to be immunized are at much higher risk of
exposure to these potentially lethal diseases when they are in school
with children who have not been immunized by choice and who may be
carriers. The larger the non-immunized population, the more you will
see the disease.
I know that this is one side of the argument and like I said in my
original response, the committee will hear all sides of the argument.
I certainly can be convinced that we should leave the exemption in place
if there is a very good medical/health reason to do so."
I ran into Anthony yesterday and got a quick sense of what's going on.
He said that it is hard to tell what other committee members are thinking, but that he has received a lot of mail on this issue (my sense was that much of it was from parents).
He and the chair (Ayers) are inclined not to pass the bill in this form, but are thinking about ways to make sure that parents are truly educated on this issue -- perhaps getting some reading material, perhaps having to fill out an additional form and send it in, perhaps having to file yearly. I personally don't have a problem with that, as long as it leaves the philosophical exemption in place.
Does anyone have a sense of what other states do that might be a good model along these lines? I used to work in the state house and know that they get most of their ideas from lobbyists and occasionally citizens (they don't have a research staff). If we can propose something, they might not do it exactly, but it would help shape the discussion. I'd be happy to send it on to Anthony since we already have a dialogue going.
Also, a friend of mine got a really really smart debriefing off the similar battle in Washington state (which parents lost) -- some thoughts about how to frame the discussion. I don't feel comfortable sharing it here (mothering discussions are online searchable) but feel free to PM me.
there is a hearing on bill S.199 on Friday at 11am - Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. Here is the link with their agenda for the week.
This is from NVIC and is chock full of helpful info for those heading to the statehouse on Friday morning:
OK, n/m... linking didn't work, so I will c&p...
There are charts that I'm not sure will c&p correctly, but all the info is here:
Dear Vermont NVIC Advocacy Team Members,
Your rights to make informed independent vaccination choices for your family are under attack by forced vaccination proponents in the Vermont Legislature. We need your timely help to contact legislators to oppose these actions.The Senate Health and Welfare committee is holding a public hearing this Friday February 3rd at 11:00 am on S199 which is attempting to remove the philosophical exemption to mandated vaccines in the state of Vermont. H527 is another bill filed to also try to remove the philosophical exemption, and it is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Health Care.We are counting on the families and health care practitioners in Vermont who want to preserve the right of informed consent to vaccination which includes the legally protected right to delay or decline vaccines to work hard to help fight these two bills. We are asking you to please take the following steps to fight these bills:
1) Contact members of the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare and ask them to oppose S199. Explain why this exemption is important to your family and why the state should offer it.
Senator Claire Ayer802firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Kevin Mullin email@example.com
Senator Anthony Pollina802-229-5809 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Sally Fox802email@example.com
Senator Hinda Miller802firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Please consider attending the Senate Health and Welfare Committee hearing on S199 and offering short testimony against it this Friday, February 3rd at 11:00 am in the Senate Chamber.
3) Also contact your state senator and state representative and ask them to oppose S 199 and H527. If you log in to the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and view this alert on the Vermont state page, we will automatically lookup who your legislators are and display them to the right of this alert. You can click on their names to open up their contact information. This free confidential service requires your registration and login in order for us to be able to calculate who you legislators are.
4) Send this to as many friends and family in Vermont that you can and ask them to please register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal so they can get added to this email list and receive updates how they can help fight this bill during this session.
5) Contact all the members of the House Committee on Health Care and ask them to Oppose H527.
Although H527 has not been set for a hearing yet, your opposition needs to be communicated now. This could be scheduled any day now.
Rep. Michael Fisher (802) email@example.com
Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas(802) 222-3536 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Paul Poirier (802) email@example.com
Rep. Leigh Dakin(802) firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jim Eckhardt(802) 342-0140 email@example.com
Rep. Patti Komline(802) 867-4232 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mary Morrissey(802) email@example.com
Rep. Christopher Pearson(802) firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Kristy Spengler(802) email@example.com
Rep. George Till sponsor(802) firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mark Woodward (802) 635-7166 email@example.com
IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION NEEDS TO BE MADE WITH LEGISLATORS WHO ARE BEING MISLED
In addition to giving your own reasons why these bills need to be opposed, it would be great for some to address with the legislators that Vermont’s vaccination rates have been cited out of context and adjusted by bill proponents to mislead legislators and obscure the fact that Vermont health officials have been highly successful at achieving increasing vaccination rates. The raw numbers reported by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Immunization Survey for 2009 and 2010 shown in the chart below illuminate the improvements that Vermont has made and is not a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates as bill proponents have misled. As a matter of fact, the individual rates for each vaccine are quite high. Also, according to the CDC’s National Immunization Survey in 2010, Vermont ranks 27th out of 50 states and has a higher overall vaccination rate in the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series than the following states: AL, CA, CO, DE, GA, ID, KY, ME, MD, MO, MT, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, UT, WV, WY and has a higher overall rate than the following states that DO NOT have a philosophical exemption: AL, DE, GA, KY, MD, MT, NV, NJ, NY, RI, SD, WY. Anyone who represents that Vermont has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and that it is because of the philosophical exemption is being plain dishonest. All of these rates are obtained directly from the CDC website.
http://www2a.cdc.gov/nip/coverage/nis/nis_iap2.asp?fmt=v&rpt=tab03_antigen_state&qtr=Q1/2009-Q4/2009VaccineVT 20092009 NationalVT 20102010 National
3 DTaP 96.1±2.395.0±0.696.0±3.095.0±0.6
4 DTaP 83.2±4.483.9±1.086.0±4.884.4±1.0
3 Polio 92.7±3.292.8±0.794.4±3.393.3±0.7
3 Hep B91.5±3.692.4±0.791.7±3.791.8±0.7
1 VAR 82.7±4.789.6±0.882.9±5.090.4±0.8
(4:3:1:3:3:1:4 - 4 doses of DTaP, 3 doses of polio, 1 dose of MMR, 3 doses of Hib, 3 doses of hepatitis B, 1 dose of varicella vaccine and 4 doses of PCV)
The above vaccination rates show the following:
Vaccination rates in Vermont are not falling, they are substantially increasing with an overall vaccination rate increase for all doses of all vaccines in the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series of over 10% from 2009 to 2010.
Senator Mullin, the bill author, has been quoted in recent media articles attributing his reason for filing this bill to falling vaccination rates, and the raw numbers directly from the CDC simply do not support his assertion.The health commissioner had been quoted in the media lamenting that last year only 60% of Vermont’s youth have been fully vaccinated while the national rate was 70%. That is simply incorrect as the CDC charts on their web site for the full vaccination series of 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 show that Vermont’s rate was 69% compared to a 70% national rate. It is important to distinguish that the vaccination rates for each individual vaccine in Vermont are in the high 80 to mid 90th percentiles. The overall calculation being cited by bill proponents represents what percentage of children have ALL DOSES of ALL vaccines. In this calculation, a child missing the 4th dose of only one vaccine but has everything else is not counted. They are not UNVACCINATED as forced vaccination proponents have misled.
It is also worth noting that while Vermont’s overall rate of 69% was just slightly lower than the national rate of 70%, and all the individual vaccination rates for each vaccine were the same or higher than the national rate except for the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. It was this one vaccine that primarily lowered the overall rate from the national average. Vermont was one of the last 3 states to add varicella to the mandated schedule and didn’t do it until recently in 2008, hence the lower rates for this one vaccine which brings the overall rate down some.
As one can tell by this vaccination rate information, if Vermont health officials really wanted to increase vaccination rates in Vermont, it would make a lot more sense to focus on the 10% of children simply failing to obtain the 4th dose of DTaP and the 8% of children failing to get the 4th dose of PCV rather than eliminating the philosophical exemption all together for the small percentage of families who use it. Just helping current vaccinators to finish the schedule on time would dramatically increase overall vaccination rates.There is absolutely no justification using the current vaccination rates for repealing the philosophical exemption.
Edited by HairyArmpits - 2/2/12 at 6:06am