Did anyone hear the vaccination debate concerning removing the philosophical exemption option on VPR Friday at 12?
VT: bill to ban philosophical exemption for vaccines - Page 3
Hi. I just heard the vermont edition on eliminating philosophical exemptions last friday. This was the first time I've heard of S119 and H527. Does anyone know when S119 is to be voted on? I thought sometime this week but don't know for sure. I also set out and email to everyone i know asking them to write or call all of the members of the Senate Committee on Health (as well as the House Committee on Health Care for H527) asking them to oppose S119 and why. I've sent out my own emails to senators and Representatives but would like to do more! Does anyone have any ideas on how else i can help preserve Vermonters right to philosophical exemption to vaccination?
In case anyone is interested in signing a petition about this:
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.
4babes, you seem well connected. Can you give us any idea about what is going on? I've only been keeping up with this issue via VPR and would love to learn more. Thanks!
Sorry - I haven't been checking in!
As autumnVT wrote, S. 199 was voted out of the Senate Health and Welfare committee and will be on the Senate floor for a full vote in the next couple of days. Now is an excellent time to contact your senators, and definitely include your town in your message. They have been getting a lot of feedback on this - from other states too -- and will want to know that you are a constituent.
It makes sense to keep it short and sweet, factual and polite, but some points you might want to make:
1) There is no crisis
2) The existing philosophical exemption is working just fine
3) The statistics that the department of Health are using are inaccurate (they count any child who has had some but not all shots as "unvaccinated", and at least in some interviews they have been using numbers on the CDC "recommended" schedule as opposed to the VT "required" one)
4) Most of the philosophic exemptions are for chickenpox and Hep B, rather than for more threatening/communicable diseases (measles, mumps, pertussis)
It's really really important to be civil, if you want to be effective. Some of the loudest vax-cautious advocates have been pretty intense, to the point of seeming crazy to the legislators. Senator Mullin got a threatening message which did not go over well -- either with him or with those who are inclined to support us. So it's especially important for the rest of us to be people with whom the legislators don't mind being associated.
Jennifer Stella, one of the Mothering members, has been working really hard on this and has set up a website which you should check out:
And definitely sign the petition!
Also, if this passes the Senate, which seems likely, it will go to the House -- and the House is looking less friendly to it at this point. Contacting your representatives is a great idea, especially buttonholing them at town meeting. And I'll post again when a vote/hearing is coming up. Also, if you want to PM me, I can put you on an email list for action.
A couple more things:
1) If anyone lives in Washington county, it would be great to thank Anthony Pollina who was the only person to oppose the bill in committee. A little appreciation goes a long way.
2)Mothering comments are fully online searchable (even by nonmembers) so you might want to be careful what you post -- this thread came up on the first page when I googled news about the bill.
The legislature is on break this week, and presumably the bill will go to the House the following week. If you want to find your legislator:
I've learned how important it is to keep things as polite and rational as possible, especially with this topic -- we definitely want to give them every reason to vote with us.
One pretty common argument is about polio, so it's worth knowing that Vermont's polio vax rate is at or above the CDC standard. (Actually, all our numbers are quite high except for Hep B, which is not contagious, and chickenpox, for which they don't count naturally immunity.)
I don't have the numbers on me -- maybe someone else can find them? I know the NVIC sent them out.
Just as a quick update, since S.199 passed the senate, an enormous amount of opposition has amassed. There are nearly 800 signatures on the online petition against removing parental rights for a nonexistent public health crisis here in Vermont. We were voted America's Healthiest State, and right there on the front page of the report is the proof that our vaccination rates are 91.2%, so we must be doing something right. (see http://www.americashealthrankings.org/SiteFiles/Statesummary/VT.pdf)
Unvaccinated children are not a risk; microbes and diseases are risks. Vaccinations are valuable tools, but they should not comprise the entire public health platform. The vast majority of exemptions used today are for the chicken pox and Hep B shots. With more vaccines being added to the schedule, one might expect we will need our exemption more than ever before. It is unfair to ask for us to tradeoff our children's education for our choices which we believe are in the highest interest of our children. If you agree, sign the petition today (see http://signon.org/sign/vt-vaccination-laws-preserve?source=c.em.cp&r_by=2566101)
...and consider joining in the protests at Vt. Dept of Health that are being organized this Thurs and Fri in Burlington from 12-1 pm this week. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Here are the details about the Rally in Burlington today and tomorrow, and an announcement about the public hearings at the statehouse next Wednesday, March 21.
HERE IS SOME MORE INFO ABOUT TODAY AND TOMORROW'S EVENTS IN BURLINGTON:
HOPE SOME FOLKS CAN ATTEND!
Friends of vaccination choice: there will be two rallies and demonstrations at 12:00 noon sharp this Thursday and Friday, March 15 and 16, 2012 in front of the Vermont Department of Health, 108 Cherry Street in Burlington. Nicole and Justin Matten, the Vermont mom and dad who tragically lost their daughter to vaccine injury will be present. Please come out and support Nicole and the future of our parental rights to make informed medical choices.
Who should come: parents, children and families who would be negatively impacted by the proposed legislation, those who support freedom of choice in health care and those who wish to make health choices which do not depend upon pharmaceutical options.
What to bring: placards and handouts, video cameras and smart phones. Prepare a 30-second answer as to why you are there, in case you are asked by the media. Dress in colorful clothes, and bring a positive attitude. We want to come across as concerned, intelligent and informed.
Important: please do not arrive at the VDH prior to noon. The rally will most probably happen on St. Paul Street on the side of the building near the employee entrance, across of the Immaculate Conception Church. We cannot block the street or the sidewalks. Street parking is usually available on the west end of Cherry Street and Peal Street, or off street in the parking structure accessible from Bank Street.
If you cannot attend the rally: Send a polite message online to the VDH to declare your support for the rally at
Hello everyone. I am unclear on how to enter the forum, so I hope you do not mind if I post this information here, and please feel free to share it.
Thursday, March 22
@ 7 - 9 pm
Big Picture Theater, Waitsfield
Friday, March 23
@ 12 - 2 pm
Room 11, State House, Montpelier
Coverage from the Vermont Digger: