Parents: You Can Say No to Vaccinations, Right? Maybe Not for Much Longer...
February 22, 2011
By Barbara Loe Fisher
If you are a resident of Washington state, you should know that there is a bill quietly sailing through your state legislature that violates your privacy and threatens your right to make informed, voluntary decisions about vaccination. House Bill 1015 1 and Senate Bill 5005 also discriminates against parents by failing to give them equal protection under the federal National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (PL 99-660). 2
New Law Threatens Informed Consent Rights and Violates First Amendment
The proposed new law will legally require doctors and nurses to personally sign off on all religious or personal belief exemptions to vaccination filed with the state. Parents seeking non-medical exemptions will be required to include a signature from a vaccine provider on the exemption form stating that they have been given vaccine benefit and risk information. 3 Currently Washington state mandatory vaccination laws 4 only require signatures from medical personnel when medical exemptions are filed.
If this bill becomes law, it will put doctors, nurses and other medical personnel in the legal position of acting as inquisitors of religious beliefs held by fellow citizens, which is an invasion of privacy and a de facto violation of First Amendment rights. 5 Americans associated with the medical profession will have the power to sit in judgment of, or interfere with, the free exercise of religious, spiritual or conscientious beliefs of other Americans. It will also make it easier for doctors to punish parents making selective vaccine choices by denying their children medical care, which is the official policy of many U.S. pediatricians. 6
The ethical principle of informed consent 7 to medical risk taking means that you, as an individual or the legal guardian of an individual, have the human right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a medical intervention and make a voluntary decision without being harassed or coerced by anyone. 8 The informed consent principle protects individuals in every society from exploitation by those in positions of power in medicine, government and industry. 9, 10, 11
The proposed Washington state bill makes it easier for doctors and other medical personnel to violate an individual's informed consent rights and discriminate against those filing vaccine exemptions, who may hold different beliefs and values. 12, 13, 14, 15 Informed consent is especially important when it comes to vaccination because doctors and nurses cannot predict ahead of time who will be injured by vaccines. More than $2 billion dollars has been awarded by the U.S. Court of Claims 16 to compensate vaccine victims, mostly children, whose doctors did not know they would suffer brain inflammation, immune dysregulation and become permanently disabled or even die after vaccination. 17, 18, 19
Bill Also Ignores Federal Law Requirements
Co-sponsors of the new Washington state vaccine law do not acknowledge in the bill that there is already a federal law in place since 1986, 20, 21 which legally requires doctors, nurses and all vaccine providers to:
- Give parents vaccine benefit and risk information before vaccination takes place; Record serious health problems, including hospitalizations, injuries and deaths, after vaccination in the child's permanent medical records;
- Report serious health problems after vaccination 22 to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) 23
- Keep a permanent record of all vaccines given, including the manufacturer's name and lot number.
Unfortunately, today most vaccine providers do not obey these important federal law requirements. So if the goal of the new law is to educate parents about vaccination, it should simply state that all vaccine providers are legally required to give every parent Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) produced by the Centers for Disease Control, 24 which also contain information about reporting vaccine reactions and the federal vaccine injury compensation program.
Protect Your Rights. Take Action TODAY!
If you are a Washington State resident and do not want to lose your right to file a religious or personal belief exemption to vaccination without getting the signature of a doctor or nurse, you need take action TODAY.
Sign up for NVIC's Advocacy Portal and learn how to take action and make your voice heard. No matter what state you live in, please join forces now with the oldest, largest, and most experienced vaccine safety and informed consent organization, the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center, 25, 26 and fight for your freedom to make voluntary vaccine choices in America.
If it can happen in Washington state, it can happen in your state. Defend your informed consent rights.
Please forward the public service announcement linked to the end of this commentary to everyone you know about how to join NVIC's Advocacy Portal.
It's your health. Your family. Your choice.
Click here to watch NVIC's Advocacy Portal Public Service Announcement.
Protect Your Right to Informed Consent and Defend Vaccine Exemptions
With all the uncertainty surrounding the safety and efficacy of vaccines, it's critical to protect your right to make independent health choices and exercise voluntary informed consent to vaccination. It is urgent that everyone in America stand up and fight to protect and expand vaccine informed consent protections in state public health and employment laws. The best way to do this is to get personally involved with your state legislators and educating the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
National vaccine policy recommendations are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level. It is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact. It is critical for EVERYONE to get involved now in standing up for the legal right to make voluntary vaccine choices in America because those choices are being threatened by lobbyists representing drug companies, medical trade associations and public health officials, who are trying to persuade legislators to strip all vaccine exemptions from public health laws.
Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you immediate, easy access to your own state legislators on your Smart Phone or computer so you can make your voice heard. You will be kept up-to-date on the latest state bills threatening your vaccine choice rights and get practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. Also, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips..
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with each other, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies or public health officials promoting forced use of a growing list of vaccines to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mandatory vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the website of the non-profit charity, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment and sanctions by doctors, employers, school and health officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.