By Dr. Mercola
The ethical principle of informed consent means that you have the human right to be fully informed about the benefits and risks of a medical intervention and be free to make a voluntary choice about whether or not to take the risk. The right to make an informed, voluntary vaccination choice for yourself (or your minor child) is an inalienable human right because vaccination, like any medical intervention, involves taking a risk that could cause harm or even death.
There is no guarantee that receiving a vaccine (or any other drug) will not cause a complication and lead to serious injury – or that it will protect you from the disease it is supposed to prevent.
But across the United States, people are fighting for their right to choose not to be injected with vaccines against their will because vaccine exemptions have come under constant attack.
New Mexico is the Latest State to Cut the Philosophical Vaccine Exemption
All 50 states have enacted vaccine laws that require proof children have received a certain number of vaccinations in order to attend daycare, middle school, high school and college.
However, all 50 states allow a medical exemption to vaccination (medical exemptions must be approved by an M.D. or D.O.); 48 states allow a religious exemption to vaccination; and, until earlier this year, 18 states allowed a personal, philosophical or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination for children attending school.
Now, there are only 17 states that allow a personal belief exemption because this year public health officials in New Mexico changed the vaccine exemption form so that philosophical objections were no longer an option. The New Mexico Department of Health simply said they changed the form because the prior one allowed for "misinterpretation of the law." From now on, parents will be required to state their religious beliefs in order to qualify for a non-medical vaccine exemption so their children can attend school.
Many U.S. States Tightening Vaccine Exemption Requirements
In the past two years, public health department officials and legislators in California, Washington and Vermont have made it harder for parents to obtain a non-medical vaccine exemption for their children.
While the original goal of lobbyists working for drug companies, medical trade associations funded by drug companies and state public health officials was to completely eliminate personal belief exemptions from the public health laws of those three states, parents organized and communicated with their legislators through the NVIC Advocacy Portal and were able to save the non-medical exemptions even though they have been severely restricted.
California and Washington states now require parents filing a philosophical belief exemption for their children to make an appointment with a state designated medical worker to obtain a signature verifying parents have reviewed "factual" information about the risks and benefits of vaccination. In Vermont, parents filing a philosophical exemption must sign a statement that they agree they are placing their child and society at risk for infectious diseases.
According to an article published in Nature,1 the Washington Department of Health wanted to make it harder to get a philosophical exemption because parents were simply choosing it out of convenience. It's unclear where the evidence for this statement comes from, if it exists at all, but those, who choose to go against the grain and opt out of vaccination, do not face an easy road.
Harassment, intimidation and refusal of medical care are all commonly reported among those who "dare" to make selective vaccine choices. Plus, research shows that those, who opt out of one or more of the 69 doses of 16 vaccines that the CDC recommends children get, do not typically do it simply for "convenience."
Most of the parents making independent vaccine choices for their children are very well educated and have poured countless hours of careful and studied reflection into this decision. They have refused to blindly trust what someone else says and have done their own research because they feel it is necessary to protect the health of their children – not because they don't want to take the time to set up a doctor's visit. It would be far easier to simply roll up their child's sleeve and wait for the shot.
Disease Outbreaks Falsely Blamed on Personal-Belief Exemptions
The article then states that studies have linked personal-belief exemptions to increased incidence of disease like pertussis (whooping cough). But if you take the time to look into the truthfulness of that statement, you'll see it simply does not hold up. Many outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough), measles, and mumps have occurred primarily in people who were vaccinated, and no one seems to be able to fully explain how that is the fault of those who are unvaccinated...
If the basic tenets of vaccinology were correct, these people should have been protected because they were vaccinated. Published studies into the outbreaks have revealed that a lot of the blame should be placed on ineffective vaccines – not on the unvaccinated minority. Consider:
- In 2010, the largest outbreak of whooping cough in over 50 years occurred in California. Around that same time, a scare campaign was launched in California by Pharma-funded medical trade associations, state health officials and national media, targeting people opting out of receiving pertussis vaccine, falsely accusing them of causing the outbreak.
However, research published in March of this year showed that 81 percent of 2010 California whooping cough cases in people under the age of 18 occurred in those who were fully up to date on the whooping cough vaccine.2 Eleven percent had received at least one shot, but not the entire recommended series, and only eight percent of those stricken were unvaccinated.
- The Washington State Secretary of Health also declared a pertussis epidemic on April 3, 2012, in response to a 1,300 percent increase in pertussis cases compared to 2011.3 Here, again, research has shown that the majority of people getting sick are up to date with their vaccinations,4 thus pointing toward vaccine failure as a cause.
Dr. Paul Offit Admits People are "More Compelled by Fear Than Reason"
The same article then goes on to say that growing disease rates are likely to trigger more people to get vaccinated, and quoted Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, as stating people are "far more compelled by fear than reason."
Indeed, it appears many who oppose vaccine choice, as Offit openly does regarding personal belief exemptions, are banking on fear being a driving force to take away personal freedoms and the human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking.. Offit, who not only is very public about his belief that infants could theoretically safely handle 10,000 vaccines all at once, has a financial stake in the vaccine industry (he invented RotaTeq, a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine which is currently on the CDC's vaccine schedule) and has served on the scientific advisory board of pharmaceutical giant Merck.
Offit's personal beliefs about forcing people to involuntarily use vaccines, which violates the informed consent ethic in medicine, along with the inaccurate statements he makes about vaccine safety, are echoed throughout pro-forced vaccination propaganda, including that released by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The Vaccine Education Center at CHOP says it's funded by endowed chairs and "does not receive support from pharmaceutical companies," but it neglects to mention that the hospital indirectly benefits from drug company money that helps fund endowed chairs like Merck's Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, which is currently held by Paul Offit.
And wouldn't you know, their August newsletter peppers you with enough scare tactics – along with links to information on vaccine exemptions and states that allow personal belief exemptions – to leave readers convinced they need to do something to stop vaccine exemptions. This is the fear-based response Offit spoke of -- but it's far better to make your decisions based on reason...
Natural Herd Immunity is Not Achieved Through Vaccination
Many articles that berate vaccine exemption options and parents, who obtain personal belief exemptions for their children, use the argument that unvaccinated children are "weakening" herd immunity and, therefore, putting others at risk of disease.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases describes vaccine-induced herd immunity, also labeled "community immunity" by public health doctors as follows:
"When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines – such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals – get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as 'community immunity.'"
The problem is that there is in fact such a thing as natural herd immunity. But what they've done is they've taken this natural phenomenon and assumed that vaccines will work the same way. However, vaccines do not confer the same kind of immunity as being challenged by and overcoming the natural disease, and the science clearly shows that there's a big difference between naturally acquired herd immunity and vaccine-induced herd immunity.
To learn more, I urge you to listen to the following video, in which Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), discusses the concept of herd immunity. Barbara explains:
"The original concept of herd immunity is that when a population experiences the natural disease… natural immunity would be achieved – a robust, qualitatively superior natural herd immunity within the population, which would then protect other people from getting the disease in other age groups. It's the way infectious diseases work…
The vaccinologists have adopted this idea of vaccine induced herd immunity. The problem with it is that all vaccines only confer temporary protection… Pertussis vaccine is one of the best examples… Pertussis vaccines have been used for about 50 to 60 years, and the organism has started to evolve to become vaccine resistant. I think this is not something that's really understood generally by the public: Vaccines do not confer the same type of immunity that natural exposure to the disease does."
Get Informed Before You Vaccinate
All Americans need to know their options for legally opting-out of vaccinations, and you also need to know why it's so important to protect this legal option, whether you choose to use every federally recommended vaccine for yourself and your children or not.
No matter what vaccination choices you make for yourself or your family, there is a basic human right to be fully informed about all risks and have the ability to refuse to allow substances you consider to be harmful, toxic or poisonous to be forced upon you.
Unfortunately, the public-private business partnership between government health and defense agencies and pharmaceutical corporations manufacturing and marketing vaccines in the U.S. is getting closer and closer. There is some serious discrimination against Americans, who want to be free to exercise their human right to informed consent to medical risk-taking when it comes to making voluntary decisions about which vaccines they and their children use. We cannot allow that happen!
It's vitally important to know your legal rights and understand your options when it comes to using vaccines and prescription drugs.
For example, your doctor is legally obligated to provide you with the CDC Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) sheet and discuss the potential symptoms of side effects of the vaccination(s) you or your child receive BEFORE vaccination takes place. If someone giving a vaccine does not do this, it is a violation of federal law. Furthermore, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 also requires doctors and other vaccine providers to:
- Keep a permanent record of all vaccines given and the manufacturer's name and lot number
- Record serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths that occur after vaccination in the patient's permanent medical record
- File an official report of all serious health problems, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS)
If a vaccine provider fails to inform, record or report, it is a violation of federal law. It's important to get all the facts before making your decision about vaccination; and to understand that you have the legal right to opt out of using a vaccine that you do not want you or your child to receive. But as mentioned earlier, vaccine exemptions are under attack in a number of states, and it's in everyone's best interest to protect the right to make informed, voluntary vaccination decisions.
What You Can Do to Make a Difference
While it seems "old-fashioned," the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand your rights under the law to make voluntary vaccine choices, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights will have the greatest impact.
Signing up to be a user of NVIC's free online Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community. You will get real-time Action Alerts about what you can do if there are threats to vaccine exemptions in your state. With the click of a mouse or one touch on a Smartphone screen you will be put in touch with YOUR elected representatives so you can let them know how you feel and what you want them to do. Plus, when national vaccine issues come up, you will have all the information you need to make sure your voice is heard.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Contact Your Elected Officials
It is so important for you to reach out and make sure your concerns get on the radar screen of the leaders and opinion makers in your community, especially the politicians you elect who are directly involved in making vaccine laws in your state. These are your elected representatives, so you have a right and a responsibility to let them know what's really happening in your life and the lives of people you know when it comes to vaccine mandates. Be sure to share the "real life" experiences that you, or people you know, have experienced with vaccination.
I also encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and death. 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 by doctors or state officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Find a Doctor Who will Listen to Your Concerns
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 punish patients and parents who become truly educated about health and vaccination and want to make vaccine choices instead of being forced to follow risky one-size-fits-all vaccine policies.
If you are treated with disrespect or are harassed in any way by a doctor (or government official), do not engage in an unproductive argument. You may want to contact an attorney, your elected state representatives or local media if you or your child are threatened.
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 and connect with a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.