The Disappearing Medical Exemption to Vaccination

Analysis by Barbara Loe Fisher Fact Checked

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  • Americans from all walks of life are describing the trauma of being threatened, coerced and punished by doctors violating the informed consent ethic, who have abandoned the precautionary principle of “First, do no harm”
  • 1 in 3 people in the U.S. avoid seeking medical care because they don’t like the way doctors made them feel and have low confidence in their doctors’ competence
  • 45% of American adults doubt the safety of vaccines and 27% of those cited either knowledge of past secrets and wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry or by the government
  • The authoritarian abuse of power held by doctors over patients and parents of minor children does the greatest damage to trust
  • The forced vaccination lobby is putting pressure on state legislators to make private doctors agents of the state by taking away their legal right to grant children a medical exemption if it does not conform to narrow vaccine contraindications approved by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP)

Witnessing in their own words on the National Vaccine Information Center’s Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall at, the suffering of people being abused by medical doctors enforcing one-size-fits-all vaccine policies is being revealed.

Americans from all walks of life are describing the trauma of being threatened, coerced and punished by doctors violating the informed consent ethic,1,2,3 who have abandoned the precautionary principle of “First, do no harm”4,5 and are behaving more like prison guards than compassionate healers.

When doctors and legislators are taught to consider individuals unable to get vaccinated without being harmed as expendable, and treat people defending informed consent rights like public enemy No. 1,6 the practice of medicine and public health lawmaking has lost its way and become a prescription for prejudice, discrimination and abuse. Here is one mother’s experience:

“When my first child was born, we had him vaccinated on schedule. After a routine visit he had a reaction to one, which we believe was either DTaP or MMR. He screamed all night and it was not his typical fussy cry. He was different.

More than one doctor ignored our worry and never reported the incident. They expected us to continue vaccinating and we were told horror stories at each visit about kids who had died from being unvaccinated.

We stopped vaccinating him at 15 months when he was showing developmental delays. He had some autistic tendencies and a speech delay. He had to go to speech therapy for five years. Thankfully not diagnosed autistic. After we stopped vaccinating him the behaviors got less and less.

When my daughter was born, we decided we weren’t vaccinating her based on my son’s reaction and doing research on vaccine ingredients. After she was born, we were harassed by the nurse because we wouldn’t give our minutes-old daughter the hepatitis B vaccine.

She made a scene and my husband had to stand watch over our baby. We were told if we didn’t catch the kids up on their vaccines within the year at the pediatrician’s [office] we’d be dismissed from the practice.

After 10 years of being patients there, not only were we harassed and kicked out, there was no responsibility taken by the doctors for harming my son. To this day, we have no pediatrician that will accept our unvaccinated yet healthy children.”7

Doctors Are Abusing Their Power and Our Trust

Does the thought of going to the doctor or taking your child to a pediatrician fill you with anxiety or even fear because your doctor refuses to listen to you, makes you feel stupid and doesn’t seem to care about your child’s individual health needs?

Are you concerned that your doctor will threaten or deny you or your child medical care if you decline even one of the dozens of doses of vaccines that government health officials tell your doctor to give to every patient?

You are not alone. Trust is the key to a positive relationship with a doctor, especially if you are a parent doing everything you can to keep the child you love healthy. We are all taught to trust doctors with the wellbeing of our physical bodies and the bodies of our children.

Doctors hold the most power in the doctor-patient relationship, but they should not be allowed to abuse that power. Finding an enlightened, compassionate doctor, who treats you with respect in a personalized patient-centered practice, is one of the most empowering and life-saving actions you can take.8,9

In a study published by the National Institutes of Health in 2015, researchers found that 1 in 3 people in the U.S. avoid seeking medical care because they don’t like the way doctors made them feel and have low confidence in their doctors’ competence.10,11

Struggling with chronic health problems and dissatisfaction with medical advice for how to heal or stay well are the main reasons why between 25% and 40% of Americans and Europeans embrace holistic health alternatives like dietary supplements, meditation, yoga, spiritual healing, chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture and homeopathy to maintain health.12,13,14

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Polls Show Public Doubts on Vaccines, Big Pharma, Government

Dislike of how doctors treat patients and concerns about the medical establishment’s cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry15,16,17,18,19 has definitely eroded the people’s trust in the effectiveness and safety of prescription drugs and vaccines.20

A 2019 Harris Poll revealed that 45% of American adults doubt the safety of vaccines and 27% of those cited either knowledge of past secrets and wrongdoing by the pharmaceutical industry or by the government.21,22,23,24,25

The trust factor is further damaged when people find out that the Food and Drug Administration fast-tracks vaccines to licensure26,27,28,29 and public health officials are electronically monitoring every vaccine they do and do not take,30,31,32 and doctors are being financially bribed or sanctioned by HMOs and government agencies33 to make sure that every child gets every one of the 69 doses of 16 vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control right on schedule.34,35,36

But it is the authoritarian abuse of power held by doctors over patients and parents of minor children that does the most damage to trust. Here is one parent’s description of broken trust:

“My pediatrician, in New York, came highly recommended to me by a colleague. Initially he seemed like a knowledgeable and skilled physician. However, when my daughter approached the CDC recommended vaccine schedule dates and I began asking questions (God forbid!) about vaccine safety and efficacy, this doctor turned into a bully.

He was insistent that the benefits of vaccines outweighed the risks and that my daughter was at risk of hospitalization or worse if I declined. Whether I brought peer reviewed medical journal articles or other questions or information to his attention, the bottom line was I needed to vaccinate.

At one encounter, he outright threatened to remove me from his practice if I didn’t comply with the CDC schedule.

Apparently, the bonus he was to receive for ensuring that his patients all fully complied with the full vaccine schedule was more important than the relationship he had built with me [and] my child. It was more important to vaccinate than to have any kind of role whatsoever regarding my child’s wellbeing. I left the practice after I was threatened.”37

Pharma, Health Care Industry Biggest Political Lobby

The health care industry is the largest employer in the U.S.38 and medical doctors are the highest paid profession.39,40 The pharmaceutical industry, which depends upon medical trade partners to prescribe drugs and vaccines, is the biggest lobby influencing law and policymaking by the federal government41 and state legislatures.42,43

In the past two decades, Big Pharma has spent more than $4 billion lobbying Capitol Hill and federal agencies for special treatment, nearly twice as much as any other industry. If lobbying by hospitals, nursing homes, health professionals, and HMOs is included, it comes to more than $8 billion that has been poured into politically influencing public health policy and regulations in this country.44

Congress has made it easy for federal agencies to develop lucrative public-private business partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry and the federal government.45,46,47

Vaccines Profitable Because of Mandates, Liability Shield

Vaccines, especially vaccines mandated by governments, are among the most profitable pharmaceutical products being sold by multinational corporations in a global $36 billion-dollar vaccine market that some forecasters predict will nearly double in size by 2024.48,49,50

That market is particularly profitable in the U.S. because vaccines, which are licensed and recommended by the federal government, are the only commercial products that state governments legally require every parent to purchase and give to their children as a condition for attending school.51

Plus, vaccine manufacturers are the only corporations selling products in this country that cannot be sued, even when there is evidence the company could have made a product less likely to injure or kill people.52,53 Doctors and medical workers who give children and pregnant women federally recommended vaccines can’t be sued either.54

With no liability, at the very least doctors should feel a moral obligation and have the legal right to protect vulnerable people — especially infants and children — from suffering crippling and sometimes deadly vaccine reactions.

But sadly, state legislatures in California55 and New York56 have passed laws not only eliminating the legal right for parents to obtain personal belief vaccine exemptions for children to attend daycare and school, but they have cruelly taken away the legal right for private doctors to exercise professiornal judgment and conscience when granting children a medical exemption to vaccination.57,58,59

In 2019, Hawaii became another state prohibiting children from attending school with medical exemptions that do not strictly conform with narrow vaccine contraindications approved by the federal government.60,61

Doctors Becoming Agents of the State Enforcing Vaccine Policy

If the politically powerful Pharma-led forced vaccination lobby gets its way, all personal belief vaccine exemptions will be stripped from public health laws. Doctors employed by state health departments will be given the authority to deny vaccine-vulnerable children a school education if a doctor in private practice has granted a medical exemption to vaccination for a reason that is not approved by the federal government.

The goal is to force all doctors to become agents of the state without the power to depart from government policy, even if implementing government policy will increase the risk of injury or death for an individual.

It means that when you find an enlightened and compassionate doctor, in the future you may not be able to get a medical exemption to vaccination even when you and your doctor agree there are genetic, biological and environmental risk factors that place you or your child at high risk for having a vaccine reaction.62

The plan is to make the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — also known as ACIP — a de facto vaccine law-making body in the U.S. for every state. Who and what is the ACIP?

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

Established in 1964, the ACIP is a federal advisory committee of 15 doctors specializing in vaccinology, infectious diseases and related fields, who are appointed to a four-year term by the Secretary of Health to develop vaccine recommendations approved by the CDC for giving FDA-licensed vaccines to children and adults.63

In addition to 15 voting members, there are eight ex-officio members representing federal government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, as well as 26 nonvoting liaison representatives from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and insurance industries, medical trade and public health associations, state health departments and academic doctors employed by major universities that often receive large sums of money from pharmaceutical companies and research grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.64

Over the past 55 years, this federal advisory committee has been given more power by Congress and state legislatures to affect the lives of all Americans. ACIP has voted to increase the number of federally recommended vaccines that doctors routinely give to infants and children from a few doses of six vaccines in 1964 to dozens of doses of 16 vaccines today.65

When ACIP makes a recommendation with the approval of the CDC, medical trade associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)66 obediently follow suit and adopt those recommendations as “standard of care.”67

When ACIP recommendations are endorsed by other influential vaccine promotion arms of government, like the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC)68,69 and National Vaccine Program Office ((NVPO) and become “standard of care” for all doctor’s offices, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities in the country, a very wide vaccination net has been cast for every child and adult in America.70,71

Pharma Taking ACIP Recommendations to the Bank

The cost to comply with ACIP recommendations and fully vaccinate a child has skyrocketed from about $30 in 198372,73 to nearly $3,000 in 2019.74 The pharmaceutical industry literally takes ACIP recommendations to the bank.

In 1986, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act gave vaccine manufacturers partial liability protection for harm caused by vaccines that the ACIP recommends for children.75,76

In 1994 Congress established the Vaccines for Children Program that now, every year, uses $4 billion dollars in taxpayer money to purchase ACIP-recommended vaccines from drug companies and provide them for free to uninsured and underinsured children77 and, in 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act that requires all health insurance companies to provide ACIP-recommended vaccines for free to patients.78

Clearly, every “universal use” vaccine recommendation that ACIP makes — such as giving all children an annual flu shot or multiple doses of expensive vaccines like for chickenpox, HPV, pneumococcal and meningococcal79 — is worth billions of dollars to drug companies selling liability-free vaccines in the U.S., especially when states automatically add ACIP-recommended vaccines to day care and school attendance mandates.

And now that state legislatures are moving to eliminate personal belief vaccine exemptions and put doctors in handcuffs so they can’t give medical exemptions, there is no limit to profit-making as scores of new vaccines are fast-tracked by the FDA to licensure80 that will be recommended by the ACIP for universal use, including genetically engineered vaccines for HIV, RSV, strep A and B, herpes simplex, E-coli, TB and many, many more.81,82

ACIP recommendations are a drug company stockholder’s dream and have become a parent’s worst nightmare.

Conflicts of Interest on Vaccine Advisory Committees

An investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government with a report published in 2000 found serious conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical industry and voting members of the two most important federal vaccine advisory committees: the ACIP, which reviews and votes on the quality of scientific evidence used to make national vaccine policy, and the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which reviews and votes on the quality of scientific evidence used to license new vaccines.83,84

Those findings have been independently confirmed by journalists investigating conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical industry and the federal government.85,86

Today, government-appointed members of both the ACIP and FDA vaccine advisory committees still can be given a conflict of interest waiver by the Department of Health so they can vote on the licensing of vaccines and make national vaccine policy that is turned into public health law.87,88,89,90

So, what is the quality of the scientific evidence that the CDC’s ACIP uses to make national vaccine policy promoted by the CDC, which gets turned into public health law in your state?

ACIP-Approved Vaccine Contraindications Almost Nonexistent

Let’s start with vaccine contraindications, which are health conditions the CDC’s ACIP tells doctors are the only reasons why you or your child absolutely should not get a vaccine.

Basically, under ACIP guidelines, the CDC considers almost no health condition or vaccine reaction history to be an absolute contraindication to vaccination, and that is what your doctor has been taught to believe as well.91

The CDC’s ACIP tells doctors that only pregnancy or severe immunodeficiency is a contraindication to getting live virus vaccines like MMR and varicella zoster, but inactivated vaccines are not an absolute contraindication for pregnant women or people with severe immunodeficiency.92

This is a very important fact because, often, the pharma-medical trade lobby tries to convince legislators that all ACIP-recommended vaccines must be mandated for children to protect pregnant women and the severely immune compromised,93,94 who cannot get any vaccines at all, but clearly that is not true.

According to the CDC’s ACIP, there are only two types of vaccine reactions that are absolute contraindications to getting revaccinated95

  1. A life-threatening allergic anaphylactic reaction that occurs within minutes of vaccination.
  2. Development of encephalopathy, such as prolonged seizures, coma and other brain dysfunction, within seven days of receiving pertussis-containing vaccines — but only if the doctor believes the encephalopathy is “not attributable to another cause.”

CDC’s ACIP Vaccine Precautions: A Short List

The CDC publishes a very short list of health conditions that doctors are told are not absolute contraindications — only “precautions” — because they “might increase the risk of a serious adverse reaction, cause diagnostic confusion, or might compromise the ability of the vaccine to produce immunity.”96

Only one CDC-approved universal precaution applies to all vaccines: if a person has a “moderate or severe acute illness with or without fever.” But that is only a precaution, not a contraindication, and what constitutes a “moderate or severe acute illness” is left up to the discretion of the doctor.

To make matters more confusing, the CDC recommends that hospitalized patients should be vaccinated if they are “not acutely, moderately or severely ill.” Maybe that is why, when I was hospitalized for emergency kidney stone surgery and under heavy sedation, I was grilled twice in the middle of the night by two different teams of doctors and nurses about exactly when I had gotten my last flu shot.

And maybe that is why hepatitis B-negative mothers in the last stages of labor are being badgered about giving their newborns a hepatitis B shot immediately after birth,97 and why sick people in an emergency room are being harassed about catching up on every vaccine the ACIP recommends.

The message the CDC sends to doctors is that 99% of the U.S. population is a candidate for vaccination 100% of the time. To simplify, many doctors, pharmacists and other vaccine providers, who cannot be sued if a vaccine they gave a person injures or kills that person, just ignore precautions because the CDC downplays their significance by incoherently describing vaccine precautions like this:

“A person might experience a more severe reaction to the vaccine than would have otherwise been expected; however, the risk of this happening is less than the risk expected with a contraindication.”98

Say what? Has your once healthy child gotten sick and then slowly regressed into chronic poor health after previous vaccinations and you want to avoid giving more vaccines that could make your child’s health worse? Sorry, no medical vaccine exemption for your child.

CDC’s ACIP Makes It Easy for Doctors to Bully Mothers

The CDC’s short list of vaccine contraindications and precautions is one reason why doctors have been given a green light to emotionally batter mothers trying to protect their vaccine injured children from further harm like this mother, who described her traumatizing experience on NVIC’s Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall:

“Following my son's first birthday, November 16, 2017 we went to his 12-month check-up. Although we were not fully knowledgeable [about] the effects or damage caused by vaccines, we knew enough to know not to vaccinate all at once, or more than three shots at the time. Suffice to say, our son received three shots that day including the MMR and DtaP.

Immediately thereafter, my son fell asleep after an hour of agonizing cries. That day was the last day my son babbled/talked (said mama, dada); held his bottle; reacted or responded to his name; ate (we would make his food at home from scratch which he loved, especially his veggies, [and] stopped attempting to crawl.

My son had a fever of 104 for almost two weeks, a severe rash on his entire body, cradle cap and thereafter caught an ear infection. We contacted his pediatrician … during this sick visit I explained to our doctor that we believed our son had an adverse reaction to the vaccines and explained all the differences we noticed immediately following the shots.

She quickly dismissed my concerns and responded with, ‘He’s a perfect little guy, he’ll be eating a burger in no time.’ I replied, ‘Yes, my son is perfect but he is no longer the baby I gave birth to — something is not right here.’ I was crying and awfully vulnerable; however, once again, it fell upon deaf ears.

Her response was, ‘He’s up for a vaccine, are you going to vaccinate?’ I looked up at her in disbelief and replied, ‘Over my dead body!’ That was the last time my son visited this doctor, who also did not provide preventive care for my child and neglected to report or make a record of this adverse reaction (vaccine injury) to the vaccines received at her office.”99

It gets worse.

ACIP Directs Doctors to Ignore Signs of Vaccine Reactions

There is a separate, much longer list the CDC publishes entitled “conditions incorrectly perceived as contraindications or precautions to vaccination.”100 This list directs doctors to ignore many signs and symptoms of serious vaccine reactions, current illnesses and brain and immune system disorders that, in the absence of methodologically sound scientific research, could very well increase risks of vaccine reactions for vulnerable individuals.

If your doctor has become one of those vaccination hardliners wielding a syringe like a sword by ignoring vaccine precautions and strictly observing what the CDC describes as “incorrectly perceived contraindications,” then:

If you or your child are coming down with or recovering from a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection and have a fever or are taking antibiotics101,102,103,104 and want to delay getting vaccinated: No medical exemption for you.

If your baby was born prematurely, weighs only 5 pounds, and you want to delay vaccination until your baby is older and stronger:105,106,107,108 No medical exemption for your baby.109

If you are a pregnant health care worker and don’t want to get a hepatitis B shot or flu shot because you have a personal and family history of autoimmunity:110 No medical exemption for you.111,112,113

If you or your child has suffered a fever over 105 degrees F, or a collapse or shock-like state,114 or a seizure,115,116 or persistent inconsolable crying for more than three hours after receiving a pertussis containing vaccine:117 No medical exemption for you.

If you or your child have a serious autoimmune disorder like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis:118,119,120,121,122 No medical exemption for you.

If you or your child has a mild HIV infection:123 No medical exemption for you.

If you or your child has a neurological disorder like cerebral palsy, developmental delays or medication controlled seizures:124,125,126,127,128,129,130,131 No medical exemption for you.

With the CDC’s ACIP telling doctors it is safe to vaccinate 99% of people 100% of the time and that most bad health outcomes that occur after vaccination are “just a coincidence,” it is no wonder that less than 1% of bad health outcomes after vaccination are ever reported to the government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).132

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court majority declared that FDA licensed and CDC recommended vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe,” so vaccine manufacturers are immune from lawsuits even when there is evidence a manufacturer could have made a vaccine less likely to injure and kill people.133

Under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, the government has paid more than $4 billion to children and adults who have been harmed by ACIP-recommended and state-mandated vaccines.134

Emerging Science Confirms We Are Not All the Same

Emerging science is revealing that what pharmaceutical companies, medical trade associations and government health officials have taught doctors, legislators and the public to believe is true about vaccine risks and failures135 is not the whole truth. We are not all the same and we do not all respond the same way to infectious diseases or vaccines.

Our responses to infectious diseases and the risk for complications can vary, depending upon our genes, environment, age and health at the time of infection.136,137 That is why malnourished, vitamin-deficient children living in impoverished environments, for example, are at higher risk for complications from measles and other infections.138,139,140

Our risk of having a vaccine reaction can range from zero% to 100%. It depends upon the genes we were born with; our epigenetic history and microbiome DNA; the environments we live in; our age and health at the time of vaccination; and the type of and how many vaccines we get.141,142,143,144

Some of us get vaccinated and still get infected with and transmit infections like measles, pertussis and influenza to other people, sometimes without showing any symptoms at all. So much for vaccine acquired herd immunity.145,146,147

Where Is the Good Science?

Where IS the good science to back up the scientific validity that the extremely short list of ACIP-approved contraindications to vaccination should be codified into law by state legislatures and used to take away the legal right for conscientious doctors to grant school children medical vaccine exemptions?

When your doctor orders you or your child to get vaccinated or be kicked out on the street without medical care, that doctor does not know if the odds will be in your favor or if you will become a vaccine reaction statistic — and neither does the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice.

Your doctor also does not know whether the vaccinations given will actually work, or if you will be become a silent carrier of disease that you can transmit to other people without knowing it.148,149

The disappearing medical exemption to vaccination is a symptom of a much larger problem. A recent Gallup Poll confirmed that the pharmaceutical industry is now the most poorly regarded industry in America and the government and health care industry are a close second and third.150 The people are getting fed up with being lied to and exploited by institutions they have been taught to trust.

It is time for enlightened, compassionate doctors with a conscience to join hands with the people151,152 and push back against one-size-fits-all vaccine policies created by government health officials that are not anchored with good science and are being turned into state law.

We, the people, have the human right and must have the legal right to exercise voluntary informed consent to medical risk taking, no matter what a doctor orders us to do to our bodies or the bodies of our children.

NVIC stands with the tens of thousands of Americans who are defending vaccine informed consent rights in every state in this country. We are committed to protecting freedom of thought, speech, religious belief and conscience because those are civil liberties that define who we are as a nation.

It’s your health, your family, your choice. And our mission continues: No forced vaccination. Not in America.

+ Sources and References