WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is launching a national campaign to secure vaccine safety and informed consent protections in state vaccine policies and laws to protect the right to get an education, hold a job, receive health insurance and medical care, enter a hospital or nursing home and function in society without being required to get every government recommended vaccine. NVIC has published Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law: A Guide and NVIC’s pro-education, pro-vaccine choice message began running on the Times Square CBS Jumbotron in New York City at the beginning of May.
On May 2, 2014, the Colorado legislature voted to protect the personal belief vaccine exemption after many families, including parents of vaccine injured children, and concerned health care professionals testified in public hearings that parents should be allowed to make vaccine decisions for their children without interference from government health officials.
“Americans value freedom of conscience and the legislators in Colorado affirmed that when they voted to protect the personal belief exemption to vaccination,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, NVIC co-founder and president, who is author of the illustrated vaccine law reform guide. “The right to exercise voluntary informed consent to medical risk taking is a human and civil right. We will speak out against all attempts to subject Americans to vaccine laws that allow doctors and government officials to bully and sanction citizens for making independent vaccination and other health choices for themselves and their children,” she said.
Since 2011, lobbyists representing special interest groups associated with pharmaceutical companies, medical trade and public health official associations have been pressuring state legislatures to eliminate or severely restrict non-medical religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions. Although laws have been passed in Washington, California and Oregon requiring parents filing non-medical exemptions to either obtain a doctor’s signature or undergo state mandated vaccine education, this year Colorado citizens turned out in force to publicly object to similar legislation and the state became the first to preserve the personal belief exemption without modification.
In the Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law guide, NVIC maintains that “no exceptions” vaccine laws discriminate against and threaten the lives of a minority of citizens by failing to respect biodiversity and gaps in vaccine science that prevent doctors from being able to predict who will be harmed or left unprotected by vaccination. NVIC is calling for the institution of flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions for parents of minor children and adult patients and employees in all U.S. vaccine policies and laws.
“Inflexible administration of one-size-fits-all vaccine polices places a disproportionate and unequal risk burden on those individuals, who are biologically, genetically or environmentally at higher risk for suffering harm from vaccination,” writes Fisher. “It is not humane or just to compel everyone to use a pharmaceutical product that carries a greater risk of injury or death for those more vulnerable to suffering harm from that product.”
In 1983, federal health officials recommended doctors give children 23 doses of seven vaccines. By 2013, that recommendation had expanded to 69 doses of 16 vaccines between day of birth and age 18 with 49 doses of vaccines given before age six. States require dozens of doses of federally recommended vaccines for entry to daycare and schools and some employers are now requiring proof of annual flu shots and other vaccinations as a condition of employment.
Drug companies marketing vaccines in the U.S. have been partially shielded from civil liability for vaccine injuries and deaths since passage of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and completely shielded from product liability since 2011 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled vaccine manufacturers cannot be sued for vaccine design defects. Nearly $3 billion dollars has been paid out under the federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) but two out of three children and adults applying for compensation are turned away. Among other reforms, NVIC is advocating that the vaccine informing, recording and reporting safety provisions in the 1986 federal law be codified into state laws to help prevent vaccine reactions.
NVIC’s “Vaccinations? Know the risks and failures” message on the CBS Broadway Jumbotron on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in Times Square will run through mid-July. For the past year NVIC has conducted a similar vaccine education campaign on billboards in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, New York and on Denver’s airport historic district buses.
Founded in 1982, NVIC is the largest and oldest consumer-led organization advocating for the prevention of vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and protection of informed consent rights in public health laws. NVIC.org is one of the oldest vaccine information websites on the Internet and the non-profit charity reaches more than 1.8 million people weekly through its website and social media following.
Go to NVIC.org to read and download Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law: A Guide, which is anchored with 250 references, and to watch a video. To sign up for NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal, which keeps Americans informed about vaccine legislation moving in the states, go to NVICAdvocacy.org.