New Vaccine Legislation in the StatesApril 26, 2011
We have a number of new state-level Action Alerts on vaccine-related legislation for you—some bills expand your freedoms, some restrict them, and one even wants to vaccinate your food!
Most states offer philosophical or religious exemptions from compulsory vaccination. In some states, religious exceptions include personal religious beliefs, whereas other states require the individual to be a member of a religion whose written texts explicitly prohibit invasive medical procedures. Even in states with exemptions, there are generally only two options: be vaccinated on the schedule recommended by CDC, or else get no vaccines at all. These laws do not allow for modified vaccine schedules or selectively vaccinating for some, but not other diseases.
Vaccine laws, including exemptions, are in constant flux—and it is important to keep an eye on them. The National Vaccine Information Center keeps a current list of the bills pending in the states.
A number of state legislatures—Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, New Jersey, and New York, for example—have introduced new bills that would preserve a parent or guardian’s right to refuse immunization for their child on philosophical or religious grounds. Some bills are allowing such exemptions, but are making the requirements stricter. We have a number of state Action Alerts which need your attention below.
In New York, there is a bill that would prohibit the sale of eggs unless they come from a salmonella-vaccinated chicken—even organic and direct-to-consumer farmers’ market eggs. This bill failed last session of the NY assembly but was recently reintroduced.
The bill was offered by two assemblymen from Manhattan after the salmonella outbreak last year from an Iowa CAFO—a Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation, factory farming at its most inhumane and its unhealthiest. New York has not had an outbreak of salmonella linked to eggs produced in the state since the 1980s. A voluntary egg quality assurance program, managed by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, governs nearly 90 percent of the eggs produced in New York.
This New York bill would set a terrible precedent. If passed, it could lead to ordinary food laws being taken over by Big Pharma and vaccine manufacturers, and we would lose all choice about our food. This bill needs to be stopped right here, and deserves the full light of publicity. We have an Action Alert below for New York citizens.
Our article “Vaccine Mania,” also in this issue, has much background information on the immunization question and the various issues at stake. We hope you’ll find it informative.
Your help is needed. These Action Alerts will help you share your thoughts with your local lawmakers about a number of bills currently being considered in state legislatures. If you are a citizen of any of the states listed below, please contact your state lawmakers immediately!
HB5043: To allow the parent or guardian of a child attending a day care facility to decide whether the child will be given a flu vaccination. (Remember that most flu shots still contain mercury.)
HB11: Freedom from Compulsory Pandemic Act—relating to emergency management, to repeal the authority of the governor to issue mandatory vaccination orders.
HB2094: Vaccinations are currently mandatory for all children in childcare facilities. This bill allows parents or guardians the right to decline vaccination for their child based on reasons of conscience or personal belief.
LD 694: Would require healthcare providers to disclose the ingredients of the immunizing agent to the parent or guardian of a child prior to immunization, and would allow the parent or guardian to refuse the immunization based on religious or philosophical beliefs.
SP 287 and its companion bill LD 941: Would prohibit mandatory immunizations of any person.
SB2625 and its companion bill A3836: Current law provides exemptions from mandatory immunizations for students based on religious beliefs; this bill amends the law and adds to the exemption the qualifier “of bona fide religious tenets.” This is an attempt to greatly narrow down the previously broader interpretation of the religious exemption for students. It will be interesting to find out what New Jersey legislators consider bona fide religious tenets.
A3746 and its companion bill S2659: Would restore powers to Public Health Council—which has no accountability to public or legislature. Therefore it could mandate vaccinations without legislative oversight.
A2450: Provides for exemption to mandatory immunizations on the grounds of a sincerely held or moral objection to the immunization.
A5912: Bill to vaccinate all egg-laying hens in New York State against salmonella.
A699: Bill to require HPV vaccine for all children born after 1/1/96. This is neither a safe nor a necessary vaccine.
A608: Bill to require meningococcal vaccination for 7th graders and college students.
S1331: Bill to add philosophical exemption to vaccination.
HB 2635: Bars immunization against hepatitis B for children under 10 years of age unless the parent or guardian of the child has received information on the side effects and negative reactions that may result from the vaccine, and the parent or guardian of the child has consented in writing to the vaccination.
SB1107 and its companion bill HB1557: Mandatory bacterial meningitis vaccination of all first-time college students. Currently mandated for first-time students living in on-campus housing only; these bills make it mandatory for all entering college students, regardless of where they live.