Vermont Legislature Battles over VaccinesMay 1, 2012
As we reported in March, a bill threatening a parent’s right to refuse vaccination for their child using a philosophical exemption was introduced in Vermont, and it could all be decided this week. Currently, Vermont is one of twenty states in the US that allow a philosophical, personal, or conscientious belief exemption to vaccination, though the pharmaceutical and medical trade association lobbies are mounting a campaign to persuade state legislators to strip philosophical or conscientious belief exemptions to vaccination from state public health laws.
Vermont has one of highest philosophical exemption rates among the states that allow it, and the percentage of vaccinated children is below the national average. Yet Vermont is ranked as the country’s “healthiest” state! Clearly, Vermonters want health freedom on vaccine choice.
Vermont is also the “greenest” state in the US. Vermonters understand that natural health and environmentalism are both about leading a life more in tune with nature, a non-toxic lifestyle in a non-toxic environment. Natural health and environmentalism should be working together.
So why does the philosophical exemption generate such vehement reactions by both the public and the medical community? Most of it is about the concept of “herd immunity,” that by not vaccinating your child you may be putting others at risk. As our colleagues at ANH-Europe note, “herd immunity” is a theory is that if a certain proportion of any population is inoculated against a disease through vaccination, it inhibits the spread of that disease within the population.
Unfortunately, that argument is not internally consistent. On the one hand, the theory goes, people who cannot receive vaccines for whatever reason (say, on religious grounds, or due to a sensitivity to a vaccine’s ingredients) are protected from the disease through a high level of vaccination within the rest of society. On the other hand, parents who don’t vaccinate their children put the health of wider society at risk. How can a handful of people not getting vaccinated be protected from getting sick while at the same time being so disease-ridden that it makes others sick? It doesn’t make sense. Yet health authorities, media commentators, and schools and parent-teacher associations waste no opportunity to bash parents over the head with this message.
The problem is, “herd immunity” is only a theory, and one that developed out of observations of natural immunity, not vaccination effects. Statisticians observed that populations were protected when sufficient members contracted the wild form of a disease, and subsequently acquired lifelong immunity. We simply do not know whether or not the same is true of vaccination in general, or of particular vaccines.
More to the point, the evidence shows that unvaccinated children can catch infectious diseases from vaccinated children! Vaccination does not always provide long-term effects as advertised. During a whooping cough outbreak in California in 2010, immunized children between eight and twelve years of age were more likely to catch the disease than kids of other ages—suggesting that the childhood vaccine wears off as kids get older, according to new research.
In other words, this powerful supporting plank of vaccine theory has no real basis in science. That’s why vaccine manufacturers push the “herd immunity” theory so hard: it sounds plausible until you really dig into the science, it sells more vaccines, and it helps to maintain an environment in which vaccines are considered essential for health.
Then there’s the question of bioindividuality. A number of children have genetic variances that make them unable to detoxify the toxic heavy metals and adjuvants in vaccines. This should be enough to qualify the child for a medical exemption, but because mainstream medicine does not recognize bioindividuality, medical exemptions are usually reserved for more mainstream medical problems.
Of course, the vaccines may be dangerous even to patients who don’t have detoxification issues. A report published this month found that immunoglobulins and vaccines have had more FDA recalls than other drug classes—there were twenty-seven recalls between 2007 and 2010 alone, some for “serious adverse events,” others for quality defects or manufacturing defects. As Dr. Joseph A. Mercola points out, pandemic vaccines are 100 percent risk-free for the vaccine maker, because the pharmaceutical industry lobby made sure that laws were passed by Congress after 9/11 that exempted them from any liability for injuries and deaths caused by government-recommended vaccines used to counter potential pandemics.
Since our last update, the Vermont Senate voted to revoke the exemption, while the House voted to retain it. A look at the bill’s history indicates how contentious the issue has been. The bill is now being discussed in conference committee to negotiate terms. A decision should be reached within the week.
We have updated our Action Alert for Vermont residents. Even if you contacted your legislators on this bill previously, please contact them again immediately and urge the conference committee to uphold a parent’s right to refuse vaccination for their child using a philosophical exemption!