Oppose the Sanborn and Tucker Vaccine Bills That Widen The Vaccine Divide

The Vaccine Divide – The Problem:

Health authorities and families are increasingly at odds over the number and timing of vaccines given to children, with authorities pushing families toward the CDC recommended vaccine schedule, and families more often choosing less aggressive vaccine schedules, or no vaccines at all.

Vaccine interests have framed the problem as one that is driven by parents lack of education on vaccines, promoting laws that will require parents to go through vaccine counseling before being able to opt out of one or more vaccines that are mandated for school entry.  However, this is at odds with the research done on those opting out of vaccinating their children, which finds those eschewing the CDC vaccine recommendations are among the most highly educated parents.

Parents who are choosing a different vaccine path report that they are in fact very well read on vaccine safety and efficacy, and report that they are not following recommendations because they do not find the US National Immunization Program safe, accurate, responsible or trustworthy.

This conflict is now coming into focus in Maine, where vaccine interests have introduced LD 471/HP 310, An Act To Improve Childhood Vaccination Rates in Maine, written by the Maine Medical Association and sponsored by physician Rep. Linda Sanborn, into the state legislature to force parents to have a physician, nurse or physicians assistant provide vaccine counseling, and sign a form for the family, before school entry will be allowed.  Additionally, Rep. Ralph Tucker has now introduced a bill to remove the rights of children AND adults to access a philosophical vaccine exemption completely, underLD 606/HP 419, An Act To Remove the Philosophical Exemption from the Immunization Requirements for School Students and Employees of Nursery Schools and Health Care Facilities.  Both of these bills violate Mainer’s basic human right to free, prior and informed consent.

Why we oppose the the Sanborn/Tucker approach:

  • All research into vaccine uptake shows that it is the mostly highly educated parents who are the ones choosing to opt out of vaccination.
  • It forces parents into a conversation with a medical professional that they have likely either already had with their health care provider, or do not want to have with a health care provider.
  • It may require parents to pay a medical professional for an appointment where they are receiving no medical care or benefit.
  • It may force parents into a business relationship that they may not want to have.
  • It subjects ones personal philosophy and religion to scrutiny, and puts a sincerely held belief up for review by someone whose world view may be antithetical to their own.
    A bill that required a woman to visit a pro-life physician to have a conversation about her medical and moral choices, and to sign a form for her recording her counseling before she would be allowed to have an abortion would never be considered.
  • It discriminates against the non-religious community.
    Under the Tucker bill, if a Christian, Muslum, Jewish or other religious person decides to forgo a vaccine for himself or his child due to his world view he may use the religious exemption, but a non-believer may not forgo a vaccine for his child due to his world view.
    For example: Merck’s Verivax Chickenpox vaccine contains DNA from the MRC-5 cell line in which the virus is cultured. The MRC-5 cell line was developed in September 1966 from lung tissue taken from a 14 week fetus aborted by a 27 year old psychiatric patient. Christians may opt out of the vaccine for pro-life reasons with out consiquence, as they may file a religious exemption. Atheists opting out because of concerns over their child being injected with the DNA of an infant whose mother had a psychiatric diagnosis however, can be fired at the discression of their employer, and their children will loose the right to a public school education.
  • It discriminates against parents who opt out as opposed to parents who choose to vaccinate.
    Under the Sanborn bill, those who choose to vaccinate thier children are only given a CDC Vaccine Information Sheet that they are NOT required to read or understand before giving consent for vaccine delivery to a child. Parents who choose not to vaccinate are also given those same VIS statements but then are required further education in order to opt out. It is discriminatory to require more education of a parent who chooses to exempt their child from vaccination than what is required of a parent who chooses to consent to vaccination.
  • It results in “You’re a bad parent” paperwork being generated and filed.
    This process in practice achieves the goal of letting the family in question know that their decision to forgo a vaccine is the wrong decision. So wrong in fact that they need to be forcibly counseled on it, and that their bad parenting is being documented and placed in their permanent file. This is a coercive measure, and can potentially be used against parents in future proceedings.
  • It sets a precedent that parents need a “permission slip” to make medical decisions for their children.
  • Some parents in other states who have implemented measures like this have had difficulty finding a doctor to sign their paperwork.
    Doctors cite potential liability among their reasons for declining to sign a form for a family, because they worry that their signature on a form implies that they have given the family permission to opt out of a vaccine and that they may be open to a lawsuit if the child then contracts the illness in question.  Under the Sanborn bill, no medical providor is required to sign such form for a family even after vaccine counseling is given.
  • If a family cannot find a doctor or nurse willing to sign Sanborn form, or give the family a medical exemption, their child will be denied a public school education.
  • Doctors giving vaccine counseling have no accountability for the accuracy of the information that they are giving to parents.
  • The Sanborn bill requires counseling consistant with CDC vaccine information, precisely at the time that CDC vaccine safety officials generating that information are under investigation by Congress for hiding links they found between vaccines and catastrophic neurological damage in children.
  • The Learned Intermediary Doctrine, law which applies to vaccines, establishes that while pharmaceutical companies must provide full information on known risks of a vaccine to doctors, doctors have no obligation to provide that information to patients or families.
  • It assumes that doctors are informed on vaccine safety, when in fact, the experience of well read parents is often that their doctors do not even know the information that is given to parents on the CDC VIS statements or the information that is on the vaccine package insert and despite the fact that the State of Maine does not even provide the federal Vaccine Injury Table to Maine health care providers.
  • Doctors are not required to ask prescreening questions or run any testing whatsoever to rule out possible vaccine reactions before they make vaccine recommendations or vaccinate a child.
    If a doctor doesn’t ask a parent about the child’s history of adverse reaction to vaccination, or family medical history, then they don’t have enough information to make an informed recommendation about whether it would be safe to vaccinate a child. This measure does not require any gathering of necessary information, or a medical screening of any kind, thus should not result in any medical recommendations of any kind.
  • Doctors giving vaccine counseling have no accountability for the child’s adverse health outcomes due to the vaccine, even if the vaccination results in seizures, coma, brain damage and death.
  • It will only serve to anger parents who have already done their research, by treating them as if they are “stupid and uninformed,” and widen the current divide between vaccine resistant parents and mainstream medical providers.
  • Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that forcing parents to undergo vaccine counseling not only fails to increase their chance of vaccinating, but make them more vaccine resistant.
  • These bills are designed with the goal of increasing vaccine compliance and uptake, and does nothing to monitor, reduce or treat side effects, which are parents largest concern.
  • It assumes that all medical providers trust CDC vaccine information and agree that parents should be vaccinated according to state and federal recommendations; and it pushes them to provide counseling that they may not believe in.
  • It bullies and harasses parents who choose not to vaccinate.
  • Designers admit that the measures will make it “harder for parents to choose not to vaccinate,” and that eliminating the basic human right of medical informed consent is the goal of this campaign.
  • It does not address the true sources of vaccine rejection, the disregard by the medical profession of the safety of vaccinated children, the care and treatment of vaccine injured children and the rights of parents to vaccinate as they choose.

H.P. 310 and H.P 410 only makes the problem worse.  In turn, parents are proposing…

The Maine Vaccine Consumer Protection Program

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