Maine Doctors Submit Testimony Showing That They Are Not Qualified to Advise Patients on Vaccination

The MMA, the Maine AAP and more than a dozen medical entities in Maine have asked the Maine Legislature to compel families to receive vaccine counseling from them before they would be allowed to opt out of a vaccine.  However, in their testimony on LD 1076 they have shown the legislature that they are not qualified to offer families such counseling.

If a medical professtional does not know the contraindications and potential adverse outcomes of a medical product, he is not qualified to administer it to his patients, nor is he qualified advise his patients on such a product.

Submitted to the Maine Legislatures Joint Committee on Health and Human Services:

Additional testimony in opposition to LD 471 and LD 606
Ginger Taylor, MS, Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice, Brunswick, Maine

Maine physicians are not qualified to guide patients on vaccination.

In 1986 Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act i. The law:

– Removed all liability from the medical/pharmaceutical industry for vaccine injury and death.

– Established the Vaccine Adverse Reporting Events System (VAERS), housed at CDC, to track potential vaccine safety problems.

– Established the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ii (VICP), housed at HRSA, to compensate vaccine injury cases, which established the Vaccine Injury Table of basic vaccine injuries, and makes judgments on off table claims.

– Required an HHS prepared Vaccine Information Sheet be given to parents and patients before a vaccine is administered that notifies them of some potential adverse reactions they may experience, and of the existence of VAERS and VICP iii.

This is SUPPOSED to be the safety system to prevent, diagnose, treat and compensate vaccine injury.  HOWEVER…

In the nearly 30 years since the Act was passed, the vaccine schedule has grown from 24 doses of vaccine to 70 for children today.  (Appendix 1)

All investigations iv into the VICP show that it is not properly compensating familiesv, and that it is hidden from the public vi.

While the Maine Immunization Program Provider Reference Manual vii provides information on VAERS to doctors, NO INFORMATION ON THE VICP IS PROVIDED.

You have heard the testimony of patients and parents who have experienced serious vaccine reactions.  They have reported that they were not given informed consent ahead of time, that they could not get their doctors to take their vaccine reaction claims seriously, that medical investigations of reactions and even deaths are not undertaken, that the were not told of the VICP, that they were mistreated in the VICP and that even when one claim was granted, they were abused by the VICP.

No substantive arguments have been offered yet as to why this legislation should not be enacted, on the contrary, the testimony offered on all sides of this bill support the need for its enactment.

Parents in these hearings have made the bold and difficult to believe claim that doctors are not qualified to counsel patients on the vaccine program and are ill informed.  In fact, of the 21 entities that have offered testimony opposing this bill, only one shows any evidence that they read and understood the bill.

Of the 21 entities testifying in opposition to LD 1076
On whether or not they knew about or understood the VICP:

9 gave testimony that showed that they didn’t understand the VICP (4 Medical Professionals Organizations, 3 Public Health Agencies, 2 Health Care Corporations)

11 gave testimony that was unclear on whether they understood the VICP or not (3 Pediatricians, 2 Medical Professional Organizations, 1 Health Care Corporation, 2 parents and 3 advocates.

1 Gave testimony that showed that she knew about the VICP, but that she believed that it “provides a swift, comprehensive alternative to litigation.” (Pediatrician representing a Health Care Corporation)

On whether or not they could differentiate VICP from VAERS:

8 confused VICP with VAERS (4 Medical Professional Organizations, 3 Public Health Agencies,and 1 Health Care Corporation)

12 did not give enough information to tell if they were confusing VICP with VAERS (1 Medical Professional Organizations, 3 Pediatricians, 3 Advocates, 2 parents and a Health Care Corporations)

1 could differentiate between VICP and VAERS (Pediatrician representing a Health Care Corporation)

On their reasons for opposing the bill:

9 stated only that they were opposed to the bill, and gave no explanation as to why (3 Pediatricians, 1 Medical Professional Organization, 1 Health Care Corporation, 2 Advocates and 2 parents.)

8 reported that it was redundant to federal legislation (3 Medical Professional Organizations, 3 Public Health Officials, 2 Health Care Corporations)

1 reported that it was redundant and a scare tactic

1 reported that it was anti-vaccine (Health Educator)

1 reported that DHHS should not be encouraging malpractice claims (Medical Professional Organization)

1 reported that it would not use credible information (Health Care Corporation)

Of the 21 entities opposing the bill, only one attended the hearing.

Quotes:

Michaud, Maine Medical Association: When asked about VICP rulings, “I don’t know.  I’ve never been involved in that system.”

Austin, Maine Hospital Association: On vaccine package inserts: “People don’t receive vaccines like they do other prescriptions… not sure there is a package here.”

Pelletier, Maine AAP: “The Federal Vaccine Injury Program provides appropriate venue for reporting and tracking vaccine related side effects.”

Belisle, Maine Quality Counts: “Many of the components of this bill are redundant to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System and Efforts already performed by the Maine Immunization Program in collaboration with providers and physicians state wide.”

Box, Maine Immunization Program/Former Asst. Dir: “Many of the components of this bill are redundant to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System and Efforts already performed
by the Maine Immunization Program in collaboration with providers and physicians state wide.”

Losey, Maine Immunization Program/FAAP Advisor: “LD 1076 to establish the Consumer vaccine protection program would fragment efforts to monitor and improve vaccine safety.  Our state’s relatively small population makes the experience much more limited and the efforts for the most part duplicate actions the us Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already involved in.”

Soma, Portland Pubic Health Director: “LD 1076, which would establish a vaccine safety office in Maine, would be redundant, as one already exists at the federal level.”

Michael, EMHS: “LD 1076 proposes to refocus the public’s attention away from credible public health information about the risks and benefits of immunization to establish a new governmental unit, apparently focused on promoting fear of potential injury, coercion and litigation.  LD 1076 places not just children, but all Maine citizens at increased risk of illness, disability and death.”

L’Heureux, American Nurses Association Maine: “the work of a vaccine consumer protection program is redundant to the scientific public health research of our Centers for Disease Control.”

Westhoff, Maine Osteopathic Association: “This already exists at the federal level.  It is redundant and would create a new state agency and a new level of bureaucracy that doesn’t need to exist and would do little more than scare parents from getting children immunized.”

Deborah Hagler, Matins Point: “…measure to create a Maine Vaccine Consumer Protection Program.  However, this task is already capably handled by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program which established a no-fault compensation program for those seeing redress from injuries from vaccines.  This existing federal program already provides a swift, comprehensive alternative to litigation.  Adding another bureaucracy to complicate matters would only frustrate and burden the state resources and would serve no purpose.”

i http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/authoringleg.pdf
ii http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/index.html
iii http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/current-vis.html#mce_temp_url#
iv Court Heaps Grief on Vaccine Victims, Makes Them Wait Years, by The Associated Press, New York Times, December 22, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/12/22/us/politics/ap-us-vaccine-court.html?_r=2
v Fixing the Flaws in the Federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, Peter H. Meyers, George Washington University Law School, Administrative Law Review, Vol. 63, No. 4, p. 785, 2011, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-20
vi VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION:Most Claims Took Multiple Years and Many Were Settled through Negotiation, GAO-15-142: Published: Nov 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2014.
vii https://www1.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/immunization/providers/manual/index.shtml

Appendix 1

Note that LD 1076 had nothing to do with the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.

In light of the testimony offered by Maine AAP and the Maine Medical Association, the Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice has requested that the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services ask the the following questions:

Questions for the
Maine Medical Association

Questions for the
Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

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