NVIC Calls for Vaccine Policy & Law Reform To Protect Human and Civil Rights

posted 5/18/2014

By Barbara Loe Fisher

No matter who you are or where you live, it is difficult to be part of a minority. It takes courage to follow your conscience. It takes courage to stand up and speak out for what you know is right when you are being targeted and sanctioned by those who claim it is their right to bully and shun you for who you are or what you believe.

This is especially true for those speaking out and standing up for the right to make informed, voluntary choices about using vaccines, a pharmaceutical product that carries a risk of harm and failure that can be greater for some than others. 1 2 3

Informed Consent to Medical Risk-Taking: A Human Right


The freedom to make voluntary decisions about what you are willing to risk your life or the life of your child for is a human and civil right.

It is a human right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to medical risk taking,4 5 6 including taking risks with pharmaceutical products like vaccines. In America, parents of minor children have the legal right and responsibility to make medical risk decisions for their children.7 8 9

Freedom of Thought, Speech & Belief: A Civil Right

Under the U.S. Constitution, Americans are guaranteed the civil right to exercise freedom of thought, speech and belief.10 11 12 The right to dissent and petition the government for redress of grievances and hold beliefs that may differ from ones held by the majority is protected because our nation’s founders understood that minorities must be protected from oppression by the majority.13

Targeted, Bullied, Shunned and Sanctioned

In America today, some citizens are being discriminated against and persecuted for following their conscience and making vaccine choices that do not conform with federal health policy. They are being targeted, bullied, shunned and sanctioned. 14 15 Doctors 16 and politically powerful special interest groups 17 18 19 20 associated with private drug companies 21 and medical trade associations22 have joined with government health officials23 24 and lobbying state legislators to eliminate or severely restrict the legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccine risk taking.25 26 27

Laws Passed Restricting Non-Medical Exemptions

In the past three years, laws have been passed in the states of Washington,28 California29 and Oregon30requiring parents filing non-medical exemptions to either undergo state mandated vaccine “education” or beg for signatures from pediatricians already refusing to provide medical care to children who do not get all 69 doses of 16 federally recommended vaccines right on schedule.31

Colorado Preserves Personal Belief Exemption

But this year in Colorado, concerned citizens turned out in force to publicly object to similar attempts by professional lobbyists to restrict vaccine informed consent rights.32 On May 2, 2014 the Colorado legislature became the first to vote to preserve the personal belief exemption to vaccination without modification.33

NVIC’s Pro-Vaccine Choice Message in Times Square

The same day that legislators in Colorado voted to affirm freedom of conscience in America, a pro-education, pro-vaccine choice message sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center was up on the CBS Jumbotron in Times Square celebrating freedom of speech.34 The message is simple: “Vaccinations? Know the risks and failures: Your Health. Your Family. Your Choice.” That 24-hour message in the heart of Broadway on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues in New York City is going to stay there through mid-July.

NVIC Publishes Vaccine Law Reform Guide

Today, the National Vaccine Information Center is launching a national campaign to secure vaccine safety and informed consent protections in state vaccine policies and laws. We have published a fully referenced guide for legislators and the public called Reforming Vaccine Policy and Law and you can view or download it for free online on NVIC.org.35 I wrote this Guide and it is anchored with more than 240 references and explains in detail why laws should be passed in every state to maximize vaccine safety for those choosing to use vaccines while protecting the legal 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 forced to get every government recommended vaccine.

These legal rights are important to preserve because, first, we are not all the same.36 37 We do not all respond the same way to drugs or vaccines just like we do not all respond the same way to infectious diseases.38

High Vaccination Rates and Vaccine Failures

Public health officials admit that for more than 30 years, the U.S. has had a 95% plus vaccination rate among children entering kindergarten for at least seven vaccines, including pertussis.39 40 Now, public health officials admit that children and adults can be fully vaccinated and still get infected with and transmit B. pertussis whooping cough to others without even knowing it.4142 There have been recent reported outbreaks of mumps and measles among fully vaccinated children and adults and the influenza vaccine has a less than 60 percent rate of effectiveness in most years.43 44 45 46 47

Pharma Shielded from Civil Liability

At the same time, the federal government has paid out nearly $3 billion dollars to victims of vaccine injury since Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.48 That law banned most vaccine injury lawsuits against drug companies selling vaccines and doctors giving them49 and, in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court went one step further and gave vaccine manufacturers a complete product liability shield – even when vaccines could have been made safer!50 This sealed a cruel fate for the two out of three vaccine victims denied compensation under the federal vaccine injury compensation program.51 Now drug companies can fast track and market new vaccines52 that may be more reactive and less effective than they should be because there is no legal accountability for anyone who develops, regulates, markets, gives and promotes vaccine use.

Individual Susceptibility = Unequal Vaccine Risk Burden  

During the past three decades, the Institute of Medicine has published a series of reports pointing out the large gaps in vaccine safety science,53 54 confirming that some people are genetically, biologically and environmentally more susceptible to suffering brain inflammation and other types of serious vaccine reactions but doctors often do not know who will be injured or die from vaccination.55 56 It has become very clear that one-size-fits-all vaccine policies place a disproportionate and unequal risk burden on those more vulnerable to vaccine harm.57

Have you or your child already discovered you are a member of that vulnerable minority who is at increased risk for vaccine injury- or do you have a relative or friend who is?

If so, then you understand why a law that compels everyone to use a pharmaceutical product which carries an unpredictable and greater risk of injury or death for a minority of vulnerable individuals – most of whom do not even know who they are – is not humane. There is nothing moral or just about a government policy that facilitates a de facto selection of certain individuals for sacrifice in the name of the public health.

Every Life Is Important

Every life is important and it is time for all Americans to stand up, speak out and take action to defend our human and civil rights when it comes to vaccine risk taking. Join with NVIC and help us secure vaccine safety informing, reporting and informed consent provisions in all vaccine policies and laws to protect both those  who choose to use every government recommended vaccine and those who don’t.

Please read the guide to Reforming Vaccine Policy and LawCheck out the referenced version and share it with your family, friends, community leaders and state legislators. Sign up to become a user of the free online NVIC Advocacy Portal that will inform you about vaccine legislation moving in your state.

What you choose to do, what we all choose to do right now will determine what kind of America we leave to our children and grandchildren. Because if the state can tag, track down and force individuals against their will to be injected with biological products of known and unknown toxicity today, there will be no limit on which individual freedoms the state can take away in the name of the greater good tomorrow.

It’s your health. Your family. Your choice. 

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Gardasil Vaccine, Katie Couric and Cyber-Lynching

posted 1/29/2014

by Barbara Loe Fisher 

The public flogging of veteran broadcast journalist Katie Couric began on Dec. 4, 2013, immediately after a 17-minute report on HPV and Gardasil vaccine was broadcast on her TV talk show “Katie.” 1 It was kick-started by a west coast business writer, who administered the first lash with a bizarre take-down of freedom of the press:
 “The real punch of the show was its portrayal of HPV vaccination as “controversial,” he charged.” Merely to ask questions is to validate them.” He ended with a sucker punch: “Katie Couric established her credibility as a spokeswoman for preventive medicine more than a decade ago...now she’ll be known for promoting junk medicine instead.” 2
“Is Katie Couric The Next Jenny McCarthy?”

Then, like piranhas in a fish tank full of fresh chum, an online clique of mean girls and bully boys let Katie have it right between the eyes.
“Is Katie Couric the next Jenny McCarthy?” sneered a headline for an article in which a cub reporter sharpened her claws on Couric’s credibility by hissing “The damage a former Playboy Bunny has been able to do is bad enough. But Couric’s misdeeds are all the worse given that she’s taken much more seriously than Jenny McCarthy.” 3
Continuing with that lame theme, an entertainment writer stuck it to Katie when she suggested that “To some, Couric's behavior is even more problematic than McCarthy's, given her stature as a respected journalist and former network news anchor, as well as her previous efforts to educate the public about the fight against cancer.” 4

One headline screamed “Katie Couric Hands Over Her Show to Anti-Vaccine Alarmists” 5 and another one gasped “Why is Katie Couric Promoting Vaccine Skeptics?” followed by an article written by a photojournalist sniping that “Couric needs to review her priorities.” 6

Katie Couric: Presenting HPV Information & Perspective

Katie’s unforgiveable transgression? On her afternoon talk show, she gave two mothers, who had witnessed their daughters’ health suddenly deteriorate after Gardasil shots, an opportunity to speak about what happened. 7 8 She gave an international HPV infection expert, 9 who participated in Gardasil vaccine clinical trial research, an opportunity to comment about the effectiveness of Gardasil vaccine and the need for all girls – whether they get vaccinated or not – to get regular pap screening.
10
She gave a pediatrician an opportunity to encourage parents to vaccinate their 11-year old boys and girls because “HPV vaccine does not seem to be any risker than any of the other vaccines we routinely use;” 11 12 and she gave a mother and her daughter an opportunity to enthusiastically endorse the vaccine. 13

Katie Couric presented information and a range of perspectives about a current topic being discussed by millions of parents and young women in homes and doctors’ offices across the country. She did it because she is an intellectually honest journalist, a compassionate mother and cancer prevention pioneer. Fourteen years ago, Katie Couric almost single handedly put a human face on the importance of colonoscopy screening, especially for those at high risk when she publicly witnessed about the tragedy of losing her husband and the father of her children to colon cancer. 14 After a long and successful career in broadcast journalism, in 2006 she became the first woman to anchor the evening news on a major U.S. TV network. 15

An Orchestrated Campaign of Intimidation 

The shaming of Katie Couric for caring and daring to ask questions about Gardasil vaccine, was a well-orchestrated campaign of intimidation. It was a warning delivered to all journalists that – no matter who you are – your character will be assassinated if you step out of line and question the safety or effectiveness of a government recommended vaccine.  

The cyber lynch mob 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 presenting opinion as unassailable fact delighted in quoting each other and did not reserve their vitriol for Katie. Two mothers on the show were ridiculed for describing their daughters’ Gardasil vaccine reaction symptoms, which are similar to those reported by many, many others in the U.S. and around the world. 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 The credentialed Gardasil vaccine researcher 44 on the show was attacked for stating that regular pap tests are the most reliable way of detecting and preventing cervical cancer regardless of vaccination, a position held by cancer prevention experts. 45 46 47

Katie Couric Encourages Informed Vaccine Decision Making 

Two days after the public flogging began, Katie interviewed the Assistant Surgeon General 48 before authoring an article for The Huffington Post responding to the firestorm with unapologetic professionalism. 49 She acknowledged her report could have spent more time putting the statistical risk of suffering a vaccine reaction into greater perspective but defended the inclusion of mothers reporting Gardasil reactions:
 “Some people say their children have suffered from a variety of medical problems after the HPV vaccination, and there have even been a few reports of death,” she said. “As a journalist, I felt that we couldn't simply ignore these reports. “
Katie reinforced a call for regular pap screening:
“There's been troubling research out of Australia that indicates some women are skipping their Pap tests because they have been vaccinated. That's a terrible idea. While the vaccine protects against some of the HPV strains that cause cervical cancers, it doesn't protect against all of them and regular Pap smears are essential for life-saving diagnoses,” she said.
Katie concluded her statement by encouraging critical thinking and informed vaccine decision-making:
“I had my own two daughters vaccinated against HPV. I hope that other parents will look at the research and the facts, and make a reasoned decision on the HPV vaccine and what is best for their children,” she said.
“Not Enough” He Says

However, Katie’s clarification prompted one bully to bring out the whip one more time. Under a headline complaining that “Katie Couric Backs Off from Her Anti-Vaccine Show but Not Enough,” he snarled,
“The video depictions of mothers and daughters in tears will stay with thousands of Couric's loyal viewers. Her written mea culpa, not so much.” 50
Perhaps he wanted her to walk across cut glass on her knees and wimper a little on camera so he could be convinced that she would be a good girl from now on and never, ever step out of line again.

Mothers Will Not Stop Witnessing

One thing is as clear today as it was 32 years ago when mothers publicly witnessed how they watched their children suffer brain inflammation or die after being injected with the old, crude and toxic DPT vaccine. 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 Clearly, when mothers stand up in the public square today and describe how Gardasil vaccine risks for their daughters turned out to be 100 percent, deniers of vaccine risks get really, really emotional. They get angry and defensive. They gather together in a pack, take out the rope and start cyber-lynching.

Mothers around the world, who give birth to babies they are responsible for nurturing through infancy and childhood, are not going to stop talking about what happened to their children after vaccination. Mothers are not going to shut up and sit down like good little girls after they witness the bodies and brains of the children they love be destroyed when Gardasil shots go wrong.

Mothers Will Not Stop Thinking Critically 

They are not going to stop reading the medical literature and thinking critically about the science 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 used to justify giving every child the most expensive federally recommended pediatric vaccine on the U.S. market 72 to prevent an infection that is cleared by more than 90 percent of people without a problem; 73 74
  • a vaccine developed by NIH researchers 75 using GMO technology that was sold by NIH to Merck 76 and fast-tracked to licensure using questionable surrogate markers for efficacy; 77 78
  • a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease that was tested in fewer than 1,200 children under the age of 16 79 using a bioactive aluminum “placebo” as a bogus control in clinical trials; 80 81 82 83 84
  • a vaccine that was only tested in 1,000 adolescent girls and boys in combination with the federally recommended Tdap and meningococcal vaccines; 85
  • a vaccine given by pediatricians shielded from legal accountability for vaccine injuries and deaths just like vaccine manufacturers are shielded from civil liability in U.S. courts; 86
  • a vaccine that by Dec. 13, 2013, had generated nearly 30,000 adverse reaction reports to the U.S. government, including 140 deaths 87 - which is only a fraction of the numbers of Gardasil reactions, injuries and deaths that have actually occurred because most doctors either do not report to the government or make reports directly to Merck. 88 89 90
Federal Awards, Lawsuits, Gardasil Recommendation Withdrawal
Yes, it is illogical to assume that every single one of the reported Gardasil reaction reports and deaths are caused by the vaccine but it is just as illogical to assume that none of them are caused by the vaccine. But logic has nothing to do with one-size-fits-all vaccine policies that sacrifice individuals, who are biologically or environmentally at high risk for suffering vaccine harm, 91 while no research is being done to identify who they are to spare their lives.

Informed mothers know that among the $3 billion dollars in federal compensation that has been awarded to vaccine victims in the U.S. are awards for Gardasil vaccine injuries. 92 They know Gardasil vaccine injured girls are suing vaccine manufacturers in France, where citizens can still file product liability lawsuits. 93  They know that public health officials in Japan no longer recommend Gardasil vaccine because Japan’s government is not writing off every death and case of brain inflammation and autoimmunity following Gardasil shots as just a “coincidence.” 94

HPV Vaccination Made a Top Public Health Priority in U.S.

In what may or may not be a coincidence, at the end of December the Centers for Disease Control made HPV vaccination one of the top five "public health priorities" for 2014. In one media article, 95 the HPV vaccination rate of 30% in the U.S. was compared to the 85 percent vaccination rate in Rwanda, an impoverished, war-torn country where women have been dying in great numbers from cervical cancer because there has been no routine pap screening available to them. In 2011, Merck created a school-based vaccination program for all sixth graders in Rwanda to be injected with three doses of Gardasil vaccine. 96

But the United States is not Rwanda.

In America, cervical cancer has declined more than 70% after pap screening became a routine part of women’s health care in the 1960’s and, by 2006, pap tests had driven down the numbers of new cases of cervical cancer to 9,700 per year with about 3,700 deaths 97 in a U.S. population of more than 300 million people.  In the U.S. the 14,000 annual deaths from six cancers associated with HPV98 99 100 101 102 103 104 represents less than 3 percent of the more than 550,000 cancer deaths that occur every year.

Many Other Public Health Emergencies in U.S. Deserve Priority Status
 
There are many public health emergencies in our country that cause far more deaths and disabilities but do not receive a fair share of the hundreds of billions of dollars appropriated by Congress to health agencies every year.105  For example:
  • Between 210,000 and 440,000 hospitalized patients each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death; 106
  • The U.S. has the worst infant mortality 107 and maternal mortality 108 109 rates of all developed nations, with 28,000 babies dying before their first birthday; 110
  • Millions of children are becoming disabled or dying in the unexplained chronic illness epidemic 111 that costs trillions of dollars to treat: 1 child in 6 in America is learning disabled; 112 1 in 9 suffers with asthma; 113 1 in 10 has ADHD; 114 1 in 50 develops autism 115 and 1 in 450 becomes diabetic.116
  • Millions more are suffering with mental health problems. One adolescent in 5 in the U.S. experiences significant symptoms of emotional distress and one in ten is emotionally impaired. 117
Bigger Market for Merck & HPV Vaccine Mandates?

Perhaps the CDC is simply boosting the congressionally approved, lucrative public-private partnership with Pharma 118 119 120 121 122 123 124  by securing a bigger market for Merck's new 9-strain version of Gardasil scheduled to be licensed in the fall of 2014.125 Or perhaps the Merck-Government-Medical Trade lobby is planning another multi-state roll-out of HPV vaccine mandates for all sixth grade children in the U.S. just like they did in 2007.126 127 128

Roll Up Your Sleeve - No Questions Asked


Only time will tell why increasing HPV vaccine uptake has been made the Number One Public Health Priority in America or why the bully boys and mean girls got on their high horses and tried to make a horrible warning out of Katie Couric.  Whatever the reasons, many more Americans now understand that the cruel dogmatic position of vaccine risk denialism is:
Whatever the reasons that government officials made HPV vaccination a top public health priority in the U.S., the cyper-lynching of Katie Couric and mothers reporting Gardasil vaccine reactions is a warning to parents everywhere. Do no forget that the cruel, dogmatic position of vaccine risk denialism is: Roll up your sleeve - no questions asked - and “may the odds be ever in your favor.” 129
130

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Vaccination During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

 posted 11/12/2013

by Barbara Loe Fisher

It was 1977 when I found out I was going to become a Mom. I instinctively knew I needed to be careful while I was pregnant, especially during the first two trimesters when the major organ systems of the fetus develop at a rapid rate. In the 1960’s there had been a lot of publicity about babies dying or being born without arms or legs because women had taken a drug (Thalidomide) for morning sickness in the first or second trimester of pregnancy1  and I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to protect my health and the health of my baby before and after he was born.
 
Mothers to be in my generation were told to take extra vitamins and eat nutritious food but, most of all, to avoid anything that could harm the developing fetus like alcohol, cigarette smoke, medications, radiation, household cleaning products and other toxic exposures. Some of us were aware of the risks of heavy anesthesia during delivery and signed up for Lamaze classes to prepare for a drug-free birth, which many obstetricians discouraged, and we chose to breastfeed, even though a lot of pediatricians were pushing formula and bottles back then.
 
Today, pregnant women face a different set of difficult questions and choices about keeping themselves and their babies healthy. Among them are whether or not to get vaccinations during pregnancy that public health officials, obstetricians and pediatricians say will protect pregnant women and their newborns from getting sick with influenza and B. pertussis whooping cough.  
 
Toxic Exposures & Assumption of Safety - Is It A Good Idea?
 
Although since the 1970’s public health officials have recommended influenza vaccinations for pregnant women in the second or third trimester,2 relatively few obstetricians promoted the vaccine until the past decade when, in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strengthened recommendations that all pregnant women, healthy or not, should get a flu shot in any trimester.3 Then, in 2011, a pertussis containing Tdap shot was recommended for all pregnant women, preferably after 20 weeks gestation.4  Both current vaccine recommendations5  6  7  are endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)8 9 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical trade associations.10 11
 
With these recommendations, the time-honored rule of avoiding any potential toxic exposure that might interfere with the normal development of the fetus has been suspended and replaced with an assumption that vaccination during pregnancy is safe. But what is the scientific evidence documenting that this assumption is a well-informed one?
 
Glaring Lack of Safety Testing
 
You have to look no further than information in the vaccine manufacturer product inserts and posted online by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to quickly answer that question. 
FACT: Drug companies did not test the safety and effectiveness of giving influenza or Tdap vaccine to pregnant women before the vaccines were licensed in the U.S.12 13  and there is almost no data on inflammatory or other biological responses to these vaccines that could affect pregnancy and birth outcomes.14

FACT:  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists influenza and Tdap vaccines as either Pregnancy Category B or C biologicals15 which means that adequate testing has not been done in humans to demonstrate safety for pregnant women and it is not known whether the vaccines can cause fetal harm or affect reproduction capacity. The manufacturers of influenza and Tdap vaccines state that human toxicity and fertility studies are inadequate and warn that the influenza and Tdap vaccines should “be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.”16 17 18

FACT: There are ingredients in influenza and pertussis containing Tdap vaccines that have not been fully evaluated for potential genotoxic19 or other adverse effects on the human fetus developing in the womb that may negatively affect health after birth, including aluminum adjuvants, mercury containing (Thimerosal) preservatives and many more bioactive and potentially toxic ingredients.20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

FACT: There are serious problems with outdated testing procedures for determining the potency and toxicity of pertussis vaccines and some scientists are calling for limits to be established for specific toxin content of pertussis-containing vaccines.30

FACT: There are no published biological mechanism studies that assess  pre-vaccination health status and measure changes in brain and immune function and chromosomal integrity after vaccination of pregnant women or their babies developing in the womb.31

FACT: Since licensure of influenza and Tdap vaccines in the U.S., there have been no well designed prospective case controlled studies comparing the health outcomes of large groups of women who get influenza and pertussis containing Tdap vaccines during pregnancy either separately or simultaneously  compared to those who do not get the vaccines, and no similar health outcome comparisons of their newborns at birth or in the first year of life have been conducted. Safety and effectiveness evaluations that have been conducted are either small,32 retrospective,33 34 compare vaccinated women to vaccinated women35 or have been performed by drug company or government health officials using unpublished data.36

FACT: The FDA has licensed Tdap vaccines to be given once as a single dose pertussis booster shot to individuals over 10 or 11 years old.  The CDC’s recommendation that doctors give every pregnant woman a Tdap vaccination during every pregnancy - regardless of whether a woman has already received one dose of Tdap - is an off-label use of the vaccine.37

FACT: Injuries and deaths from pertussis-containing vaccines are the most compensated claims in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and influenza vaccine injuries and deaths are the second most compensated claim.38

FACT: A 2013 published study evaluating reports of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) following vaccination in the U. S. Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and in a European vaccine reaction reporting system found that seasonal influenza vaccine was the most frequently suspected cause of brain inflammation after 18 years old, representing 32 percent of the total cases reported, and pertussis containing DTaP was among the vaccines most frequently associated with brain inflammation in children between birth and age five.39

FACT: When a pregnant woman is harmed by an influenza or Tdap vaccine, drug companies selling the vaccines in the U.S., doctors and other vaccine providers are shielded from vaccine injury lawsuits40 but it is unclear whether vaccine injuries sustained by an unborn child in the womb will qualify for federal vaccine injury compensation.41
Rush to Vaccinate: Policy Preceding Science

In addition to lack of credible scientific evidence to demonstrate safety,42 43 there is not enough credible epidemiological and biological mechanism evidence to demonstrate it is effective or necessary 44 45 46 47 for every pregnant woman to get an influenza and Tdap shot during every pregnancy. The rush to vaccinate pregnant women and reach into the womb to try to passively vaccinate the developing fetus48 49 is a clear case of policy preceding science.

An experimental genetically engineered nanoparticle vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and another one for Group B Streptococcus are in advanced clinical trials and reportedly likely will be exclusively recommended for pregnant women after they are licensed.50 With new vaccines on the horizon that will target pregnant women, it is critically important that more bad vaccine policy does not precede good vaccine science.

Pregnant women today need to take a long, hard look at the well advertised but theoretical benefits and unknown risks of getting vaccinated during pregnancy before making a vaccine decision. It is especially important when there are so many warning signs that America’s highly vaccinated child and adult population in the 21st century is not very healthy.
 
Maternal and infant mortality statistics are a classic measure of a nation’s public health status and, in this country, here are red flags that cannot be ignored any longer.
 
Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates High in America
 
How many young couples of child bearing age know that women getting pregnant and delivering babies in America today have more than twice the risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth or after giving birth than they did three decades ago?51 52  Women having babies are dying of heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke, infection of the blood, diabetes and blood clots in greater numbers because the maternal death rate in America has been climbing since 1987.53 We now rank a dismal number 50 in maternal mortality in the world, which is worse than that of most European countries and some countries in Asia and the Middle East.54
 
Equally shocking is the fact that the U.S. now has the highest first day infant death rate of all industrialized countries55 and ranks number 31 among nations in infant mortality.56 Preterm birth rates have increased 36% since the early 1980’s57 and 6 out of every 1,000 babies born alive in America die before their first birthday.58
 
Birth defects, chromosomal damage, premature birth, low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome are the leading causes of death for about 23,000 newborn infants every year,59 with half of those deaths occurring on the first day of life. A baby born in America is twice as likely to die within the first 24 hours as babies born in the European Union.60
 
Why Is Health in the U.S. on Such A Steep Decline?
 
U.S. public health officials say there are “no clear” answers for why our maternal mortality rate is skyrocketing.61 They don’t know why so many of our babies are dying on the first day and within the first year of life, in stark contrast to many other nations where maternal and infant mortality rates are declining.
 
Public health officials also can’t figure out why so many infants and children in America are plagued with brain and immune system problems. The unprecedented, unexplained chronic disease and disability epidemic 62 has gotten worse in the past three decades – with 1 child in 6 now learning disabled; 63 1 in 9 suffering with asthma;64 1 in 50 developing autism;65 1 in 400 becoming diabetic66 and millions more suffering with severe food allergies,67 inflammatory bowel disease 68 and other chronic illness.69 70
 
The health of American adults has also deteriorated during the past three decades compared to other wealthy nations where health is improving71  and our life expectancy is worse than many other countries as well.72 The CDC says that today chronic diseases are the most common and costly causes of death and disability with about half of all adults living with at least one chronic illness.73
 
U.S. Number One Market for Drugs & Vaccines
 
What is not on the list of potential causes for this failing public health report card is lack of access to drugs and vaccines. With a population of 316 million people out of 7 billion people on the earth, the U.S. spends nearly $3 trillion dollars per year on health care74 - more than any other nation in the world75 76 - and we consume 40 percent of all drugs sold globally.77 78 79 In addition, America is the leading purchaser of vaccines in the world’s $32 billion dollar vaccine market.80 81 82
 
Since 1981, 95 percent of all children entering kindergarten have received multiple doses of seven vaccines including pertussis and measles vaccines.83  In 1991, the CDC recommended all infants get a hepatitis B shot at 12 hours old84 and, by 2012, more than 70 percent of all newborns had received a hepatitis B shot at birth while between 80 and 90 percent of three year olds had gotten multiple doses of eleven vaccines.85
 
In a crusade to eliminate an expanding list of microbes, U.S. health officials currently direct pediatricians to give children 49 doses of 14 vaccines by age six starting on the day of birth with more than two dozen doses administered by an  infant’s first birthday.86 More than two dozen additional vaccinations are recommended or mandated for teenagers and adults, including annual flu shots throughout life.87
 
Has Mandated Use of More Vaccines Compromised America’s Health?
 
Every state in the U.S. has laws requiring dozens of vaccinations for daycare and school attendance88 in contrast to neighboring Mexico and Canada, which recommend but do not mandate vaccines (a provision in Canada’s Constitution prohibits compulsory vaccination).89 

Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland and Norway recommend but do not legally require vaccines and 15 countries in the European Union, including United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Greece, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland and Austria similarly recommend but do not mandate vaccines.90 All of these countries have lower infant mortality rates than the U.S. and do not recommend that infants under one year old get as many vaccines as American infants do.91 In fact, no other country legally requires92 the numbers of vaccinations that the U.S. does for children to attend daycare and school or for adults to keep their jobs.93
 
It is no wonder that more Americans are asking questions about why our children need so many vaccines and why adults need to get a flu shot every year – even during pregnancy – when our population is already the most vaccinated in the world but far less healthy than other countries that do not mandate or recommend so many vaccines.
 
Ask for the Science
 
If you are pregnant and have other children, be aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging pediatricians to vaccinate parents bringing their children in for sick or well baby visits, especially pregnant women.94 If an obstetrician or pediatrician pressures you to get vaccinated while you are pregnant, ask the doctor to show you the science. If you conclude the vaccine’s benefits do not outweigh the risks for you and your baby but are threatened or sanctioned in any way for making an informed choice, you should find another doctor who will treat you with respect and honor your health care choices.
 
Go to NVIC.org to learn more and sign up for NVIC’s free online Advocacy Portal so you can work to protect the freedom to make voluntary vaccine decisions in your state.
 
It’s your health, your family, your choice.
 
 
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