NVIC Vaccine News

USA Today: Eliminate Personal Belief Vaccine Exemptions

By Barbara Loe Fisher
Published April 16, 2014 in Government

Barbara Loe Fisher: Parents Should Be Free to Choose.
On Apr. 13, 2014, USA Today became the first U.S. national newspaper to call for an end to the personal belief exemption to vaccination in the U.S. and for narrowing of “strictly defined” religious and medical exemptions. In an opposing OpEd, NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher disagreed and said: “Non-medical vaccine exemptions immunize individuals and the community against unsafe, ineffective vaccines and tyranny.”
The OpEds generated a heated online debate among USA Today readers. Within 72 hours, there were more than 15,000 “shares” and 450 comments for the “pro-choice” OpEd and 3,000 “shares “ and 140 comments for the “anti-choice” OpEd. A USA Today reader poll overwhelmingly supported informed consent to vaccination and the freedom to take non-medical vaccine exemptions for religious, philosophical or conscientious beliefs.
Below is a fully referenced version of Barbara Loe Fisher’s OpEd that appeared in USA Today on Apr. 13, 2014. To read the USA Today OpEd, click here.
Leave Parents Free to Choose Vaccines
USA Today
Apr. 13, 2014
The public conversation about vaccine safety and choice began after Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 shielding drug companies from product liability and doctors from vaccine injury lawsuits.1 Under that law, $3 billion has been paid to the vaccine injured2 while liability-free drug companies enjoy profits from a multi-billion dollar market.3 4     
U.S. health officials now recommend 69 doses of 16 vaccines for every child.5 States mandate up to 15 of them - twice as many as 30 years ago.6  7  
With 95% of kindergarteners fully vaccinated8 and one child in six in America learning disabled,9 1 in 10 asthmatic10 and 1 in 50 living with autism,11 educated parents and health care professionals are asking legitimate questions about why so many highly vaccinated children are so sick.12 They are examining vaccine science shortfalls13  14  15  and wondering why Americans are coerced and punished for declining to use every government recommended vaccine16 while citizens in Canada, Japan and the European Union are free to make choices.17  
Vaccines carry two risks: a risk of harm18 and a risk the vaccine will fail to prevent disease.19  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admits that U.S. pertussis outbreaks are not due to a failure to vaccinate but failure of the vaccine to confer long-lasting immunity.20  21    
The Institute of Medicine acknowledges major gaps in scientific knowledge about how and why vaccines cause injury and death and who will be more susceptible to suffering harm. 22 23  Vaccine risks are not being shared equally by all because “no exceptions” vaccine mandates discriminate against and penalize those vulnerable to vaccine complications.  
Public health officials and pediatricians are not infallible and what is considered scientific “truth” today may not be true tomorrow. When doctors cannot predict ahead of time who will be harmed by a vaccine and cannot guarantee that those who have been vaccinated won’t get infected or transmit infection, the ethical principle of informed consent24  becomes a civil, human and parental right that must be safeguarded in U.S. law.  
Non-medical vaccine exemptions immunize individuals and the community against unsafe, ineffective vaccines and tyranny.


2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Statistics Report: Awards Paid. Health Resources Services Administration  Mar. 5, 2014.
3 Rockoff JD, Loftus P. U.S. Drug Companies Chase Vaccines. Wall Street Journal Sept. 29, 2009.
4 Transparency Market Research. U.S. Vaccine Market Is Expected to Reach USD 17.4 Billion by 2018. PR Newswire Sept. 13, 2012.
8 Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Vaccination Rates Among Children in Kindergarten – United States, 2012-2013 School Year. MMWR Aug. 2, 2013; 62(30): 607-612.
9  Boyle CA, Boulet S, Schieve LA et al. Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children 1997-2000. Pediatrics 2011; 127(6): 1034-1042.
10 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Asthma Statistics. Accessed Apr. 9, 2014.
11 Blumberg SJ, Bramlett MD, Kogan MD et al. Changes in Prevalence of Parent-reported Autism Spectrum Disorder in School-aged U.S. Children: 2007 to 2011-2013. National Health Statistics Reports Mar. 20, 2013.
12 Bethell CD, Kogan MD, Stickland BB et alA National and State Profile of Leading Health Problems and health Care Quality for US Children. Academic Pediatrics 2011; 11(3): S22-S33.
13 Institute of Medicine Vaccine Safety Committee. Adverse Events Associated with Childhood Vaccines: Evidence Bearing on Causality. Need for Research and Surveillance. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 1994.
14 Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Evaluating Biological Mechanisms of Adverse Events. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.
15 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies. Conclusions About Scientific Findings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2013.  
18Institute of Medicine Committee to Study New Research on Vaccines. DPT Vaccine and Chronic Nervous System Dysfunction: A New Analysis. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 1994.
19 Wendelboe AM, Van Rie A, Salmaso S, Englund JA. Duration of Immunity Against Pertussis After Natural Infection or Vaccination.Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 2005; 24(5).
20 Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pertussis: Frequently Asked Questions. December 19, 2013.
21 Szabo L.  US Whooping cough may be becoming resistant to vaccines. USA Today Feb. 18, 2013.
22 Institute of Medicine Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines. Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality. Increased Susceptibility. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2012.  
23 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies. Conclusions About Scientific Findings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press 2013.  
24 Nir E. Informed Consent. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2011.

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23 Responses to "USA Today: Eliminate Personal Belief Vaccine Exemptions"
Commenter Name
Pam Jacobs
Posted: 4/17/2014 2:05:19 PM
I am opposed to mandatory vaccination policies, and I consider it my right to select which, of any, vaccinations I am to receive and when. I am allergic to several of the adjuvants (additives) in vaccines, such as MSG in the shingles vaccine. I am also a vegan and refuse to be given vaccines that have animal components, such as the porcine gelatin that is listed on the ingredients for a shingles vaccine (it was listed in a full page ad run by the vaccine maker). There has been an increase in scientific literature regarding herd immunity and why it does not work as well as once thought. When vaccine manufacturers are held accountable for their drugs and side effects that harm individuals, perhaps at that time those who are opposed to vaccination mandates will reconsider their options.
Commenter Name
Kimberle Wiley
Posted: 4/17/2014 3:36:36 PM
I am also opposed to mandatory vaccination policies and would move to another country which allows choice if this became a reality! I am very healthy and intend to stay that way (all without vaccinations)! It is time for the pharmaceutical tyranny to end in this country! There are many viable alternatives to toxic vaccines. Many are found in Homeopathic Medicine. It is way past time that western medicine worked cohesively with alternative medicine towards building and sustaining healthy immune systems rather than western medicine's apparent soul goal of lining the pockets of drug companies!
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/17/2014 4:06:53 PM
Everyone should had the freedom to accept or deny something that is being injected into them! That is what America is supposed to be about! ...Or is that changing?
Commenter Name
Paul Thomas
Posted: 4/17/2014 4:20:51 PM
As a Pediatrician, and integrative medicine doctor who has seen hundreds of children neurologically damaged by vaccines, we cannot mandate such destruction. Are there benefits to vaccines? Absolutely! But the risks and benefits must be parental choice. If we were to find ourselves in the middle of some horrific epidemic of a vaccine preventable disease, then and only then might it make sense to work harder for greater vaccine coverage. There are simply too many children with genetic SNP's, and family histories making them too vulnerable to the serious vaccine side effects for us to make them mandatory. I can never seem to justify the medical exemption as I must prove to the state medical authorities that it is valid and that is near impossible. Thus the only mechanism left for educated parents is to claim either religius or philosophical exemptions.
Commenter Name
Joe Blow
Posted: 4/17/2014 5:16:37 PM
No one should be allowed to dictate what health care one avails themselves of.
Commenter Name
Kathy Sincere
Posted: 4/17/2014 5:25:48 PM
This is a story of what happened to me personally in 1968 at the tender age of 21. I went to a very good allergist in Chicago to discuss pet allergies. During the exam I complained to her that I was plagued with “cold sores” off and on in my life. She got very excited and said that they were trying a new protocol to treat herpetic lesions (cold sores) by giving smallpox injections. She explained that I probably wouldn’t get new scars because I had already had my smallpox immunization as an infant. Without thinking about it, I agreed to the treatments – I had four shots in each arm over a period of weeks. SMALLPOX VACCINES. I had no idea what I was doing. I thought my Mom would pass out when I told her about the shots (I was married at the time). My father was so skeptical of medicine that he never allowed me to get the polio “sugar cubes” in the 1950′s. Thank you, Dad. Today at age 66 I still break out in sores on my arms , sometimes spreading to the side of my back. They last for months. Doctors have biopsied them and come up clueless. I certainly know what it’s from….. I’ve done my own research on this debacle of human experimentation with smallpox (Dermatologists today have never even heard about it). As it turns out, JAMA warned about this “potentially dangerous practice” in a July 6, 1970 article and suggested “that this form of supposed therapy be discontinued”. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=355350 . IT WASN’T. Then the CDC did an article on the use of smallpox vaccination for the treatment of herpes - 12 years later! In their weekly journal on September 17, 1982, the CDC warned of “..the risk of using smallpox vaccination, a treatment with no proven effectiveness, for herpes disease. The Food and Drug Administration recently published a warning to all physicians on the inappropriate use of smallpox vaccination for herpes infection.” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001160.htm . So I was the guinea pig for this little experiment, just like our children are with various vaccines today. Here is the most important fact: I VOLUNTEERED for this vaccination experiment; no one FORCED me to do it. It is the same today; no parent should be FORCED to have these vaccine experiments performed on their children. ALL vaccines are unproven medical experiments; there have never been any long-term double-blind placebo studies to test their efficacy or side effects. That is the rationale for Personal Exemption.
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/17/2014 7:20:04 PM
I believe that it is our right to choose, PERIOD! I don't care what the subject is!
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/17/2014 10:11:55 PM
I do not believe vaccines should be mandated, nor do I believe parents should not be able to opt out of this money making scam. Think of your great grandparents and grandparents; they did not get or NEED vaccines and those generations of the past did not suffer at nearly the rates of disease that we do today. The cleaning up of our public water systems and better nutrition did far more to prevent disease than all the vaccines produced. With autism rates soaring, allergy rates soaring, asthma rates soaring as well as cancer rates, etc., it should be very easy to see that something ominous is happening. An argument can be made that most of the childhood diseases are actually good for building our immune systems and another argument can be made that pumping mercury, aluminum, cells from cell lines of humans fetuses, dog kidneys, eggs, anti-freeze, formaldehyde, and a other extremely toxic substances should not be, time after time, pushed into the arms of our totally defenseless babes.
Commenter Name
Ela conner
Posted: 4/17/2014 11:05:13 PM
Why do uneducated people that blindly follow corporations that are profit driven and not human driven want to force other people to be like them! Vaccines are dangerous and people that vaccinate their children are irresponsible. I was one of them until I actually researched the ingredients?
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/18/2014 12:04:05 AM
There seems to be no limit to the number of vaccines that they will pump into our babies before they even reach a year old. The reality is they don't have any way to predict the effects on any single individual child, (or adult). They admit to the "herd" philosophy as justification for the goal of 100% compliance, if we loose a few for the good of the whole "herd" well, that is just the cost of disease prevention! They actually admit that! This is a dangerous escalation of collusion between the abusive power of the state to coerce its citizens and unethical pharmaceutical companies desiring to alleviate the liability of the inherent uncertainty of their business of choice!
Commenter Name
Kathy S.
Posted: 4/18/2014 12:39:07 AM
Thank you Barbara Loe Fisher for fighting for our right to choose to vaccinate or not! I want the right to choose!
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/18/2014 2:13:26 AM
The true definition of herd immunity is the that 200,000 years the human race was exposed to disease and through nutrition and sanitation received permanent immunity. It has NOTHING to do with vaccination rates. The figures of disease outbreaks that are usually quoted are GLOBAL not U.S. statistics.
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/18/2014 5:10:50 PM
I recently registered my 4 years old son to start kinder this year. For the first time here in California I was asked to fill out a form that I needed to give to a medical practitioner to be signed for the school to accept my "personal believe exemption". I never had to do this with my "autistic?" daughter, who became "autistic" after 5 vaccines that were given to her when she was 1 year old ,perfectly healthy and with a lot of skills for her age since she started talking at the age of 9 months.... I decided to read and learn why a perfectly healthy child became so sick and brain damaged from one day to the other, the answer was clear: vaccines. In what mind is reasonable the idea that I will vaccinate my son after such an event. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to avoid vaccines like the plague, I will give my life if I have to, I will leave the country, homeschool if I have no choice, but my son, who has allergies, asthma and sizures even without vaccines, can not receive that poison to make him even sicker, I can not allow it, how could I?
Commenter Name
Terri Leigh
Posted: 4/18/2014 7:58:45 PM
We should NEVER be forced into injecting ANYTHING into our bodies. Should force be used, it should alarm us that something is very wrong! Vaccines DO NOT prevent illness, but DO cause autoimmune illness. We should NEVER allow profit to determine what we need to keep us healthy. We were created to be able to fight bacteria/viruses...if we cannot then we need to look at our diet and how we live our lives...vaccines are NOT the answer.
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/19/2014 1:33:02 AM
How do you research the ingredients? Editors NOTE: You can get links to the manufacturer inserts here:http://www.nvic.org/Vaccines-and-Diseases.aspx Just click on the disease/vaccine you are researching. Also we have the Vaccine Ingredient Calculator at:http://www.vaccine-tlc.org/ Your health. Your family. Your choice.
Commenter Name
Debi V.
Posted: 4/19/2014 8:27:34 AM
It's happening in the animal world as well. These are just anecdotal stories but 24 hours after vaccinating my young dog for parvo, he suddenly got sick. It was parvo. Last year we were going on vacation. The dog sitter required updated vaccines. The dog hadn't had the series in two years. This 7 year old dog was completely healthy. I thought, ah, I'm being a worrywart. Gave him the shots. Shortly after that, he looked funny. Within a few months we had to put him to sleep. Kidney failure. The vet had no idea why he got kidney failure. I have a horse who has something called Headshaking Syndrome. It's a neurological thing. May be an auto-immune disease. Some people think it's vaccine related. Especially over-vaccination. In the animal world, they get shots every year, sometimes twice a year in the case of horses, forever. Not just when they're young. Headshaking Syndrome causes jerking tremors that look a bit like Parkinson's. No known cure. These poor horses are pretty much shot and many wind up at slaughter if the owner doesn't want to feed a horse she can't ride for the next twenty years. My horse is a mild headshaker and I was trying some natural remedies (magnesium was one of them) as well as having cut out all vaccines. He was doing so well, we thought my daughter might actually be able to use him for 4-H last year. Well, 4-H in Jersey requires you to give your horses certain vaccines. Again, I thought, ah, I'm being silly and paranoid. I gave him the shots. One week later he started headshaking again. Maybe it's a coincidence. Maybe not.
Commenter Name
Posted: 4/21/2014 10:11:44 AM
No meter what are ones believes, vaccinations cannot be mandatory. I strongly oppose it!
Commenter Name
Posted: 11/6/2014 2:04:26 PM
It should be a choice. We have a right to choose what we put in our body, including food (GMO's, but I won't go there...), and vaccines. If measles, meningitis, hepatitis, etc are on the rise, the unvaccinated kids would be the most at-risk anyway. So it seems backwards to force people to vaccinate. Those that want to vaccinate can do so, and those that choose not to should not be forced. It is a personal choice. If a child in my kid's class at school gets the measles, and my daughter is vaccinated, then her risk is low. Now, if I didn't vaccinate my daughter and she got the measles and died, I would never forgive myself. This is not an easy issue for anyone, no matter what side you are on. I think everyone is fed up with the big drug and food companies. They absolutely cannot be trusted with our health in any way, shape, or form. We want our kids to be protected but not by injecting dangerous chemicals into their bodies.
Commenter Name
Posted: 11/12/2014 9:42:22 AM
I believe that it is our right to choose, PERIOD! I don't care what the subject is
Commenter Name
Miriam Guzman
Posted: 1/25/2015 7:01:24 PM
I strongly believe that is our right to choose. That's it. No wonder our children get sick so much from all this junk vaccinations.
Commenter Name
Miriam Guzman
Posted: 1/25/2015 7:03:26 PM
Enough is enough.... Vaccinations should not be mandatory.....
Commenter Name
P Ferguson
Posted: 3/1/2015 10:21:51 PM
I am a Public Health Nurse in Central Oregon, where vaccination rates continue to decline. This is happening not in our poor communities where access to care might be an issue, but it is happening mainly in the mid to high income areas. Public Health should trump parental choice....in most cases. The recent measles outbreak in California spread to an Oregon county just west of Central Oregon where I live and work. We may not be as lucky next time. Please read this well-written article.....and stay informed. Thanks for allowing me to share my opinions on this very important public health issue. http://www.thenation.com/article/198609/what-anti-vax-movement-doesnt-tell-you-about-measles#
Commenter Name
Dr Richard Muccillo
Posted: 4/28/2015 1:06:58 AM
As A physician I do not give vaccinations as I took an oath to do no harm---I believe Drs should give med exemptions to anyone that wants them--especially if you take away personal exemptions that a parent has a right to have--this is supposed to be a democratic country not Nazi America and people have a right to their beliefs and in Real America people should not be forced to abandon these beliefs be they religious or personal. The people who are put in office need to do their job and do as the people say not deviate and do as they please and they should be prosecuted and removed if they are satisfying the interests of political groups and taking the bribes of corporate america and anyone who sponsors a bill should never be able to serve on a committee to hear that bill as this is a conflict of interest!

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