Vaccine Hearings Need Your Input

Congressional Hearings on Measles Outbreaks (2/27/2019) and State Vaccine Laws (3/5/2019)ACTION NEEDED: Calls and Emails to Support Vaccine Exemptions and Share Vaccine Injuries Dear NVIC Advocacy Team Members,We wanted to make you aware of two upcoming federal committee hearings scheduled in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 27, 2019 and in the U.S. Senate on March 5, 2019 to discuss measles outbreaks and state vaccine laws. Communication with members of these two committees along with your U.S. Representative and 2 U.S. Senators to protect vaccine exemptions is absolutely critical.On February 14, 2019, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb made an inappropriate public statement warning state legislators that if they do not tighten vaccine exemptions in “lax laws,” then the federal government will take action.  Vaccine mandate and exemption laws are state laws. Federal officials threatening government intervention if state legislators do not restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions is federal interference in state rights.The truth is vaccine injuries happen.  No amount of industry sponsored attacks on state vaccine exemption laws or censorship of vaccine reaction, harassment or discrimination experiences over the internet or in the media will change that fact.NVIC issued a national press release Feb. 25, 2019 urging Americans to attend these Congressional hearings and to communicate concerns directly with elected officials because official testimony is by invitation only.  NVIC was not invited. Attacks on vaccine exemptions and attempts to limit free speech about vaccine reactions are resulting in bills working their way through state legislatures around the country on both sides of the debate.  As of Feb. 25th, NVIC is tracking 140 vaccine related bills across 31 states on the NVIC Advocacy Portal, and NVIC supports 61, opposes 74, and we are watching 5 to see what happens. There are currently bills filed in 8 states to add or expand vaccine exemptions and 11 states to restrict or remove exemptions. The lack of informed consent in the vaccination process has resulted in bills being filed in 12 states to improve vaccine informed consent.The U.S. Vaccine Market alone was $36.45 Billion in 2018, and expected to reach $50.42 billion by 2023. This is a very powerful industry with lots of resources to lobby and influence policy to remove parental rights to be able to delay or decline a vaccine. The industry benefits from forced use.Thousands of parents have attended state legislative public hearings across the country on bills to restrict or expand vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights. Many have included powerful testimony by parents describing how their children suffered vaccine reactions that permanently injured them or caused their death. The public conversation about vaccine exemptions, parental rights and civil liberties is happening right now in the halls of state legislatures and in Congress. You can be part of that conversation by using the NVIC Advocacy Portal to contact your state and federal legislators and make sure they understand you want them to protect vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights in America.ACTION ITEMS1) Plan on attending the hearings on February 27th and March 5th and calling and emailing members of the committees to express your support for vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights in light of the upcoming hearings. Share your vaccine reaction, harassment and discrimination stories and ask that they are relayed with the Representative or Senator because you don’t know if experiences like yours will be represented in the hearings. Feb. 27, 2019 U.S. House of Representatives public hearing on “Confronting a Growing Public Health Threat: Measles Outbreaks in the U.S.”  (contains link to live stream)Time: 10:00amLocation: 2123 Rayburn House Office BuildingU.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce (use links on committee site to fill out web contact form for email)Chair: Diana DeGette (CO): (202) 225-4431Chair: Joseph P. Kennedy (MA): (202) 225-5931Janice D. Schakowsky (IL): (202) 225-2111Raul Ruiz (CA): (202) 225-5330Ann M. Kuster (NH): (202) 225-5206Kathy Castor (FL): (202) 225-3376 John P. Sarbanes (MD): (202) 225-4016Paul Tonko (NY): (202) 225-5076Yvette D. Clarke (NY): (202) 225-6231Scott H. Peters (CA): (202)-225-0508Ex-Officio: Frank Pallone (NJ): (202) 225-4671Ranking: Brett Guthrie (KY): (202) 225-3501 Michael C. Burgess (TX): (202) 225-7772 David B. McKinley (WVA): (202) 225-4172H Morgan Griffith (VA): (202) 225-3861 Susan W. Brooks (IN): (202)-225-2276Markwayne Mullin (OK): (202) 225-2701Jeff Duncan (SC): (202) 225-5301Ex-Officio: Greg Walden (OR): (202) 225-6730 Mar. 5, 2019 U.S. Senate public hearing on “Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?” (contains link to live stream)Time:  10:00 AMLocation: 430 Dirksen Senate Office BuildingU.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (use links on committee site to fill out web contact form for email)Chair: Lamar Alexander (TN): (202) 224-4944 Richard Burr (NC): (202) 224-3154Rand Paul (KY): (202)-224-4343Bill Cassidy, MD (LA): (202) 224-5824Lisa Murkowski (AK): (202)-224-6665Mitt Romney (UT): (202) 224-5251Michael B. Enzi (WY): (202) 224-3424Johnny Isakson (GA): (202) 224-3643Susan Collins (ME): (202)224-2523Pat Roberts (KS): (202)-224-4774Tim Scott (SC): (202) 224-6121Mike Braun (IN): (202) 224-4814Ranking Member: Patty Murray (WA): (202) 224-2621Robert P. Casey, Jr (PA): (202) 224-6324Christopher A. Murphy (CT): (202) 224-4041Tim Kaine (VA): (202) 224-4024Tina Smith (MN): (202) 224-5641Jacky Rosen (NV): (202)-224-6244Bernie Sanders (VT): (202) 224-5141Tammy Baldwin (WI): (202) 224-5653Elizabeth Warren (MA): (202) 224-4543Maggie Hassan (NH): (202) 224-3324Doug Jones (AL): (202) 224-4124 2) Call and Email your own U.S. Congressional Representative and 2 U.S. Senators. Let them know about these hearings and that you wanted to express your support for vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights. Share your vaccine reaction, harassment and discrimination stories because you don’t know if experiences like yours will be represented in the hearings. If you do not know who your U.S. House Representative or 2 U.S. Senators are or their contact information, you can login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal, http://NVICAdvocacy.org, click on the “NATIONAL” tab, and your elected Congressional Legislators are automatically posted on the right hand side of the page.  Click on their name to display links to all of their contact information.  If a district office is close to your home, you may also consider visiting and meeting with local staff in person.3) Login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal, http://NVICAdvocacy.org, OFTEN to check for state and U.S. updates and action items.  We review bills and make updates daily. Bills can change many times over the legislative process and your timely visits, calls, and emails directed at the correct legislators are critical to this process. 4) Please forward this email to family and friends and ask them to register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and share their concerns with their legislators as well.   TALKING POINTS in the NVIC press release:Protecting vaccine exemptions is a parental rights and civil liberty issue. NVIC Co-founder and President Barbara Loe Fisher said, “The state and federal public hearings being held this year are an opportunity for Americans to communicate with their legislators about this important parental rights and civil liberty issue.”·       Vaccine laws are state laws. The federal government licenses vaccines, makes vaccine use recommendations and enacts vaccination requirements for persons crossing U.S. borders, while state governments enact mandatory vaccination laws for residents of states, including for children attending school. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional authority of state governments to mandate vaccines but warned that vaccine laws must be “limited in their application as not to lead to injustice, oppression, or an absurd consequence” and become “cruel and inhuman to the last degree.”·       In 2019 so far, 140 vaccine-related bills have been introduced in 31 states. Most propose to expand, restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions and informed consent rights. NVIC is supporting 61 of the bills, including bills to add or protect personal belief vaccine exemptions. There are currently bills filed in 8 states to add or expand vaccine exemptions and 11 states to restrict or remove exemptions. The lack of informed consent in the vaccination process has resulted in bills being filed in 12 states to improve vaccine informed consent.·       Few people qualify for medical vaccine exemptions. There are few federally approved contraindications to vaccination and most adverse health conditions and vaccine reactions do not qualify for a medical exemption to vaccination under federal guidelines.Federal officials threatening government intervention if state legislators do not restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions is federal interference in state rights. NVIC advocates for public participation in vaccine policy and law making. In response to a public statementmade by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Feb. 14, 2019 warning state legislators that if they do not tighten vaccine exemptions in “lax laws,” then the federal government will take action, NVIC’s President responded, “The constitutional authority to mandate vaccinations belongs to the states. The FDA Commissioner heading a federal agency legally responsible for regulating the safety and effectiveness of vaccine products sold by drug companies should not be threatening state legislators with federal intervention if they don’t restrict or remove exemptions in vaccine laws.”·       In 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court effectively removed all liability for FDA licensed, CDC recommended and state mandated vaccines. NVIC co-founders worked with Congress to secure vaccine safety informing, recording, reporting and research provisions in the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. The Act gave the pharmaceutical industry a partial liability shield for harm caused by government licensed, recommended and mandated vaccines and created a federal vaccine injury compensation program (VICP) alternative to a vaccine injury lawsuit. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that FDA licensed vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe” and effectively granted vaccine manufacturers a full liability shield, even when there was evidence a company could have made a vaccine safer. More than $4 billionhas been awarded to children and adults harmed by federally recommended vaccines since 1988 but two out of three petitioners filing injury claims in the VICP are denied compensation.Congress should hold oversight hearings on the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which has been seriously compromised by weakening amendments and federal agency rule making. For the past two decades, NVIC has been critical of federal agency implementation of the 1986 Act’s vaccine safety, research and vaccine injury compensation provisions. In 1999 and 2002, congressional oversight hearings were held on operation of the VICP, and the General Accountability Office (GAO) issued an investigative report in 2014 pointing out continuing problems with the VICP. NVIC Co-founder and Vice President said, “The integrity of the original law has been seriously compromised and no substantive action has been taken by Congress to repair damage done to the 1986 Act by eroding amendments and federal agency rule making. Part of the current focus by Congress on disease control and vaccine laws should include hearings to hold the Department of Health and Department of Justice accountable for betraying the trust of parents obeying laws to vaccinate their children.”Incentivizing grants are given to states by the CDC to achieve high vaccination rates.The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gives incentivizing grants to states to achieve high vaccination rates among children with federally recommended vaccines. States with higher vaccination rates receive “bonus” funding awards and states with lower rates may receive lower grant amounts. The CDC’s recommended childhood vaccine schedule currently is 69 doses of 16 vaccines given between the day of birth and age 18 with 50 doses given before age six·       There are many new vaccines coming that will be federally recommended and state mandated. There are 27 FDA licensed vaccines and 16 of them are mandated by different states for children to attend school. There are new vaccines in development, many of which will be federally recommended and considered by state legislatures for mandates in the future. Sincerely,NVIC Advocacy Team
National Vaccine Information Center
http://NVIC.org and http://NVICAdvocacy.org
https://nvicadvocacy.org/members/Members/ContactUs.aspxThe National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) works diligently to prepare and disseminate our legislative advocacy action alerts and supporting materials.  We request that organizations and members of the public forward our alerts in their original form to assure consistent and accurate messaging and effective action. Please acknowledge NVIC as originators of this work when forwarding to members of the public and like-minded organizations. To receive alerts immediately, register  at http://NVICAdvocacy.org, a website dedicated to this sole purpose and provided as a free public service by NVIC.