Dear NVIC Advocacy Team Members,
Pre-filing opportunities for new bills are just around the corner in many states. Meanwhile, there has been increasing media attention on parents concerned about vaccines and how that affects vaccination rates. We have already witnessed legislative restrictions on vaccine exemptions in some states. Well-funded and highly organized public heath, physician trade association and vaccine manufacturer lobbyists sometimes try and seed the media with articles emphasizing criticism for those who exercise their legal right to a vaccine exemption prior to prospecting a legislator. Watching the media can offer families concerned about preserving vaccine exemptions clues into what areas of the country are being primed for attempts to restrict vaccine exemptions.
We need your help to watch your local papers and news channels for articles and opinion pieces critical of vaccine exemptions, parents who delay or decline vaccination, and concern about vaccination rates. If you see anything, please let us know. Just send us a quick email note to director@NVICAdvocacy.org with a link to the article and a short sentence or two about what caught your eye. This way we can watch your state even closer and be ready.
We also need many more families registered at http://NVICAdvocacy.org. Please invite your family and friends to register so they can have access to information on the NVIC Advocacy Portal and receive email action alert updates about legislative activities in their state that could affect their rights to make informed, independent, vaccination decisions.
Below is a list of recent media coverage across the states signaling potential legislative or regulatory activity. We appreciate your support and we look forward to hearing from you!
Whooping cough hits Vail schools - http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/whooping-cough-hits-vail-schools/article_383f149b-817d-58e6-a1bf-f6176b93c2b7.html
“County health officials say any Empire High students who have not been vaccinated against whooping cough should not be allowed to attend classes or school-related activities for three weeks or longer, depending on whether future cases are identified.”
Whooping cough outbreak in 2010 tied to vaccine refusal - http://blog.sfgate.com/chronrx/2013/10/01/whooping-cough-outbreak-in-2010-tied-to-vaccine-refusal/
“Public health officials suspected the resurgence was linked with an increase in vaccine refusals. A new study now offers validity for that hunch, finding that personal belief exemptions were one of several factors responsible for the state’s resurgence of whopping cough in 2010.”
Vaccine refusal fuels whooping cough outbreaks, study finds - http://www.nbcnews.com/health/vaccine-refusal-fuels-whooping-cough-outbreaks-study-finds-8C11301986
“The 2010 whooping cough outbreak in California — the worst in 50 years — may have been fueled, at least in part, by clusters of parents who refused to vaccinate their children, a new study suggests.”
Colorado ranks second in U.S. for refusing vaccinations - http://www.fox21news.com/news/story.aspx?id=942599#.Um68Q_PnbIV
“Colorado is one of 20 states that allow parents to opt out of the shots because of a "personal belief opposed to immunization." Of those 20, Colorado the second highest in the nation for vaccine refusal.
A public-health ranking last year said Colorado's status had dropped because vaccine rates for the youngest children had slipped from 92 percent to 85 percent.
Health officials in El Paso County said the drop in immunized students is worrisome.
They said Colorado's education system makes it too easy to opt out of the vaccines.”
Some think religious vaccination exemption is too broad -http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130630/news/706309918/
“ "Religious freedom is protected under the Constitution, which provides a clear means for allowing such an exemption," Fergus said. "We tell districts that they should just have parents write a specific letter that clearly states that they are seeking an exemption on religious grounds."
But there is no mandatory check for the veracity of those beliefs. That's a major flaw to people like Annie Boesen, manager of immunization initiatives for the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group is a strong advocate for school vaccines.
"Parents don't have to get a note on letterhead from a pastor or anything like that," Boesen said. "There is no real process in place. What we are talking about now is tightening the religious exemption process."
The academy envisions something more akin to California's religious exemption. That version requires proof that the parent spoke with a pediatrician about their immunization concerns before deciding to still pursue the exemption. Boesen said that's a great added step because it forces parents to make time and talk to a doctor rather than just cutting and pasting an excuse they found on the Internet.”
Vaccine Exemptions Pose Rising Risks of Disease -http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinion/x1155596105/Dunlap-and-OReilly-Vaccine-exemptions-pose-rising-risks-of-disease
“ The DPH’s Immunization Program has seen an increasing number of religious and medical exemptions to vaccinations among kindergarten students during 2012-2013.”
More Cape parents opt to skip kids' vaccinations -http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131021/NEWS/310210317
“Public health officials say too many children are entering kindergarten without their recommended vaccinations — a trend particularly noticeable on the Cape and Islands.
Three times as many kindergartners in Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties enter school with medical or religious exemptions to vaccination as the state average, according to the state Department of Public Health.
The state exemption rate last year was 1.5 percent, but on the Cape and Islands the percentage of exempted kindergartners was 4.5 percent — second only to Franklin County in the western part of the state, where 6 percent of kindergartners had exemptions.
Public health officials fear a growing pool of unimmunized children will lead to increasing outbreaks of measles, mumps and whooping cough, said Dr. Ronald Dunlap, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.”
Can Oregon force kids to get immunized? - http://www.koin.com/news/oregon/can-oregon-force-kids-to-get-immunized
“The Oregon Supreme Court will decide whether the state can force parents to immunize their children.
The justices will begin hearing a case on Tuesday involving a Marion County family whose children were taken by the state last year.
In this case, eight children were taken from their parents for neglect or abuse. At issue is whether the state, as legal guardian for the children, can immunize them even if their parents object for religious reasons.
The number of parents in Oregon deciding not to immunize their children is growing. More than 6% of school-aged kids -- the highest percentage in the country -- are not immunized. State health leaders said as a result they see children, especially infants, hospitalized each eyar from preventable diseases like whooping cough.”
Outbreaks Make a Case for Vaccinations - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/us/outbreaks-make-a-case-for-vaccinations.html?_r=1&
“For at least a decade, the association has called on lawmakers to change the consent process for the state’s immunization registry, ImmTrac, to opt-out from opt-in to encourage retention of more records, reduce operating costs and protect more Texans against preventable diseases.
But conservative Republicans have consistently rejected the legislation, saying that it does not adequately protect patients’ privacy or liberty.
ImmTrac should remain a consent-based system, said Representative Stephanie Klick, Republican of Fort Worth, who voted against the legislation in this year’s session, because the state is handling patients’ private medical records.
“That way if something were to happen, they might have some clue that there had been a compromise to their privacy,” she said. “
Autism-vaccine fear confounds scientific community - http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/autism-vaccine-fear-confounds-scientific-community/nbSQw/
“Washington continues to lag behind the country in immunization rates, despite a 2011 modification in state law wise that requires parents seeking a personal/philosophical exemption for their children to first speak with their health care providers.
Analyzing the state immunization data from reporting school districts across Washington, KIRO 7 found the districts that have the highest personal exemption rates.
We focused our attention on districts with 25 or more kindergarteners and a philosophical exemption rate higher than the statewide average of 3 percent.”
State vaccination rates for children lag behind national rates – news release from WA State Dept. of Health -
“Immunization rates for Washington toddlers are below state and national goals, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Results from the CDC’s latest National Immunization Survey show that 65 percent of children under 3-years-old in our state got a series of recommended vaccines in 2012. That’s well below the goal of 80 percent. The national rate for this series is 68 percent.”
Whooping Cough Outbreaks Tied to Parents Shunning Vaccines: Study finds that areas with high rates of nonmedical vaccine exemptions also had high number of cases - http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/09/30/whooping-cough-outbreaks-tied-to-parents-shunning-vaccines
“New research confirms what experts have suspected: The decision not to vaccinate children for nonmedical reasons can have far-reaching effects, including raising the risk of infections for other children and their families.
Researchers compared areas with significant numbers of parents who chose not to vaccinate their children for nonmedical reasons to areas that were affected by the 2010 whooping cough outbreak in California. They found that people living in areas with high nonmedical vaccine exemption rates were 2.5 times more likely to also be located in an area with high levels of whooping cough.”
NCQA reveals immunization, substance abuse trends -
“But there's been no recovery in the 3.5 percentage point dip NCQA previously found in combination vaccination rates for commercial HMO children who receive other immunizations by age 2. NCQA linked this result to decisions by thousands of parents to refuse or delay recommended vaccinations for their children due to concerns about side effects.
NCQA reported each cohort of children vaccinated prevents 1.4 million cases of disease, reduces direct healthcare costs by $9.9 billion and saves $33.4 billion in indirect care fees.”
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