Vermont Says No More Philosophical Exemptions to Anti-Vaxxers
The Vermont American Academy of Pediatrics (VAAP) have given their praise to Governor Peter Shumlin for signing HB98 into law which prohibits parents from using a philosophical exemption for vaccinations for their children.
Barbara Frankowski, president of the VAAP, said : “Eliminating the philosophical exemption will no doubt protect the health of Vermonters by increasing the states immunization rates and ensuring that it is more difficult for deadly and debilitating diseases to gain a foothold in the state.”
According to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), 56% of school-aged children attending K through 12 were below average for immunizations. And a surprising 26% were not up to vaccine schedule.
This translates to less than 88% of registered school children entering kindergarten who were vaccinated.
Shumlin said of the measure: “Vaccines work and parents should get their kids vaccinated. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue. I wish the legislation passed three years ago had worked to sufficiently increase vaccination rates. However we’re not where we need to be to protect our kids from dangerous diseases, and I hope this legislation will have the effect of increasing vaccination rates.”
In 2012, Vermont Senator Kevin Mullin supported a bill to stop parents from using philosophical reasons for exemption after a reported 83-93% of kidergarteners who are inoculated dropped sharply since 2006.
Mulin explained: ““There’s been a huge push back by the public on removing the philosophical exemption. People have to realize that when they make a decision not to have a vaccine that they are not just impacting themselves, they’re impacting the larger community.”
According to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), an advocate for “informed consent protections, this year alone 79 bills to mandate vaccinations were introduced across 29 states.
But after the measles outbreak in California, 14 states introduced legislation to revoke parental right to use philosophical exemptions, hitting the anti-vaxxer movement.
Mississippi has had a law prohibiting philosophical vaccine exemptions since 1979.
Maryland’s anti-philosophical exemption law has been on the books for 33 years.
Washington State representative June Robinson said vaccine exemptions “just makes it too easy” for parents to opt out and is responding with a bill supported by 11 co-sponsors because “we need to think about the larger community and what we’re doing, not just to ourselves and our own children, but also to all the people in the community.”
Because of this, Robinson Governor Jay Inslee and public health officials from King County have pushed on a last minute piece of legislation that “would do away with Washington’s personal-belief exemption for required school vaccinations, leaving medical or religious exemptions in place.”
Even the Senate has been brainstorming on how to deal with the anti-vaxxer movement.
Back in February, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions have convened to discuss state and local roles in protecting Americans from measles.
The major focus of this panel and discussion was on the cutting of 317 funding through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the pharmaceutical corporations being threatened by declining vaccination rates.
Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the anti-vaccination generation have affected the public health agenda to push vaccines. Parents not wanting their children to be vaccinated was discussed as an issue of parental ignorance that the unvaccinated are at higher risk.
The CDC mentioned the “misinformation” in various sources online that are influencing and causing complacency on the issue of public health.
The 317 grant program of the ACA has a #50 million reduction in funding for health outreach and education, will be billed to insurance companies through the CDC.
The CDC, tracking the ratio of autism rates to vaccination, based their stance on statistical data to decipher the correlation; however no direct evidence is used to come to this summation. Tracking the trends in autism and trends in vaccinations is important to the CDC because it is the basis of their argument for vaccines.
It was suggested that immigrant’s children may be part of the measles outbreak problem. Schuchat responded that state and local health departments continue to ensure that those coming into the country are vaccinated “regardless of where they are from”.
Senator Tammy Baldwin said the necessity of scientific data and production of pharmaceuticals must be protected regardless of the newest movement to reduce the amount of vaccinated “pediatric Americans” across the nation.