Sticking It To Children in New Jersey
by Barbara Loe Fisher
It wasn’t like any of the parents, who showed up in Trenton on Dec. 10, 2007 to witness members of the New Jersey Public Health Council vote on a new vaccine mandates proposed by state health department officials, were surprised by the thumbs-up 7-2-2 vote by political appointee members of the Council. For the past two decades every time state health department officials have pushed to require children to get another new vaccine to attend school, the new vaccine has been automatically added to state vaccine mandates under rule making authority held by state health officials and without a vote by the people. Hoping to set precedent for other states to follow suit, this time New Jersey officials are ramming through mandates that will ban babies and toddlers from daycare or pre-school without two doses of influenza vaccine and three doses of pneumococcal vaccine while sixth graders will have to show proof by Sept. 1, 2008 that they have gotten a dose of TdaP and meningococcal vaccine.
New Jersey is about to become the first state to make children get flu shots despite a lack of scientific evidence that influenza vaccine is very effective in preventing Type A or Type B influenza in children.
If NJ Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs and NJ Governor Joe Corzine approve the new requirements written by health department officials, then New Jersey will lead the nation in vaccine mandates by forcing children to get 35 doses of 13 vaccines.
Federal and state health officials refuse to publish credible scientific evidence that demonstrates it is necessary or healthy to force children to get so many vaccinations by sixth grade. They also continue to deny that the doubling of the numbers of vaccines mandated for child use over the past quarter century has contributed to the dramatic increase in chronic disease and disability among American children during that same time period. Today, 1 American child in 6 is learning disabled; 1 in 9 has asthma; 1 in 94- 150 develops autism; 1 in 450 is diabetic. New Jersey is reported to have the highest autism rate in the nation: 1 child in 94 living in New Jersey develops autism.
http://www.northjersey.co m/page.php? qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyJmZnYmVsN2Y 3dnFlZUVFeXk3MDczNzMy
Sue Collins, co-founder of the New Jersey Alliance for Informed Choice in Vaccination (NJAICV at www.NJAICV.com) and longtime leader of a grassroots effort to institute conscientious belief exemption to vaccination in New Jersey, said that many parents oppose the new vaccine mandates: “We deserve a choice, not a mandate. It’s our right to decide what toxic substances we inject into our children,” she said. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/1 1/nyregion/11vaccine.html?_r=1&oref=slogin New Jersey Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk (R- Westwood), who is the sponsor of a bill to insert conscientious belief exemption into New Jersey vaccine laws, told the Council “Children of this state are assaulted with shot after shot before they go to school,” she said. “Don’t force it on those who have these objections. This is America. What’s happened to our freedom?”
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The National Vaccine Information Center joins with NJAICV and other organizations representing parents and children opposing the new vaccine mandates and supporting the addition of conscientious belief exemption to vaccine laws in New Jersey, including Advocates for Children’s Health Affected by Mercury Poisoning (A-CHAMP), Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), Autism One, Autism Research Institute, Children Having Everybody Upset About Shots (C.H.E.R.U.B.S), Generation Rescue, Holistic Moms Network, National Autism Association (NAA), Network Organization for Vaccine Awareness and Choice (NOVAC), Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), Taper Safely, Unlocking Autism (UA), and US Autism and Aspergers Association (USAAA). Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD, Inc.) supports replacing all state vaccine mandates with “opt-in” laws and SafeMinds opposes continued use of mercury in vaccines.
The fate of the new vaccine mandates proposed by the NJ state health department now rests with the retiring Commissioner of Health, Fred Jacobs, appointed by Governor Joe Corzine and the Governor himself. Fred Jacobs is expected to rule on the new mandates by Dec. 18 and can be contacted at http://www.state.nj.us/health/commiss/contact.sht ml. Governor Corzine can be contacted at htt p://www.state.nj.us/governor/govmail.html
In addition, New Jersey residents who are interested in contacting their state Assemblyperson or Senator about the need to secure a conscientious belief exemption to vaccination, can find out how to do that at
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch. asp . To help other parents work in New Jersey on this issue, contact NJAICV’s Sue Collins at www.NJAICV.com (See copy of NJ Conscientious Belief Exemption bill below). To find out more about how to educate members of your community about vaccination and the right to informed consent to vaccination, go to NVIC’s website at www.nvic.org or contact NVIC at NVICinfo@gmail.com
“Children in New Jersey’s public schools and day care must get two new vaccines by September, state health authorities recommended Monday over objections by parents who fear that immunizations can cause autism. The decision by the Public Health Council will make New Jersey the first state to require annual shots for influenza and bacterial (pneumococcal) pneumonia for infants and toddlers. For sixth-graders, the state also will mandate a meningitis vaccination and a booster for diphtheria/pertussis/ tetanus, or DPT. Parents will have just two ways to opt out: religious conviction or medical necessity. State Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs is expected to approve the regulation by the end of the month.” – Jill R. Capuzzo, The New York Times (December 11, 2007)
“One parent, Anne Downing of Readington, testified about receiving a flu shot when she was pregnant. Today her 7-year-old daughter has autism.”Try having your child bite chunks out of your skin …. or threaten to chop your head off,” she said. “Something’s going on with these vaccines and we don’t want any more mandates.”…….”We have forgotten the seriousness of these diseases,” said Dr. Stephen Rice, a Monmouth County pediatrician. Dr. Robert Morgan, another pediatrician from Monmouth County, asked parents to consider a wider responsibility. “You’re not making a decision just for your child,” Morgan said. “You’re making it for the reading circle at the library, for other children who come along in the family.” But some parents and activists criticized forced immunization as anti- American. They decried the lack of long-term studies on the vaccines’ safety.” – Elise Young, The Record (www.northjersey.co m) (December 11, 2007)
Vaccine Rule Stokes Fears Over Autism The Record
December 11, 2007
by Elise Young
Click here for the URL:
Children in New Jersey’s public schools and day cares must get two new vaccines by September, state health authorities recommended Monday over objections by parents who fear that immunizations can cause autism.
The decision by the Public Health Council will make New Jersey the first state to require annual shots for influenza and bacterial (pneumococcal) pneumonia for infants and toddlers. For sixth-graders, the state also will mandate a meningitis vaccination and a booster for diphtheria/pertussis/ tetanus, or DPT.
Parents will have just two ways to opt out: religious conviction or medical necessity.
State Health Commissioner Fred Jacobs is expected to approve the regulation by the end of the month.
New Jersey has the country’s highest autism rate, with one in 94 children affected by the neurological disorder that has no known cause or cure. A growing movement of activists believes that vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal are a chief contributor, although the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dismissed the connection.
“There is no scientifically supported evidence that this causes autism,” Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, deputy New Jersey health commissioner and state epidemiologist, told the council Monday. “The facts and the science do not support this opinion.”
One parent, Anne Downing of Readington, testified about receiving a flu shot when she was pregnant. Today her 7-year-old daughter has autism.
“Try having your child bite chunks out of your skin …. or threaten to chop your head off,” she said. “Something’s going on with these vaccines and we don’t want any more mandates.”
Autism can cause a range of behavioral and cognitive problems, from barely noticeable to completely incapacitating. Children whose autism is detected early, and who undergo intensive behavioral, occupational and other therapies appear to have the best chance of leading typical lives.
The 60-year-old Public Health Council, consisting of eight members appointed by the governor, acts as an independent adviser to the Department of Health and Senior Services. Jacobs has the option of rejecting its recommendation, but he has supported such vaccinations in the past.
Authorities on Monday said he will sign the new regulation before he leaves Governor Corzine’s administration for a private-sector job.
The rules will take effect Sept. 1, in time for the school year. To enroll their children in licensed preschool or day care, parents must show proof of vaccination. Sixth-graders who lack their shots will be denied entrance to public school.
The council noted that it has no jurisdiction over children who are home-schooled or attend parochial schools. And no one will force immunizations on youngsters who are not enrolled in out-of-home care.
“If you don’t send your kid to preschool or day care, you don’t have to get the shots,” said Tom Slater, a spokesman for the Department of Health.
Some doctors haven’t waited for a mandate. They said they have routinely given such shots to infants, toddlers and sixth-graders for years, on the advice of federal health authorities and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
At the hearing, pediatricians, nurses and public- health officials called childhood vaccinations one of the country’s great achievements, protecting against mumps, measles, rubella, smallpox, whooping cough, polio and other diseases that can cause grave sickness or death. The benefits of new immunizations, they said, far outweighed the risks.
“We have forgotten the seriousness of these diseases,” said Dr. Stephen Rice, a Monmouth County pediatrician.
Dr. Robert Morgan, another pediatrician from Monmouth County, asked parents to consider a wider responsibility.
“You’re not making a decision just for your child,” Morgan said. “You’re making it for the reading circle at the library, for other children who come along in the family.”
But some parents and activists criticized forced immunization as anti-American. They decried the lack of long-term studies on the vaccines’ safety.
“We deserve a choice, not a mandate,” said Sue Collins, co-founder of the New Jersey Alliance for Informed Choice in Vaccination.
Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk, R- Westwood, was the sole legislator to testify.
“Children of this state are assaulted with shot after shot before they go to school,” she said. “Don’t force it on those who have these objections. This is America. What’s happened to our freedom?”
Staff Writer Bob Groves contributed to this report. E-mail: email@example.com
* * *
By Sept. 1, 2008, New Jersey children in day care, preschool and sixth grade will be required to have four new vaccinations, under regulations expected to be signed this month.
· Age 8 weeks to 4 years, 9 months: Pneumococcal (bacterial) pneumonia
· Age 6 months to 4 years, 9 months: Influenza
· Sixth grade: DPT booster, meningitis
Children who do not attend preschool or day care will not be forced to receive the flu and bacterial pneumonia vaccinations. Nor will those who are enrolled in parochial school or who are home- schooled.
Parents may seek two types of exemptions.
· For a medical waiver, a licensed physician must certify that immunization would harm the child.
· For a religious waiver, a parent must certify that the vaccination would “conflict with the pupil’s exercise of bona fide religious tenets or practices.” The law does not allow a child to forgo immunization based solely on philosophical or moral grounds.
Source: N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services
Survey: Should the state mandate flu shots for students?
ON THE WEB
New Jersey Alliance for Informed Choice in Vaccination
Flu Shots for Children Grow Near in New Jersey
The New York Times
December 11, 2007
by Jill R. Capuzzo
Click here for the URL:
TRENTON, Dec. 10 – Despite opposition from numerous parents and children’s rights advocates, a public health advisory panel voted on Monday to require all children in New Jersey who attend preschool or are in day care to get annual flu vaccinations.
Before the vote, some parents who believe in a link between vaccinations and autism spoke against the proposal, but state officials said they did not believe there was such a connection.
The measure, expected to be approved by the state health commissioner in the next week, will make New Jersey the first state in the country to mandate such immunizations.
By a vote of 5 to 2, with two abstentions, the advisory panel, the New Jersey Public Health Council, recommended approval of the flu shot requirement, as well as requiring three other new vaccines for school children. The other immunizations are a vaccine against pneumonia for preschoolers and two vaccines for middle school students, one against a fast-killing strain of meningitis and the other a booster for the immunization against tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria, which is already routinely given in first grade.
Department of Health officials said that they expected the health commissioner, Dr. Fred M. Jacobs, to sign the measure by Dec. 18. The new vaccines would become mandatory on Sept. 1. But those getting immunized against the flu would have until December 2008 because of the shipment dates of the vaccine, said Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, New Jersey’s deputy commissioner of health and state immunologist.
At the start of the standing-room-only public meeting on Monday morning, Dr. Bresnitz outlined his department’s reasons to support requiring the new vaccines, saying that they were important for disease prevention, influenza being the greatest offender. Extrapolating from statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Bresnitz said about 600 New Jersey children are hospitalized annually for influenza.
“Simply put, implementation of these rules will save lives and prevent disease and suffering in children, their families and the community,” Dr. Bresnitz said.
But not all the family and community members who attended the meeting agreed. Some parents of autistic children have argued that the vaccines already required of school-age children may be linked to autism, although many experts say that no solid evidence supports this view. A recent federal study showed that New Jersey leads the nation in its rate of autism, a neurodevelopmental condition the cause of which is still a mystery.
Some advocates and parents have suspected a link between vaccines and autism because thimerosal, a mercury-containing organic compound, has been used as a preservative in some vaccines. Anne Downing , a Readington, N.J., mother of two, said she believed that her 7-year-old daughter’s autism was tied to two vaccines: a flu shot that she got when she was pregnant with her daughter, and a vaccine against pneumonia that the girl received as a baby. Ms. Downing invited the council’s panel to spend a day at her house to see what it was like living with a child who has autism.
“Try having a child bite chunks of skin out of herself, or tell you she’s going to chop your head off, or smear feces over the wall,” said Ms. Downing, referring to the acts of her daughter and her best friend’s son, who also suffers from autism. “Something’s going on with these vaccines, and we don’t want any more mandated.” Dismissing the link between vaccines and autism as “scientifically unfounded,” Dr. Bresnitz also called the thimerosal argument “a moot issue,” since most vaccines are either free of the compound or contain only trace amounts, like the preschool flu vaccine. Moreover, he said, parents could request thimerosal- free formulations of the vaccines. The new flu vaccine will be required annually for all children from 6 months to 5 years old, who attend licensed day care or preschool facilities. State law allows exemptions from the mandated vaccines for religious or medical reasons. Children who are home- schooled are also exempt from the regulations. Sue Collins, a co-founder of the New Jersey Alliance for Informed Choice in Vaccination, said that the exemptions were difficult to secure, particularly those based on medical reasons, which state and local officials have the right to challenge, according to Dr. Bresnitz. “We deserve a choice, not a mandate,” Ms. Collins said. “It’s our right to decide what toxic substances we inject into our children.” Speaking on behalf of the new vaccines were two pediatricians and two public health administrators. Sharen Clugston of the New Jersey Association of Public Health Nurse Administrators said, “Vaccines have transformed the landscape of disease.”
Dr. Robert Morgan, a Monmouth County pediatrician, said that over the years he and his colleagues had “seen so many children not only suffer but die from diseases that could be immunized against.”
“That could have been prevented simply by administering a vaccine,” he said.
ASSEMBLY, No. 165
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2006 SESSION
Assemblywoman CHARLOTTE VANDERVALK
District 39 (Bergen)
Assemblymen S.Kean, McKeon,
Assemblywomen Oliver and Lampitt
Provides for conscientious exemption to mandatory immunizations.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
AN ACT concerning immunization requirements and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. As used in this act:
“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services.
“Conscientious exemption” means an exemption from a mandatory immunization on the grounds of a sincerely held or moral objection to the immunization.
“Department” means the Department of Health and Senior Services.
“Mandatory immunization” means any vaccination required by the State as a condition for attendance at public or private institutions of higher education, public or private school, kindergarten, nursery school, preschool or child care facilities in New Jersey.
“School” means any public or private institution of higher education, public or private school, kindergarten, nursery school, preschool or child care facility in New Jersey.
“Student” means any person attending a public or private institution of higher education, public or private school, kindergarten, nursery school, preschool or child care facility in New Jersey.
2. a. The department shall provide to all local health departments a standardized form to be used by a student, or if the student is a minor, by the student’s parent or legal guardian, claiming a conscientious exemption from a mandatory immunization. A local health department shall make the form available upon request.
The form shall state that the student, or parent or legal guardian, understands the potential benefits of immunization and the risks in not immunizing. The form shall require, at a minimum, all of the following:
(1) a statement claiming exemption from a specific immunization signed by the student, or if the student is a minor, by the student’s parent or legal guardian, witnessed by the local health officer or the local health officer’s designee;
(2) the name and address of the person who signs the form;
(3) the name of the student seeking exemption from the immunization; and
(4) the school at which the student is enrolled.
b. Upon receipt of a completed form by a local health department, the designated local health officer shall grant a conscientious exemption from a mandatory immunization to a student. A student who is granted a conscientious exemption shall provide the form granting the exemption to officials at the student’s school.
3. a. Any student with a conscientious exemption from a mandatory immunization may be excluded from school during a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak or threatened outbreak as determined by the commissioner.
b. Pursuant to the provisions of R.S.26:4-6, a school official may prohibit the attendance of any student who has been granted a conscientious exemption and is under a school official’s control, on the account of a communicable disease, or to prevent the spread of a communicable disease. The school official may also specify the duration of time that the student with a conscientious exemption must remain away from school.
c. A conscientious exemption from a mandatory immunization may be suspended at any time by the commissioner during the existence of an emergency, as determined by the commissioner.
4. The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act.
5. This act shall take effect on the 90th day following enactment, but the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance as shall be necessary for implementation of the act.
This bill provides for conscientious exemptions from mandatory immunizations.
Under current law, the State requires certain immunizations for students as a condition for attending public or private institutions of higher education, public or private school, kindergarten, nursery school, preschool and child care facilities in New Jersey.
Provisions in the New Jersey Administrative Code grant students medical and religious exemptions from immunizations. This bill would grant a conscientious exemption from a specific immunization to any person attending a public or private institution of higher education, public or private school, kindergarten, nursery school, preschool or child care facility in New Jersey.
The bill provides that a student seeking a conscientious exemption shall complete a standardized form prepared by the Department of Health and Senior Services. The form shall be submitted to the student’s local health department, which shall grant the exemption. A student with a conscientious exemption shall not be permitted to attend school during a disease outbreak or threatened outbreak, as determined by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services. An conscientious exemption may also be suspended at any time by the commissioner in an emergency. Further, pursuant to N.J.S.A.26:4-6, a school administrator, taking into consideration the spread of a communicable disease, may prohibit the attendance of a student with a conscientious exemption and specify the amount of time the student must remain away from the school.
At present, 19 states permit similar exemptions from mandatory immunizations. This bill would allow New Jersey to join with other states that grant individuals the right to manage their health or their children’s health as they deem appropriate.
National Vaccine Information Center
NVIC E-News is a free service of the National Vaccine Information Center and is supported through membership donations.
NVIC is funded through the financial support of its members and does not receive any government subsidies. Barbara Loe Fisher, President and Co- founder.
Learn more about vaccines, diseases and how to protect your informed consent rights at www.nvic.org