On Tuesday, the Vermont house of Representatives voted to remove the philosophical exemption to Vermont’s mandatory immunization law. As a result, it is now harder for parents to exempt their children from the mandatory immunization law on philosophical grounds only. The Vermont House voted 85 to 57, in a debate that lasted more than four hours in which dozens of House representatives wanted to express their opinion on what has become, and continues to become, a very controversial and emotional issue.
That being said, as outlined in the debate, which could have led to its passing is the fact that:
“Nothing in this amendment forces a parent to vaccinate their child. I vote to protect children and adults in our schools who are especially vulnerable to these dangerous vaccine preventable diseases.” – Rep George Til (source)
Ultimately, parents can still go through a process to have their child exempt from immunization, it will just be harder. For example, they can still attempt to receive an exemption based on religious grounds, and they will most likely have to remove their child from school. As touched upon later in the article, the idea that non-vaccinated children are a danger to vaccinated children is based on no science, it is only modelled and doesn’t seem to make much sense.
There was also an amendment offered by Northfield Rep. Anne Donahue, which would have retained the philosophical exemption but would have required parents to consult with a health care expert and review the information regarding the benefits of vaccines in order to receive the exemption. This would have been great, as parents who have done their research could have presented the information that is presented in the article linked at the bottom of this one. You can also read that here. Unfortunately, this effort was voted down 73-71.
She also said that:
“Isolating fearful parents into home schooling or using the religious exemption does nothing to protect an unvaccinated person.” (source)
Another Representative, Sarah Copeland-Hanzas said:
“There is something deep in the core of my being, and it simply will not allow me to vote to remove a parent’s right to make this serious decision on what is in the best interest of their child. I believe that my proposal in fact has greater opportunities to see an increase in our immunization rate while still protecting that choice for a minority of parents who need to make those choices for their children.” (source)
I think it’s also important to mention this here:
“The widely held view that serious vaccine-related injuries are rare needs revision, as current worldwide policies indeed operate on a “one size fits all” assumption. This assumption persists despite the fact that historically, vaccine trials have routinely excluded vulnerable individuals with a variety of pre-existing conditions. Because of such selection bias, the occurrence of serious adverse reactions resulting from vaccinations may be considerably underestimated.” – Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, Neural Dynamics Research Group. Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia. (source)
That being said, the statement above might be seen as ignorable to many, as many vaccinated populations have spread disease despite the fact that mass vaccinations were administered. There are multiple examples of this. One set of examples (out of many) are the studies showing how vaccinated individuals not only become infected, but can spread the disease to others who are also vaccinated against it. Many studies have used the MMR vaccine as an example, expressing that this fact disproves that two doses of the MMR vaccine is effective, as widely claimed. Here is an example, and you can read more about that here.
“The statement that high levels of vaccination prevent disease outbreaks is not accurate as infectious diseases do in fact occur even in fully vaccinated populations as well as individuals. The likely reason for this is that vaccines primarily stimulate humoral immunity while they have little or no effect on cellular immunity (cytotoxic T-cells, Th1 responses), which is absolutely crucial for protection against viral as well as some bacterial pathogens. This may be the reason why vaccine-induced immunities are transient, requiring booster shots, while naturally acquired immunity conferred by the cellular immune system in the absence of vaccination tends to be permanent. Taken together, these observations may explain why outbreaks of allegedly vaccine-preventable diseases do occur in fully vaccinated populations and why, immunity (or its absence) cannot be reliably determined on the basis of serologic determination (measure of antibody levels), which is the most common measure of vaccine efficacy in clinical trials.” – Lucija Tomljenovic (source)
Another great example is the Gardasil vaccine, which has come under a lot of fire lately. You can read more about that here.
In my opinion, sometimes it seems as if these House representatives are lacking information, or have not done a thorough enough job examining all of the facts and scientific data that’s available in the public domain. Rarely is the science on the other side of the coin ever acknowledged. Granted, some vaccines may be effective, but there is no evidence showing that they are necessary, and that all of them are necessary. The idea that vaccination is necessary to protect the whole (herd immunity) is based on zero science. It is instead, only modelled.
Why is it so common for parents to be ignored when it comes to the reasons they cite for the justification of choosing not to vaccinate their children? What are these reasons? You can find them in this article, which is heavily sourced:
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