E-NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL VACCINE INFORMATION CENTER Vienna, Virginia
UNTIED WAY/COMBINED FEDERAL CAMPAIGN #9119
"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since 1982."
AUGUST 24, 2001
Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D.
Robert J. Chiak, M.D.
Will it be school bells or jail cells for back-to-school this year? That all depends on an important decision you'll be making in the next few weeks and whether some public-health official decides to yank your child from school, stick them in a foster home and charge you with neglect if you make the wrong one.
You refuse to subject your child to an unnecessary medical treatment.
It has happened in Hillary's Village and will again if some officials repeat previous threats. Last fall, a school superintendent in Westfield, N.Y., threatened to take a 7th grader into state custody because her mom refused to have her immunized against Hepatitis B, a disease usually spread by drug users and the sexually promiscuous. The girl had a history of bad vaccine reactions, but the superintendent refused to grant a waiver. The story was repeated with 77 middle school children in Utica, N.Y. Television ads and school posters exhort us to "Be wise Immunize." But some public health and school authorities are behaving as if educating kids is less important than forcing mandatory shots on students and their families.
Maybe the motivation is big bucks from a 1993 federal "Immunization Initiative" that gives states more than $400 million in vaccine incentives and a $100 bounty for each child vaccinated with the shots the federal government decided are must-haves. So just how "wise" are you to immunize? How do you decide and what do you do if you defy the school rules?
Quackwatch warning: We'll say up front, once again, as we did in January in "Shots in the dark?" vaccines can and do save lives. And we'll have to say it again later because too many have an "all or none" approach to the vaccine question. They seem to think that all vaccines are created equal and equally effective and therefore equally desirable.
As with all medicine, vaccines are not perfect. Some vaccinated people still come down with chickenpox despite the vaccination, although not as high a percentage as those who aren't immunized. All vaccines cause reactions, some good and some bad. The good and desired reaction results in immunity from the disease. But there's no absolute guarantee against a bad reaction, such as an allergic reaction or even death. In other words, there are always trade-offs.
Some vaccines are too risky for even the manufacturers. For example, the rotavirus vaccine, originally recommended by federal government officials, causes too many bowel obstructions and has been pulled from the market.
NVIC is funded through individual membership donations and does not receive government funding. Barbara Loe Fisher, President and Co-founder.
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