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5/2/11 Update

Please CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE TODAY (even if you have already called asking him/her before) to VOTE NO on HB1816

HB1816 is listed on the General State Calendar and could be voted on today! 

The companion SB1107 already passed the Senate of Friday, so this is our last chance.

Please MAKE YOUR ONE CALL TODAY and ask others to do the same!

_______________________________________________________________

UPDATE 4/29/2011

Dear PROVE Texas Members,

Please STOP and make 2 short phone calls today to your state Senator and Representative to try and block unnecessary forced meningitis vaccines on college students (SB1107 and HB1816).  This legislation is unnecessary: the vaccine is available to anyone who wants it – we don’t need the force of law, the disease is so rare, and vaccine exemptions don’t apply to all students.

We are down to the wire and need EVERYONE’s calls today and on voice mail machines this weekend.  SB1107 is on the intent calendar in the Senate for today and HB1816 is on the general calendar for Monday and your State Senator and State Representative need to hear from many constituents in their districts asking them to vote NO on SB1107 and HB1816. 

1) LOOKUP YOUR STATE SENATOR AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND THEIR PHONE NUMBERS: Log into the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and go to the Texas State Team Page to see your personal legislators’ contact information automatically displayed OR go to http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx and enter in your address information in the “Who Represents Me” section.

2) CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR ASKING THEM TO VOTE NO on SB1107 which is on the Intent Calendar today and YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE ASSKING THEM TO VOTE NO on HB1816 which is on the General State Calendar for 5/2. 

I am a constituent and I am asking Senator______  to VOTE NO on SB1107 (or Representative ______ to VOTE NO on HB1816).  This bill is completely unnecessary because:

1) The vaccine is available to any college student who wants it and we don’t need to be forced by law to get it


2) The vaccine is expensive – it will cost college students over $150 to get it


3) Neisseria Meningitis in college students is so rare and the vaccine doesn’t even cover the most prevalent serogroup.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the total number of confirmed cases of Neisseria meningitis in all people ages 15-24 in Texas were :


2005 – 11 where 8/11 were from serogroups that are not covered by vaccination
2006 – 6 where 5/6 were from serogroups that are not covered by vaccination
2007 – 21 where 8/21 were from serogroups that are not covered by vaccination
2008 – 15 where 10/15 were from serogroups that are not covered by vaccination
2009 - 7 where 4/7 were from serogroups that not covered by vaccination
2010 – 11 where 6/11 were from serogroups that are not covered by vaccination.
(Data provided by DSHS to PROVE in email dated Tuesday, March 22, 2011 and attached to this note and footnoted on our website).

4) Vaccine exemptions are not available to all college students. The Attorney General ruled that vaccine exemptions granted in the Education Code don’t apply to students in Private Schools. (https://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/opinions/50abbott/op/2006/pdf/ga0420.pdf)

(More information is posted on our website at http://vaccineinfo.net but these points are enough -scroll down)

3. FORWARD THIS TO EVERY FAMILY YOU KNOW THAT THIS WILL EFFECT NOW OR IN THE FUTURE SO TEXAS FAMILIES CAN BE FREE TO MAKE THIS DECISION INSTEAD OF THE STATE.

PLEASE DON’T REGRET NOT PICKING UP THE PHONE AND ASKING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME!

Sincerely,

Dawn Richardson and Rebecca Rex
co-founders or PROVE
http://vaccineinfo.net

__________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE 3/29/2011

Dear PROVE Texas Members,

ACTION ALERT:  OPPOSE SB1107 and HB1846 in Texas

SB 1107 by Senator Wendy Davis, which would require ALL students in Texas entering college to be vaccinated for meningitis in order to be allowed to attend school, has been rescheduled for a public hearing this Wednesday morning in the Senate Higher Education Committee at 7:30 am and we need your calls, emails, faxes and testimony against it.  Please contact the committee members when you get this even if it is after the hearing as it will most likely not be voted on right away.  Please contact the committee members again even if you did last week to include the new information below.

The house companion to this bill, HB 1816 by Representative Charlie Howard, was heard two weeks ago in the House Public Health Committee and has been left pending without a vote yet and needs your calls, emails, and faxes against it as well before a vote is taken. 

New data compiled for PROVE by the Texas Department of State Health Services revealing meningitis case numbers broken out by age and serogroup back our assertion that not only is this vaccine mandate unnecessary, it would be grossly irresponsible, over reactive, and overreaching to pass yet another mandate with this vaccine.  We’ve displayed the number of Meningitis cases in Texas by serogroup for people in the age range from 15-24 years (generous representation of college age) below in the summary chart. 

The table from DSHS reveals very troubling information. The number of cases of Meningitis amongst college age students in Texas is so minutely small, 7 in 2009 and 11 in 2010 out of a state of 25 million people.  There is no argument that justifies using the force of law to require students to spend the money and put themselves at risk for a vaccine reaction.  The vaccine is available to anyone who wants it, and to compel it for these extremely rare instances of cases in college students directly undermines the credibility of public health programs.  While there is a vaccine exemption available for public school students, it does not apply to private school students, and the availability of an exemption is no excuse for bad policy. At over $100 a dose, the real winners here are those who manufacture and sell the vaccine.

This data from the health department also significantly challenges the effectiveness of the vaccine in Texas.  Serogroup B infections are some of the more prevalent in Texas and the vaccine is useless here because there are NO Vaccines available in the US that protect against infections from serogroup B.  What is equally disturbing when looking at the prevalence of infections attributed to the Y and W-135 serogroups in Texas is the fact that there has been no testing to determine the efficacy of the vaccine against infections from these serogroups.  The vaccine package insert published by the vaccine manufacturer states "No studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of meningococcal polysaccharide vaccines against disease due to serogroups Y and W-135." http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm230717.htm#1.  The numbers of infection from unknown origin cannot be used to back a vaccine mandate with a vaccine which offers limited coverage.   

TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES OF MENINGITIS IN 15-24 Year Olds Statewide By Serogroup*

Serogroup

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

B **

6

0

6

6

4

4

C

2

0

7

4

1

2

W-135 ***

0

0

0

0

0

0

Y ***

1

1

6

1

2

3

Unknown****

2

5

2

4

0

2

* Numbers provided to PROVE by the Texas Department of State Health Services in email dated Tuesday, March 22, 2011

** Serogroup B not covered by ANY vaccine available in the US

*** NO STUDIES have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the Meningitis vaccine against Serogroups W-135 and Y

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm230717.htm#1

**** Serogroup Unknown – can’t speak to vaccine’s efficacy

This information highlights two very important facts that legislators need to immediately pay attention to and that we need your help to share with them:

1) Invasive meningococcal disease is incredibly rare in Texas college students.

2) Use of the meningitis vaccine will not prevent this disease.  

We need your help coming to the hearing this Wednesday and immediately contacting the legislators listed below to urge their opposition to SB1107 and HB1816.  Specific instructions are below.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Dawn Richardson and Rebecca Rex
Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education (PROVE)
http://vaccineinfo.net/

 

1) Call, email, and/or fax the Members of the Senate Higher Education Committee asking them to OPPOSE SB1107 which has it’s hearing in the Senate Higher Education Committee on 3/30/11. Talking points and sample letter format are posted below.  Still contact them even if you get this alert after the hearing in case they don’t vote right away.

Member

PHONE

FAX

EMAIL FORM

Sen. Judith Zaffirini (C)

512-463-0121

512-475-3738

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist21/dist21.htm#form

Sen. Brian Birdwell (VC)

512-463-0122

512-475-3729

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist22/dist22.htm#form (scroll down to bottom)

Sen. Robert Duncan

512-463-0128

512-463-2424

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist28/dist28.htm#Form

Sen. Joan Huffman

512-463-0117

512-463-0639

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist17/dist17.htm#form

Sen. Kirk Watson

512-463-0114

512-463-5949

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist14/dist14.htm#form

Sen. Jeff Wentworth

512-463-0125

512-463-7794

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist25/dist25.htm#form

Sen. Royce West

512-463-0123

512-463-0299

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist23/dist23.htm#form

 

2) Call, email, and/or fax the Members of the House Public Health Committee asking them to OPPOSE HB1816 which had it’s hearing in the House Public Health Committee on 3/16/11 and has not been voted on yet and will be voted on shortly.  If you have already contacted them, please do it again with the new information.  Talking points and sample letter format are posted below. 

Member

PHONE

FAX

EMAIL FORM

Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst (C)

512-463-0600

512-463-5240

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=13&session=82

Rep. Elliott Naishtat (VC)

512-463-0668

512-463-8022

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=49&session=82

Rep. Carol Alvarado

512-463-0732

512-463-4781

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=145&session=82

Rep. Garnet Coleman

512-463-0524

512-463-1260

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=147&session=82

Rep. Sarah Davis

512-463-0389

512-463-1374

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=134&session=82

Rep. Veronica Gonzales

512-463-0578

512-463-1482

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=41&session=82

Rep. Susan King

512-463-0718

512-463-0994

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=71&session=82

Rep. Jodie Laubenberg

512-463-0186

512-463-5896

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=89&session=82

Rep. Charles Schwertner

512-463-0309

512-463-0049

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=20&session=82

Rep. Vicki Truitt

512-463-0690

512-477-5770

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=98&session=82

Rep. John Zerwas

512-463-0657

512-236-0713

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=28&session=82

 

3) Plan on attending the public hearing to OPPOSE SB1107  on Wednesday March 30th at 7:30 am in the Senate Higher Education Committee,  Capitol Extension Hearing Room  E1.012 in the Capitol Extension Building underground on the 1st floor, in Austin TX. http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/spb/plan/Map.htm  
Please RSVP to TXDirector@NVICAdvocacy.org and let us know if you can commit to attend so we can stay in touch with who is coming.  We need people to give 2-3 minutes of concise respectful testimony at the hearing but if you just want to come and don’t want to testify that is ok.  We also need some people to show their opposition by just showing up and attending, signing in at the hearing room in opposition to the bill, and supporting those who do get up to testify in opposition to SB1107.  If you are preparing oral or written testimony, please come prepared with 20 copies of your written testimony to turn in to the committee clerk when you sign in to be a part of the public record.

 

4) Contact your own Texas State Representative and Senator asking them to Oppose HB1816 and companion SB1107.  You can register and log on to the Texas State Team Page of the NVIC Advocacy Portal on http://NVICAdvocacy.org to view talking points (also listed below at the bottom) and can be linked directly to your personal state legislators and their contact information or you can link to http://legis.state.tx.us and use the state form on the right side of the screen to enter your address information to have your state legislators displayed.  

5) Stay connected through the legislative session.  If this alert was forwarded to you by a friend, please make sure we can continue to provide you with more information by signing up for PROVE email alerts at http://vaccineinfo.net and also please sign up for NVIC’s Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org.  This will allow you to view current legislative information for Texas on our Texas state team page, receive important email updates of our efforts to expand and protect vaccine exemptions in your state and be automatically linked to your personal legislators and their contact information when you log into the site. 

Phone Calls:

  • Introduce yourself and identify where you are calling from (if it is your rep or senator identify yourself as a constituent)
  • Ask that they please oppose HB1816 and Companion SB1107 and let them know that these bills would require ALL students in Texas entering college – not just those living in a dorm – to be vaccinated for meningitis in order to be allowed to attend school.
  • Pick a couple of the talking points below to inform them why.  Try to include why this is important to your family personally if you can in one or two sentences.
  • Thank them. 

Above all, always be polite.  If they have an opposing view to yours, don’t look at it as opposition.  Instead view it as an opportunity to start a relationship and understand that they have been repeatedly contacted by those who stand to gain financially if this passes and it is up to us to be persistent and provide more information to undo the biased and often inaccurate information they most likely have received to date.

Faxes and Emails:

  • Address it to: The Honorable (Representative or Senator’s Name)
  • Have the first line in your letter either bold, underlined or highlighted asking them to Oppose HB1816 and Companion SB1107.
  • Pick a couple of the talking points below to inform them why.  You can cut and paste the chart above designating serogroup prevalence in Texas if you like.
  • Try to include why this is important to your family personally if you can in a few sentences at the beginning.
  • Include your mailing address and contact information in your closing.
  • This should be NO LONGER than 1 side of a piece of paper.

Again, please keep your tone polite and informative while expressing your concerns.  If this is going to a member of the House Public Health Committee, let them know the HB1816 had a public hearing on Wed. March 16th and that we are requesting that they vote no.

 

Sample Letter with Talking Points to Oppose HB1816 and SB1107:

You are welcome to use part or all of this letter or just use it to get ideas or even write your own.  Please just make sure you personalize it by letting your legislators know why this is important to you.  Here is some recent media coverage of this issue,

http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/higher-education/battle-brewing-over-mandatory-meningitis-vaccine/

[DATE]

The Honorable Firstname Lastname,

I urge you to OPPOSE HB1816 and SB1107 which uses the force of law to mandate the meningitis vaccine for all incoming college students because a meningitis vaccine mandate is unnecessary, the current vaccines are not effective, and there are outstanding safety questions surrounding the use of this vaccine.

A Meningitis Vaccine Mandate is UNNECESSARY

The meningitis vaccine and information about it is already available to every college student 

The Texas Education Code, in section 51.9191, already requires institutes of higher education to not only provide the following information relating to bacterial meningitis to new students, but it also requires institutes of higher education to make a reasonable attempt to obtain a written confirmation that the student has received it:

(1)  the symptoms of the disease, how it may be diagnosed, and its possible consequences if untreated;

(2)  how the disease is transmitted, how it may be prevented, and the relative risk of contracting the disease for students of institutions of higher education;

(3)  the availability and effectiveness of vaccination against and treatment for the disease, including how students of the institution may seek vaccination or treatment and whether a vaccination is available from the student health center, and a brief description of the risks and possible side effects of vaccination;  and

(4)  sources of additional information regarding the disease and include the telephone numbers of the student health center, if there is a student health center, and the appropriate office of the Texas Department of Health.
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.51.htm#51.9191

If a student is not interested in the vaccine even after the state has required informed consent in current law, the state needs to leave them alone and not try and force them with a mandate.  Proponents of this bill want to instead use the force of law to mandate the vaccine for all students.

Invasive meningococcal disease is college students is extraordinarily rare, deaths exceedingly rare

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services,  the number of confirmed cases of Neisseria meningitis in all people ages 15-24 in Texas were 11 in 2005 where 8/11 were from serogroups not covered by vaccination, 6 in 2006 where 5/6 were from serogroups not covered by vaccination, 21 in 2007 where 8/21 were from serogroups not covered by vaccination, 15 in 2008 where 10/15 were from serogroups not covered by vaccination, 7 in 2009 where 4/7 were from serogroups not covered by vaccination and 11 in 2010 where 6/11 were from serogroups not covered by vaccination. (Data provided by DSHS to PROVE in email dated Tuesday, March 22, 2011).

According to the Texas Medical Association, in the entire United States, at most 15 college students have died from it in a given year.  http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=16418&terms=meningitis 

Most college age students are already are naturally protected without vaccination

According to "Prevention of Meningococcal Disease" by Pierce Gardner, MD published in the New England Journal of Medicine:  "Colonization induces an immunologic response to N. Meningitides (as do certain organisms in the enteric flora that have cross-reacting antigens), so that by young adulthood, the majority of people in the United States have measurable antibody to the pathogenic serogroups of N. Meningitides (A, B, C, Y, and W-135)."

https://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/355/14/1466

Meningitis is Not Casually Contagious

According to the CDC: "Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the common cold or the flu.  Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been." http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/about/transmission.html 

Current Meningitis Vaccines are NOT PROVEN  EFFECTIVE

Vaccines Missing Prevalent B Serogroup

According to "Prevention of Meningococcal Disease" by Pierce Gardner, MD published in the New England Journal of Medicine:  "A major limitation of these vaccines is that neither provides immunity against serogroup B, which is responsible for approximately one third of cases of meningococcal disease."  https://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/355/14/1466

Vaccine efficacy not tested for prevalent Y or W-135 Serogroups

According to the vaccine package insert published by the vaccine manufacturer:  "No studies have been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of meningococcal polysaccharide vaccines against disease due to serogroups Y and W-135."

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm230717.htm#1

Questionable Duration of Protection

According to the vaccine package insert published by the vaccine manufacturer:  "The duration of protection following immunization is not known."
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM201349.pdf

Safety Questions Raised by Current Meningitis Vaccines

Acknowledged Serious Side Effects

All 3 current meningitis vaccines carry warnings for Guillain-Barré syndrome, a serious and devastating neurological disease.

Menactra:  http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM131170.pdf

Menomune:  http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm230717.htm#1

Manveo:  http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM201349.pdf

Incomplete Safety Testing

All 3 current meningitis vaccines have not been evaluated in animals for their carcinogenic or mutagenic potentials or for impairment of fertility.

Menactra:  http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM131170.pdf

Menomune:  http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm230717.htm#1

Manveo:  http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM201349.pdf

No Liability or Accountability for Vaccine Manufacturers

On February 22, 2011, the US Supreme Court shielded vaccine manufacturers from all liability for vaccine injuries and deaths even if the manufacturer could have made a vaccine safer.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-152.pdf

In conclusion, I believe strongly that not only should legislators strongly reject HB1816 and SB1107, I would like to request that you consider supporting repealing all mandates currently forcing meningococcal vaccine use in Texas through law and by rule.  The availability of vaccine exemptions in Texas is no excuse for bad policy, and vaccine exemptions don’t apply to students in private non-state schools.   Please vote no on HB1816 and SB1107.

Sincerely,
[Your Name
Your Address
Your phone and/or email]
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