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New York: Oppose Meningococcal Vaccine Mandate

Please consider taking action TODAY in the New York Assembly to voice opposition to two bills, S7156 and A10313, which add a meningococcal vaccine mandate for students entering 7th grade and college. 

The New York Alliance for Vaccination Choice and A-Champ have requested people call and fax their legislators in New York to oppose these bills.  You can use points submitted in written testimony by NVIC Director of State Advocacy Dawn Richardson in your faxes and phone calls. 

You can look up your elected officials by your address in NY by linking to: http://nymap.elections.state.ny.us/nysboe/  and then on their site clicking on the “contact” link.

June 1, 2010

Dear Honorable Members of the New York Senate and the Assembly Committee on Health,

Please oppose Senate Bill 7156 and Assembly Bill 10313 which require a meningococcal vaccine for students entering 7th grade and college for the following reasons:

  • 40 states DO NOT require this vaccine. (1)  Out of the 10 that require the vaccine, 6 have philosophical or conscientious exemptions (AZ, LA, MI, ND, TX, VT) and the remaining 4 have broad all-inclusive religious exemptions (IN, MA, NJ, PA). (2) 

  •  New York state vaccine exemptions lag behind other states by failing to provide vaccine exemptions for reasons of conscience or philosophical reasons.  If either of these bills pass, there is no mechanism in New York state law for a parent or student questioning the safety, efficacy, or necessity of the meningococcal vaccine to delay or decline the vaccine and still continue their education. (3) 

  • Current meningococcal vaccines are too expensive at a private sector cost of over $100 per dose and a public sector cost of just under $80 per dose.  This does not include the costs associated with vaccine administration and vaccine related side-effects. (4)

  • Recent cost-benefit analyses have found that the low number of meningococcal cases that could be prevented with the vaccine and the high cost of vaccination would not make the immunization program cost-saving and that publicly funded programs to vaccinate first-year students living in dormitories against meningococcal disease will result in a net economic loss to society. (5)

  • Serogroup B is the most common cause of epidemic meningococcal disease in the United States and there is NO licensed vaccine which includes Serogroup B available in the United States rendering the available meningococcal vaccines largely ineffective. (6)

  •  Smoking, alcohol and corticosteroid use are associated with increased risk of meningococcal disease.  Many students do not have these risk factors. (7)  A vaccine mandate without easily obtained inclusive exemptions forces these students to unfairly and disproportionately bear more risk from the vaccine.

  • The duration of protection from current meningococcal vaccines is unknown and poor past performance of the available vaccines have already resulted in updates to vaccination policy requiring revaccination. (8)

  • Meningococcal disease occurs at very low rates – the CDC estimates between 1400-2800 cases per year for the ENTIRE UNITED STATES where more than 50% of those cases occur at ages outside the age ranges targeted by these bills. (9)

  • The meningococcal vaccine is available to anybody who wants it: a vaccine mandate is unnecessary.

Sincerely,

Dawn Richardson
Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, President
National Vaccine Information Center, Director of State Advocacy

  1. http://www.immunize.org/laws/menin_sec.asp
  2. http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements.aspx
  3. http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A10313%09%09&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Text=Y
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/cdc-vac-price-list.htm
  5. http://www.immunizationinfo.org/science/cost-benefit-analysis-meningococcal-vaccine 
  6. http://www.nfid.org/factsheets/serogroup.shtml
  7. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5407a1.htm
  8. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5837a4.htm
  9. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5407a1.htm
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June 1, 2010

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