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Should Vaccines be Mandatory?

Please support amending current Texas immunization exemption laws to allow a parent to delay or decline vaccines that they feel are either unsafe or unnecessary for their individual child.

As appearing in Congressional Quarterly Researcher's "At Issue", 8/25/2000, p. 663

By Dawn Richardson
Parent Requesting Open Vaccine Education (PROVE)

Parents love their children and want to protect them. But vaccines, like the diseases they are designed to prevent, carry an unpredictable risk of injury or death. Parents should be free to make their own informed, voluntary vaccination decisions without being subjected to government sanctions.

All diseases and vaccines are not the same, and neither are all children. Yet current mandatory-vaccination laws treat chickenpox like smallpox. Over 200 new vaccines being developed for everything from cocaine addiction to sexually transmitted disease (STD) will be candidates for mandates. Additionally, some children are at greater biological risk than others for reacting to vaccines. "One-size-fits-all" mass vaccination policies don't take these differences into account and fail to minimize the risk of vaccine-induced injury and death for too many children.

Annually, 12,000-14,000 reports of hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following vaccinations are made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), but only 1-10 percent of doctors report. More than $1 billion has been paid out under the federal vaccine-injury compensation program, but three out of four applicants are turned away and left to cope on their own.

Recent congressional hearings have raised eye-opening questions about inadequate vaccine licensing and safety standards; conflicts of interest between drug companies and vaccine policy-makers; and huge gaps in scientific knowledge about how vaccines impact the body.

Health officials measure public health in terms of high vaccination rates and low infectious-disease rates, and yet the rate of chronic disease and disability in children is at an all-time high. With children now getting as many as 39 doses of 12 different vaccines by school entry -- while the brain and immune system are developing at the most rapid rate -- nobody knows whether over-vaccination has contributed to the dramatic increases in asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, autism, attention-deficit disorder, diabetes and other chronic neuroimmune illnesses. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) insists all children, regardless of their personal disease risk, must get every government-mandated vaccine for the theoretical "greater good."

Because vaccination is a medical procedure that carries an inherent risk of injury or death, informed consent to vaccination should be the right of every American. Every parent deserves to be given truthful, unbiased information about diseases and vaccines and be allowed to make informed, voluntary, vaccination decisions for their children.

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April 5, 2008

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