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RI Parents Battle State Over Mandated Vaccinations

Friday, January 31, 2014

 

The Rhode Island ACLU is fighting a mandatory flu vaccine proposal that would expel unvaccinated children from school.

"We have the department of health saying 'it doesn't matter what you think, you have to get the vaccine,'" said Hillary Davis, Policy Associate for the Rhode Island ACLU.

"Now they're saying 'it doesn't matter what you think about your child's education, what we think about vaccines is the only thing that matters.'"

Davis was one of the few to speak up at a Jan. 18 Rhode Island Department of Health public hearing on the new proposal. The public hearing drew three opponents to the proposal, one of which was Davis, along with letters of support from members of the local medical community.

"The ACLU supports vaccination, but when you're talking about a flu shot it's a vaccine that doesn't last more than a year. And last year's flu shot efficacy rate was around 47 percent. So they're mandating a vaccine that may not work and needs to be re-administered every single year. It raises concerns about the ability of an individual or a parent to make an informed decision," Davis said.

Parents concerned

One parent who agrees is Bruce Zarembka, an outspoken government watchdog from East Providence who is also Director of Acquisition at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

"The flu vaccine is one of the biggest scams ever pushed on the public by 'Big Pharma' with the help of the government. This new initiative just looks to expand more control over people as well as assist those 'Big Pharma' companies that have greased the palms of so many in Washington," he said.

"Look at the facts...the flu vaccine has very little value."

Mandatory for all students under 5 years old

Under the plan, annual influenza vaccination would be mandatory for all children between 6 months and 59 months before entering public or private preschool or day care programs. Students deemed exempt for medical or religious reasons would be expelled during a flu outbreak.

"The concern is that it allows for any unvaccinated child to be excluded from their preschool or day care in the event of a flu outbreak. There's an outbreak every year. They can last several weeks at a time. This would have serious effect on these children."

The proposal is now being considered by the Department of Health, which will either pass it, amend it, or drop it. Given the lack of public outcry at the hearing, the proposal is likely to pass.

Until then, "there's not a whole lot else we can do," Davis said.

"We've registered our concerns and asked the Department of Health to inform us if they make the choice to disregard our concerns. If the regulation goes into effect and children are excluded from school, we're going to want to know about it."

Some are in favor

Tracy Adams Capobianco, Director of Little Red Schoolhouse childcare center in East Providence, is in favor of the proposal.

"As an owner of a Day Care/Preschool I have my staff get the flu shot. I get the flu shot, my children get the flu shot and I strongly recommend to the parents of the children at the center that their children receive flu shots," she said.

"I send home several notices from RI Department of Health to the parents."

The argument over vaccination continues to rage between the medical community, parents, and – perhaps to the detriment of all sides – celebrity turned anti-vaccination activist, Jenny McCarthy. Rhode Island is not the first to wade into what's become a passionate national debate.

Recently, 750 students faced suspension in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system in North Carolina for not having their TDaP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) booster. Students must have up-to-date vaccinations or face suspension by state law. (The county provides free vaccinations.)

Phil Plait, a columnist for Slate Magazine and author of the book "Death from the Skies!", recently wrote on the issue:

"A parent does not have the right to have their child in a public school if that child is unvaccinated, and for the same reason health care workers should not be unvaccinated. It all comes down to a very simple reality: It puts other children at risk."

The testimony from the public hearing will be reviewed by Department of Health Director Michael Fine, MD. Fine recently declared that the flu is widespread in Rhode Island. This declaration triggered Rhode Island's regulation requiring all healthcare workers who have not been immunized against the flu to wear surgical masks during direct patient contact.

"Since vaccination is the best defense against influenza, it is extremely important for everyone to get vaccinated now if they have not already done so," said Fine.

This year's vaccine protects against H1N1, among others

The dominant strain of flu circulating in Rhode Island and the country is H1N1, which was first detected in 2009. This strain effects children, young adults, and middle aged adults more than other strains. The Department of Health said this year's vaccine protects against H1N1 flu, as well as two or three other strains (depending on what type of vaccine that people receive).

"Everyone older than six months of age should be vaccinated against the flu every year. In addition to healthcare workers, vaccination is especially important for pregnant women, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, and asthma," according to the Department of Health.


Related Slideshow:
The Top 30 Highest Paid State Contractors in RI

Below is the list of the top 30 highest paid private contractors for the state of Rhode Island, ranked from least to greatest. Each contractor is identified along with a summary of services that were provided and the department or state agency that hired them. Because contractors will often be hired to offer multiple services or work on numerous projects in a given year, only a basic summary of their work is provided. In cases where a contractor worked for several departments, only a representative sample is listed. The ranking of top contractors excludes payments to other government entities, like cities and towns, as well as quasi-public agencies like the Economic Development Corporation.

Prev Next

#30

Aetna Bridge Company

Total Amount Paid: $4,925,321.79

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#29

Tri-Town Community Action Agency

Total Amount Paid: $5,089,184.90

Agencies: Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services

Services Provided: Social, educational, health, prevention, and other services for low-income residents

Prev Next

#28

Commonwealth Land Title and Insurance Co.

Total Amount Paid: $5,266,256.00

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#27

U.S. Bank National Association

Total Amount Paid: $6,005,396.73

Agency: Department of Administration

Services Provided: Debt service payments

Prev Next

#26

Hess Corp.

Total Amount Paid: $6,053,314.22

Agency: Department of Administration

Services Provided: Facilities management

Prev Next

#25

Commonwealth Engineers & Consultants, Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $6,424,070.99

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#24

Measured Progress, Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $6,430,828.68

Agency: Department of Education

Services Provided: School testing services

Prev Next

#23

Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $6,524,278.36

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#22

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.

Total Amount Paid: $7,302,036.24

Agencies: Office of Health and Human Services

Services Provided: Management of social services programs

Prev Next

#21

Adil Business Systems, Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $7,627,152.65

Agencies: Multiple departments including Corrections, Health, and Public Safety

Services Provided: IT services, temp staffing, health care staffing

Prev Next

#20

Deloitte Consulting, LLP

Total Amount Paid: $9,792,452.99

Agencies: Department of Administration, Office of Health and Human Services, and Department of Business Regulation

Services Provided: Building of a new information technology platform for state health agencies, related to the health benefits exchange

Prev Next

#19

Manafort Brothers, Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $9,883,340.22

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#18

Northern Construction Service, LLC

Total Amount Paid: $10,203,522.21

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#17

J. H. Lynch & Sons, Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $10,223,421.90

Agencies: Departments of Administration and Transportation

Services Provided: Construction work for capital projects

Prev Next

#16

Morneau & Murphy

Total Amount Paid: $11,437,742.50

Agency: Department of Environmental Management

Services Provided: Bond counsel (legal services)

Prev Next

#15

Wakely Consulting Group

Total Amount Paid: $11,780,595.16

Agency: Office of the Governor

Services Provided: Consulting services on multiple aspects of the new health benefits exchange

Prev Next

#14

Delta Dental of Rhode Island

Total Amount Paid: $11,960,217.65

Agency: Department of Administration

Services Provided: Dental insurance benefits

Prev Next

#13

Newport Grand Jai Alai, LLC

Total Amount Paid: $13,283,588.53

Agency: Department of Revenue

Services Provided: Lottery services

Prev Next

#12

International Game Technology

Total Amount Paid: $13,696,756.41

Agency: Department of Revenue

Services Provided: Lottery services: manufacturer for gaming machines

Prev Next

#11

Wells Fargo Bank NA

Total Amount Paid: $13,850,661.19

Agency: Department of Administration

Services Provided: Debt service payments

Prev Next

#10

Narr. Electric Co./National Grid

Total Amount Paid: $15,613,696.50

Agencies: Multiple departments including Transporation, Administration, Environmental Management, and Public Safety

Services Provided: Electric utility

Prev Next

#9

First Student Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $16,690,458.62

Agency: Department of Education

Services Provided: Busing services for state-run schools

Prev Next

#8

D'Ambra Construction Co., Inc.

Total Amount Paid: $16,883,366.30

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#7

Noresco, LLC

Total Amount Paid: $20,198,120.59

Agency: Department of Administration

Services Provided: Facilities management (focusing on energy services)

Prev Next

#6

S & R/Pihl A Joint Venture, LLC

Total Amount Paid: $21,796,515.27

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#5

HP Enterprise Services, LLC

Total Amount Paid: $23,038,424.72

Agency: Office of Health and Human Services

Services Provided: Fiscal agent for state Medicaid program

Prev Next

#4

GTECH Corporation

Total Amount Paid: $44,079,461.35

Agency: Department of Revenue

Services Provided: Lottery technology products and services

Prev Next

#3

Cardi Corporation

Total Amount Paid: $52,191,502.81

Agency: Department of Transportation

Services Provided: Infrastructure and engineering work

Prev Next

#2

Bank of New York Trust Company

Total Amount Paid: $93,395,096.54

Agencies: Departments of Administration, Transportation, Public Safety, and the Office of the General Treasurer

Services Provided: Banking services including debt service payments

Prev Next

#1

United Healthcare

Total Amount Paid: $257,263,386

Agency: Department of Administration

Services Provided: Administration of health insurance benefits

Note: Includes total of payments to United Healthcare and its divisions.

 
 

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Comments:

JOJO MONKEY

All these vaccines are unproven shots in the dark with terrible long and short term side effects...This is the unholy marriage of big pharma and government for control and profit. There are many ways to protect yourself from this lie...do your homework.

Wuggly Ump

JOJO MONKEY is so right on this.

These things become mandated by bureaucrats, because that's what they think is a good idea today.

steven richard

vaccines are effective and do work, this has been proven. the reason why people who haven't been vaccinated aren't getting sick is because so many others have been vaccinated.
long term effects huh? such as being immune to polio maybe? or how about smallpox? measles, mumps, rubella perhaps? funny only hear about that in third world countries now, or in the case of the unvaccinated.
so if it was your daughter and it was Gardasil or a change at getting cervical cancer, well its a no brainer for me, she can get the Gardasil. or did you think she was only going to have 1 partner her whole life or become celibate? go back to fantasyland

David Beagle

I often wonder how urban areas deal with the influx of unexpected students from third world countries at the beginning of the school year. What about THEIR vaccinations? And, being Rhode Island, you have to wonder what connected relative or loyal democrat soldier benefits from such mandates.

Tom Ra

Mandated vaccinations are out of control.
The State of RI forces Hepatitis B vaccinations on NEWBORNS!
As per the CDC, here are the Risk Groups for Hep B:
http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HBV/HBVfaq.htm#overview
Men who have sex with men
Injection drug users
Household contacts of persons with chronic HBV infection
Health care and public safety workers at risk for occupational exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids
Hemodialysis patients
Sex partners of infected persons
Sexually active persons who are not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship
Infants born to infected mothers

No where does it say infants in general who play a lot are at risk, or anything similar!

The State Protocol is to NOT give parents the option to opt out of the program, even though you do. In fact, generally the hospital runs the state mandated tests without telling you anything! This includes a newborn blood screening, and the State keeps the blood sample on file until the child reaches adulthood!
The KIDSNET program is even worse, the default is to keep your PII and Health information viewable to anyone with access, you have to call and put a block on it!

I will not participate in these State mandated programs, I will discuss with my pediatrician what vaccinations he recommends, and when to give them, and I will only use a pediatrician that does not report to KIDSNET. I have no relationship with any doctors or hospitals that are receiving this information, and do not desire any! My and my family's medical decisions remain with us and our chosen doctors.

If you are going to give birth soon, advise the hospital and repeat it on the day you go into labor that you do not want any screenings or vaccinations done, as they run these tests right after you give birth and there is still a lot of excitement and recovery from labor which does not give a parent the chance to evaluate or ask questions as they should.

KIDSNET information PDF: http://www.health.ri.gov/publications/brochures/newbornscreeningandservices/WhatYouNeedToKnowBeforeYouHaveYourBaby.pdf

Refusal froms are on this page, on the right, and on the last paragraph:
http://www.health.ri.gov/newbornscreening/for/hospitals/

JOJO MONKEY

good one David!

Odd Job

only parents with bread dough between their ears wouldn't vaccinate their children.

pearl fanch

Everyone has honestly lost their minds. Unbelievable.

Gary Arnold

Maybe it says a lot about the people in RI, they don't understand that you should try to keep your kids healthy so the kids can learn while in school, not be contagious so as to get other kids sick or teachers (all giving more reasons for being out of school and missing what will not be made up).
The flu comes every year in different strains, get the shots, be healthy and give the kids a chance to LEARN while in SCHOOL. Absenteeism is directly related to performance in school, lets have some logic in people minds when lashing out to school regulations. I mean the schools insist that kids have a breakfast and we pay for a large share of kids for breakfast, why, because they can learn better if they not hungry, same with the flu, if they get it, they will not learn.

Marie Dawn Christie

It will be a cold day in hell when the government can tell me what I can give to my children! That is where the issue lies.

Odd Job

Funny, but if the gub'mnt said it was illegal to vaccinate, bet a lot of these no-vaccine chowderheads would flip-flop.
Can't see the forest through the trees types.

Wuggly Ump

Every time a new mandate is implemented more tax money is spent on enforcement. Anyone Government can tell me it's a good idea to do something, it's up to me to decide wether or not to take that advise. Think about the people making the determination of what to give or not give. Government gets bigger when it creates something more for us to pay for.

As far as the science, remember the Titanic was an unsinkable ship, where is it now?




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