Monday, November 5, 2012

Vaccine Choice Election Statement from Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice

Why we support Annette Smith and not Peter Shumlin in the 2012 election. 

It is true that Gov. Peter Shumlin sided with the House's push for more education on vaccinations over the Senate's push to remove the philosophical exemption. He was quoted as saying, "I do not believe that in the end the government should dictate to parents what inoculations their kids have to get in order to get a public education in Vermont." 

But there are too many troubling aspects to what happened with the vaccine bill to allow us to throw our continued support behind Peter Shumlin's administration this election. 

You see, the vaccine was bill NOT introduced for the well being of Vermonters. It was pre-planned, introduced and argued for by members of Shumlin's Administration. In fact, it was Shumlin's own Health Commissioner Harry Chen and Chen's own Health Department (in cahoots with medical trade organizations which have conflicts of interest) that planned, orchestrated and supported removing our right to say no to vaccines; Then it was Shumlin's Education Commissioner Vilaseca who this summer took a public stance against the upheld philosophical exemption. In summary, members of the Shumlin administration started this baseless attack against Vermonter's inalienable right to decide what they inject into our bodies - or by extension the bodies of our children.  

Shumlin also said he wanted to "start with more education, to separate the myths that you read about on the Internet with the facts that health care providers will give you on this." But, as anyone who has truly done their homework on vaccines will tell you, healthcare providers often know less than informed parents. For some reason this bill had to go through. Could not be killed. And in the end, the education on vaccines produced by Shumlin's administration has proven to be coercive, biased, inaccurate and inadequate. The final statute that was voted through even though it came along with unconstitutional language in it. We raised concerns to Shumlin about the unconstitutionality of the law, and his office assured us their attorney would look at it. 

Apparently, the administration thought it acceptable to sign an unconstitutional statute into law. Which now means we must either overturn it in court, or open everything back up for "fixing" in the coming session. Was this is a simple mistake, perhaps a coincidence? 

Speaking of coincidences, in response to the third Vermont death after vaccination last year (Kaylynne Matten), VT Health Commissioner Chen was quoted as saying, “Of course, it’s important for parents to understand the risks and benefits, and I have absolute respect for their right to make their own decisions.” This was clearly doublespeak, the likes of which we cannot support any more. Vermont vaccination rates for 2011-2012 school year have been published on the VT Health Department website and guess what?  They show rates are increasing - not decreasing - as lawmakers, the media and the general public were told by health officials during the unprecedented and regressive bid to remove Vermont's philosophical vaccine exemption last spring.

It is time for a new approach, and truthful data, with the needs and wants of local Vermonters at the center of legislative policy. Annette Smith has a proven track record of collaborating with concerned citizens on health and environmental issues. She is committed to resisting corporate influence and power and wholeheartedly supports vaccine choice, true informed consent and the Hippocratic Oath for Vermont's healthcare system. We can all learn a lot from Annette, and we hope she receives a great deal of support for her ideas for a 21st century Vermont. 

We plan to "Write-In" Annette Smith for Governor on November 6th, and hope that in the future, the Governor of Vermont will pay closer attention to the truth.