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The Great Vaccine Debate: Why Some Parents Just Say No

The Call for Investigation

The NVIC is a nonprofit organization that works to raise government standards for vaccine licensure and policymaking. The NVIC does not promote the use of vaccines and does not advise against the use of vaccines. It supports the right of consumers to make educated, voluntary healthcare choices, and advocates ongoing scientific investigation into the long-term effects of multiple vaccinations on individuals and the public health. It is calling for government funding of independent researchers to investigate the reported links between vaccines and neurological and autoimmune disorders – researchers who have no conflicts of interest with vaccine manufacturers or public health agencies.

NVIC's co-founders worked with Congress on the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, a law that acknowledges the suffering of the vaccine-injured and their families and the need for vaccine-safety protections in the mass vaccination system. As of 2008, the U.S. Court of Claims had awarded more than $1 billion dollars to vaccine victims for their catastrophic vaccine injuries. Among those compensated was the family of Hannah Poling, who became autistic after receiving routine childhood vaccines. The case received much media coverage, and raised the growing national concern over the potential link between vaccines and autism.

Along with a federal vaccine injury compensation program, the law requires that vaccine providers report serious health problems following vaccination to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Since the government inaugurated this system in 1990, the number of entries has followed a steadily upward trend: from 1,920 in 1990 to 25,620 in 2007.

Mandated Vaccines and Your Rights

Increasingly parents are encountering school officials who require vaccinations before allowing children to enter school. Any school official who claims that your child must be vaccinated, however, is misinformed. In most school situations, parents or guardians can sign a form or send a letter stating that they are against vaccinations for medical or religious reasons – this excuses the school from any liability. The two most valid reasons for medical waiver are "the fear of allergic reaction in a sensitive child" and "to prevent possible damage to a weakened immune system." A note or certificate of medical waiver may need to be submitted by a physician licensed in your state.

If your child's school disallows your request, you or your doctor may not be using the right wording in your letter. While all immunization laws have exceptions you can use, the wording in each state differs. You can obtain this information through your local library or state representative.

If your child's health deteriorates after vaccination, he or she may be eligible for federal compensation.


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