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No Shots No school

No shots -- no school?

Mahatma Gandhi stated, "Every action that is dictated by fear or by coercion of any kind ceases to be moral." This imperative has been completely ignored by public health officials who seek to make vaccinations mandatory. Despite what is known, and more frighteningly, what is not known about the consequences of vaccine administration, vaccine proponents are not content to minister to those who come to them voluntarily. The American Academy of Pediatrics is "categorically opposed to any kind of optional immunization program," according to G. Scott Giebink, professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Legal decisions have been rendered both ways. Proponents of mandatory vaccination won a major victory in a 1904 Supreme Court decision upholding a 1902 Massachusetts mandatory smallpox vaccination law. The court held that it was within the police power of a state to provide for compulsory vaccination. (Jacobson vs. Massachusetts 49 L. Ed. 643). Other courts concurred. In Morris vs. Columbus (30 S.E. 850) the court held "The natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness is not an absolute right. It must yield whenever the concession is demanded by the welfare, health, or prosperity of the state."

All states currently have "mandatory" vaccination laws. Fortunately, all have provisions for exemption as well. All states provide for "medical" exemptions, although the requirements for such exemptions vary from state to state. In some states, only physicians licensed to practice medicine and surgery may issue such exemptions. In other states, chiropractors and naturopaths may issue exemptions as well as M.D.s and D.O.s. Twenty two states provide a relatively hassle-free "conscience" exemption for persons whose personal or philosophical beliefs oppose vaccination. Generally, a notarized statement to that effect is all that is required. Although all states do not provide for exemption on the basis of personal belief, all provide "religious" exemptions.

Happily, courts have broadly interpreted these laws to include "non-institutionally" held religious beliefs. Unfortunately, such victories often follow initial denial by school authorities and costly legal battles.

It is ironic that when the media promotes the "No shots -- no school" campaign each fall, provisions for exemption are rarely mentioned. Many public health authorities either do not know such exemptions are provided for in the law or choose to keep this information from parents. In many cases, the parent is unaware of the option to "just say no" officially. Parents seeking exemptions are advised to obtain a copy of the law (most public libraries have copies of state statutes) to show school authorities. A bit of effort may be required on the part of a parent who wishes to avoid having a child vaccinated. The exemption is well worth the time and energy required to obtain it.

Even proponents of vaccinations acknowledge (albeit reluctantly) that some children should not receive them. Known allergies to components of the vaccine, active illness (even a mild cold), and immunosuppression are all contraindications to vaccination. Yet, in mass immunization programs, examination for such contraindications is not performed. Have you ever seen a mass immunization program where the potential vaccine recipients received physical examinations? Or where blood tests were performed to check the immune system? Or where antibody studies were completed to see whether the patient was already immune to the disease in question? Was the dose customized to the weight of the patient? Was a physician in attendance with a "crash cart" and defibrillator in the event of an anaphylactic reaction? We haven't. Why? "Too costly," I was told by one school nurse. "What's a child's life worth?" I responded. The nurse had no comeback.

Another fact often overlooked in the decision making process is the extremely small percentage of individuals who develop a disease even when an epidemic ensues. Far less than 1% of a population generally develops a disease even in an epidemic. Yet to offer highly questionable "protection" to this tiny segment of the population, the other 99+% are forced to submit to a potentially lethal procedure without any diagnostic workup whatsoever. When I asked a public health official this question, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Since we don't know who the less than 1% will be who will get sick, we try to vaccinate everyone." I expressed thanks that he wasn't a surgeon!

Proponents of mandatory vaccination often claim that unvaccinated persons represent a threat to those who have been vaccinated. Such individuals view the unvaccinated as walking Petri dishes, poised and ready to propagate every pathogen for which a vaccine exists. In reality, if vaccinations are effective, they have absolutely nothing to fear from an unvaccinated child. In reality, it is the recipient of live virus vaccines who poses a threat to the public health.

(Dr. Christopher Kent, president of the Council on Chiropractic Practice, is a 1973 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. Named WCA "Chiropractic Researcher of the Year" in 1994, and recipient of that honor from the ICA in 1991 and again in 1998, Dr. Kent is director of research for EMG Consultants, Inc., and a co-founder of Paradigm Partners, Inc. and the Chiropractic Leadership Alliance. With Dr. Patrick Gentempo, Jr., Dr. Kent produces a monthly audio tape journal, "On Purpose," covering current events in science, philosophy, and politics of vital interest to the practicing chiropractor. For subscription information call 800-892-6463.)


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