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OPPOSE VT S199 and H527 Trying to Remove Philosophical Exemption

We don’t often send out a national alert on an issue that is currently affecting only one state, but this is one that we truly all need to join together across the country and help fight. Families in Vermont are facing an unprecedented attack on their rights to make informed independent vaccination choices by forced vaccination proponents in the Vermont Legislature.  There are 2 bills filed that are attempting to remove the philosophical exemption to vaccination in Vermont.  One bill has a hearing this Friday and legislators are predictably being grossly misled.
We need your help to contact every person and organization in Vermont that you can to alert them about these bills and ask them to please contact legislators there to oppose S199 and H527. 
Below, we’ve posted the alert we sent to Vermont NVIC Advocacy Portal Members that you can forward to your Vermont contacts.  It may be worthwhile for you to read the explanation of how the vaccination rates are being misrepresented because this is the same type of manipulation of numbers that was done in Washington State last session and this way you will be ready to counter misleading representations of vaccination rates in your own state.
If you have some time and want to help in another way, please do some online searches for media articles related to these bills in Vermont and go to the comment sections and help dispel the misinformation being put out by the forced vaccination groups. Thank you for your help.
Dawn Richardson, Director of Advocacy
National Vaccine Information Center
http://NVIC.org and http://NVICAdvocacy.org

[email protected]

Dear Vermont NVIC Advocacy Team Members,
Your rights to make informed independent vaccination choices for your family are under attack by forced vaccination proponents in the Vermont Legislature.  We need your timely help to contact legislators to oppose these actions.
The Senate Health and Welfare committee is holding a public hearing this Friday February 3rd at 11:00 am on S199  which is attempting to remove the philosophical exemption to mandated vaccines in the state of Vermont. H527 is another bill filed to also try to remove the philosophical exemption, and it is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Health Care.
We are counting on the families and health care practitioners in Vermont who want to preserve the right of informed consent to vaccination which includes the legally protected right to delay or decline vaccines to work hard to help fight these two bills. 
We are asking you to please take the following steps to fight these bills:
1) Contact members of the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare and ask them to oppose S199.  Explain why this exemption is important to your family and why the state should offer it. 
Senator Claire Ayer
Senator Kevin Mullin sponsor
Senator Anthony Pollina
802-229-5809 or 802-223-6767
Senator Sally Fox
Senator Hinda Miller

2)Please consider attending the Senate Health and Welfare Committee hearing on S199 and offering short testimony against it this Friday, February 3rd at 11:00 am in the Senate Chamber.
3) Also contact your state senator and state representative and ask them to oppose S 199 and H527.   If you log in to the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and view this alert on the Vermont state page, we will automatically lookup who your legislators are and display them to the right of this alert. You can click on their names to open up their contact information.  This free confidential service requires your registration and login in order for us to be able to calculate who you legislators are.
4) Send this to as many friends and family in Vermont that you can and ask them to please register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal so they can get added to this email list and receive updates how they can help fight this bill during this session.
5) Contact all the members of the House Committee on Health Care and ask them to Oppose H527.
Although H527 has not been set for a hearing yet, your opposition needs to be communicated now. This could be scheduled any day now.
Rep. Michael Fisher
(802) 453-5517
Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas
(802) 222-3536
Rep. Paul Poirier
(802) 476-7870
Rep. Leigh Dakin
(802) 875-3456
Rep. Jim Eckhardt
(802) 342-0140
Rep. Patti Komline
(802) 867-4232 
Rep. Mary Morrissey
(802) 442-2092
Rep. Christopher Pearson
(802) 860-3933
Rep. Kristy Spengler
(802) 864-6567
Rep. George Till sponsor
(802) 899-2984
Rep. Mark Woodward
(802) 635-7166


In addition to giving your own reasons why these bills need to be opposed, it would be great for some to address with the legislators that Vermont’s vaccination rates have been cited out of context and adjusted by bill proponents to mislead legislators and obscure the fact that Vermont health officials have been highly successful at achieving increasing vaccination rates.

The raw numbers reported by the Centers for Disease Control’s National Immunization Survey for 2009 and 2010 shown in the chart below illuminate the improvements that Vermont has made and is not a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates as bill proponents have misled. 

As a matter of fact, the individual rates for each vaccine are quite high.  Also, according to the CDC’s National Immunization Survey in 2010, Vermont ranks 27th out of 50 states and has a higher overall vaccination rate in the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series than the following states: AL, CA, CO, DE, GA, ID, KY, ME, MD, MO, MT, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OK, OR, RI, SD, UT, WV, WY and has a higher overall rate than the following states that DO NOT have a philosophical exemption: AL, DE, GA, KY, MD, MT, NV, NJ, NY, RI, SD, WY. 

Anyone who represents that Vermont has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and that it is because of the philosophical exemption is being plain dishonest.  All of these rates are obtained directly from the CDC website.



VT 2009

2009 National

VT 2010

2010 National


4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series





3 DTaP





4 DTaP





3 Polio










3 Hib





3 Hep B




















(4:3:1:3:3:1:4 - 4 doses of DTaP, 3 doses of polio, 1 dose of MMR, 3 doses of Hib, 3 doses of hepatitis B, 1 dose of varicella vaccine and 4 doses of PCV)

The above vaccination rates show the following:

  • Vaccination rates in Vermont are not falling, they are substantially increasing with an overall vaccination rate increase for all doses of all vaccines in the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series of over 10% from 2009 to 2010.  Senator Mullin, the bill author, has been quoted in recent media articles attributing his reason for filing this bill to falling vaccination rates, and the raw numbers directly from the CDC simply do not support his assertion.

  • The health commissioner had been quoted in the media lamenting that last year only 60% of Vermont’s youth have been fully vaccinated while the national rate was 70%. That is simply incorrect as the CDC charts on their web site for the full vaccination series of 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 show that Vermont’s rate was 69% compared to a 70% national rate.

  • It is important to distinguish that the vaccination rates for each individual vaccine in Vermont are in the high 80 to mid 90th percentiles.  The overall calculation being cited by bill proponents represents what percentage of children have ALL DOSES of ALL vaccines.  In this calculation, a child missing the 4th dose of only one vaccine but has everything else is not counted.  They are not UNVACCINATED as forced vaccination proponents have misled.

  • It is also worth noting that while Vermont’s overall rate of 69% was just slightly lower than the national rate of 70%, and all the individual vaccination rates for each vaccine were the same or higher than the national rate except for the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine.  It was this one vaccine that primarily lowered the overall rate from the national average.  Vermont was one of the last 3 states to add varicella to the mandated schedule and didn’t do it until recently in 2008, hence the lower rates for this one vaccine which brings the overall rate down some. 

  • As one can tell by this vaccination rate information, if Vermont health officials really wanted to increase vaccination rates in Vermont, it would make a lot more sense to focus on the 10% of children simply failing to obtain the 4th dose of DTaP and the 8% of children failing to get the 4th dose of PCV rather than eliminating the philosophical exemption all together for the small percentage of families who use it.   Just helping current vaccinators to finish the schedule on time would dramatically increase overall vaccination rates.

  • There is absolutely no justification using the current vaccination rates for repealing the philosophical exemption.


Dawn Richardson, Director of Advocacy
National Vaccine Information Center
http://NVIC.org and http://NVICAdvocacy.org

[email protected]

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) works diligently to prepare and disseminate our legislative advocacy action alerts and supporting materials.  We request that organizations and members of the public forward our alerts in their original form to assure consistent and accurate messaging and effective action. Please acknowledge NVIC as originators of this work when forwarding to members of the public and like-minded organizations. To receive alerts immediately, register  at http://NVICAdvocacy.org, a website dedicated to this sole purpose and provided as a free public service by NVIC.