November 16, 2007
For Immediate Release:
Expect dangerous reactions when children are treated like cattle
Washington, D.C. — The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons today condemned the “vaccine roundup” executed in Prince George’s county Maryland this week, and promised to do everything it can to support parents who refuse to immunize their children.
“This power play obliterates informed consent and parental rights,” said Kathryn Serkes, director of policy for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), one of the few national physician groups that refuse corporate funding from pharmaceutical companies.
In a scenario reminiscent of cattle round-ups, the state’s attorney has issued summons to more than 1600 parents of children who have not provided certificates of immunization for their children. But instead of toting a cattle prod, this state’s attorney chooses to wield a syringe to keep the “herd” in line.
Parents have been told to appear in Court on Saturday, and to subject their children to on-the-spot state-mandated vaccines of up 17 vaccine doses, or face imprisonment. Parents who ignore the court’s demands could face a $50 fine for every day their child is out of compliance or up to 10 days in jail.
“This campaign of intimidation to brutally enforce blanket vaccine mandates by government agencies and the school district gives no consideration for the rights of the parents or the individual medical condition of the child,” said Serkes.
Children should be carefully screened, medical records taken and decisions made carefully – not in an ad hoc assembly-line clinic in a county courtroom and under the brutal watch of law enforcement. This is a man-made disaster ready to waiting to detonate. Children could receive a dangerous cocktail of several vaccines without proper examinations. “The procedure is reckless and subjects children to the risk of severe reactions. Physicians would not be allowed to treat children in this way, without individual histories and physical exams – or informed consent,” said Jane M. Orient, M.D., AAPS Executive Director.
Money and politics may be at the center of the round of threats. The school district will lose a substantial amount of state funding if students do not comply with the vaccine mandate. “Apparently the district wants that money, even if it gets it off the backs of children,” said Serkes.
Mr. Ivey apparently has no problem invoking his own right to informed consent and parental control. In a radio interview on Thursday, he admitted that he has chosen to refuse the hepatitis B vaccines for his own children. “It’s interesting that parents have to ask the state’s permission by filing a form if they want to make the same decision for their children that he made for his own,” said Dr. Orient.
But his galling hypocrisy clearly demonstrates that not every vaccine is right for every child.
In their efforts to help the targeted parents, AAPS is contacting as many of them as possible to educate them about their rights under Maryland law and questions to ask before deciding whether vaccination is appropriate for their child (see below). “We’ll do our best to help the parents make an informed decision,” said Serkes. Representatives will also be on hand at the courthouse on Saturday, and AAPS is working to set up a legal team to help parents who refuse the vaccinations.
AAPS will also work with the National Vaccine Information Center to make sure parents are informed on how to report any adverse reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Such reporting is actually required, but even medical professionals are lax about filing the reports. Don’t expect the police to do it. The State’s Attorney General, the manufacturers, and the people giving the shots are immune from liability if the shots hurt somebody, however.
AAPS is also acting as coordinator for the “Hands Off Our Kids” coalition of parents across the country who were instrumental in overturning Texas Governor Perry’s executive order requiring the HPV vaccine for school girls last spring. The coalition is appealing to Gov. O’Malley to intervene in the case and work with the legislature to pass a philosophical exemption provision. (The letter to the governor is posted at www.AAPSonline.org.)
“All eyes are on PG County,” said Serkes. “It’s not just a local now, and parents across the country are ready to fight.”