VT vaccination law called ineffective – BurlingtonFreePress.com
States with stricter vaccination laws have higher immunization rates and fewer outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles, according to recent study by the University of Georgia.
The study lists Vermont as one of nine states with the Ã¢Â€Âœleast effectiveÃ¢Â€Â vaccination laws to prevent disease outbreak. The state has one of the lowest immunization rates in the nation.
In an effort to boost immunization rates, the Vermont Legislature in May passed controversial legislation to tighten vaccination regulations but delayed the lawÃ¢Â€Â™s effective date until next year. The law would eliminate the stateÃ¢Â€Â™s philosophical exemption to mandatory school vaccinations.
Ã¢Â€ÂœThis research is consistent with previous findings that there is less vaccine preventable disease in states with stricter exemption requirements,Ã¢Â€Â said Christine Finley, immunization program manager with the Vermont Health Department. Ã¢Â€ÂœBased on such findings, the passage of legislation to eliminate VermontÃ¢Â€Â™s philosophical exemption, effective July 2016, should contribute to less disease in school age children.Ã¢Â€Â
Vermont requires schoolchildren to be immunized against Hepatitis B, Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis, Polio, Measles/Mumps/Rubella and Chickenpox. Parents may obtain an exemption to the requirement for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
A philosophical exemption is based on parentsÃ¢Â€Â™ personal beliefs and might arise from moral objections or safety concerns. That exemption is the one most commonly used in Vermont.
Higher rates of whooping cough were reported in states that allow philosophical exemptions to mandatory school vaccinations, according to the study.
Ã¢Â€ÂœStates with stricter policies have lower pertussis rates, which shows that policymakers do have it within their power to further limit the spread of these diseases,Ã¢Â€Â said study co-author David Bradford in a statement.
The study identified three policies that lower whooping cough rates. Among them were requiring state health department approval for nonmedical exemptions and allowing exemption from specific vaccines instead of all vaccines. Another policy involved levying criminal and civil punishment for noncompliance with vaccination policy.
The study named 18 states with the most effective vaccination exemption policies: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.
The least effective laws are in Vermont, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin, according to the study.
Vermont Coalition for Vaccination Choice has argued the choice to immunize should be left to parents because vaccinations cause serious health problems for some children. Some opponents of the Vermont legislation, including activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., also claimed the government agencies that regulate vaccines cannot be trusted to protect childrenÃ¢Â€Â™s health.
The study also found philosophical and religious exemptions have climbed in the last 10 years.
Ã¢Â€ÂœBack in 2007, the actress Jenny McCarthy went on Ã¢Â€Â˜OprahÃ¢Â€Â™ and espoused the view that there is link between the MMR vaccine and autism,Ã¢Â€Â Bradford said. Ã¢Â€ÂœThis led to a significant increase in philosophical exemptions.Ã¢Â€Â
Jennifer Stella, executive director of Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice, noted that the study co-author of the study is an economist who is active in the pharmaceutical market.
Bradford specializes in Ã¢Â€Âœthe impact of advertising and other informational sources on pharmaceutical markets,Ã¢Â€Â according to his profile on the Bates White economic consulting firm for which Bradford is an academic affiliate. The site also says he has led nearly 20 funded research projects.
Ã¢Â€ÂœYou can see already there is science, and there is spin,Ã¢Â€Â Stella said.
Stella said the study fails to account for poor vaccine effectiveness.
Ã¢Â€ÂœWe have seen high infection rates of whooping cough all over the country,Ã¢Â€Â Stella said.
The University of Georgia study was published earlier this month in the journal Health Affairs.
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University of Georgia study