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Education Reporter

Compulsory Vaccinations Put American Children at Risk

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The French Health Ministry has stopped immunizing French children for the adult disease hepatitis B because of evidence that the vaccine can cause neurological disorders and multiple sclerosis. American infants and children however, continue to be forced to submit to hepatitis B vaccinations.

Across the country, hospitals routinely inject newborn babies with hepatitis B vaccine during their first 24 hours of life (even when their mothers test negative for hepatitis B), and children must present proof of having received three hepatitis B shots before they can enter school. This includes daycare, kindergarten, elementary school, high school, or college. According to the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), there is no convincing medical reason or scientific evidence for this procedure.

Hepatitis B is primarily an adult disease transmitted through body fluids. Those most at risk are the highly promiscuous (heterosexual or homosexual), needle-sharing drug addicts, health care and custodial workers exposed to blood, and babies born to already-infected mothers.

A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report states that there were only 10,637 cases of hepatitis B in the United States in 1996, including only 279 cases in children under the age of 14. Hepatitis B is not fatal for most who contract it, is not epidemic except among those high-risk groups, and bears no relation to hepatitis A (the disease sometimes picked up in restaurants when food-handlers don't wash their hands).

For the problem of 279 children who have hepatitis B, millions of U.S. children are being forced to submit to vaccination consisting of three hepatitis B shots. Many parents are asking where such an intrusive and expensive rule originates, and how it can be enforced nationally since immunizations are a state, not a federal, matter.

An intricate system for promoting these types of health initiatives has been developed that is essentially beyond the spotlight of public scrutiny and without accountability. The CDC endorses a given vaccine, and the state legislatures delegate the decision-making power to state public health departments. Unaccountable health department bureaucrats make regulations that conform to CDC instructions and have the impact of law, and the drug manufacturers spend millions of dollars to advertise their products.

The CDC has doled out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to reward state health departments for promoting mass vaccinations, and has the power to withhold money grants if state health officials don't show proof of designated vaccination rates.

The 1993 Comprehensive Childhood Immunization Act, signed by President Clinton, gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $400 million to award to states to set up state vaccine registries to tag and track children so that they can be compelled to receive vaccinations. States receive either $50, $75 or $100 per child who is fully immunized with all federally recommended vaccines, including hepatitis B.

Most states now require children to be injected with about 33 doses of 9 or 10 different viral and bacterial vaccines in order to enter public school, including three doses of hepatitis B vaccine.

In 1995, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala gave the states the power to appropriate newborn babies' social security numbers in order to set up vaccine tracking registries. The CDC plans to network all the state registries in order to create a de facto centralized electronic database containing every child's, and ultimately every American's, medical records.

More than 22,000 reports of hospitalizations and injuries, including 300 deaths, following hepatitis B vaccination have been reported since 1990 to the U.S. government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. There have been no controlled studies to evaluate these reports, there is no adequate proof of the vaccine's long-term safety, little is known

about its effect on a newborn baby's immune system, and the disclaimers that the drug manufacturers put on the hepatitis B vaccine package are disturbing.

The hepatitis B vaccine may give only a temporary immunity, and it is not clear when booster shots will be required. Some of those who receive the hepatitis B vaccine may thereafter test positive for the disease because many routine blood tests are not sophisticated enough to differentiate between prior vaccination and the disease.

For more information from the National Vaccine Information Center, call 1-800-909-SHOT or visit their web site at www.909shot.com.

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