Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a nonprofit educational charity, has been a tireless human rights advocate for vaccine safety and informed consent for over 35 years.
In this interview, we discuss measles outbreaks and how the ever-intensifying pressure by the forced vaccination lobby in 2019 to eliminate vaccine exemptions, not only in California but in many other states as well, is affecting the public conversation about vaccination and informed consent rights.
"It's been an unprecedented year in this country," she says. "The assault on vaccine exemptions has covered the whole country. The NVIC has monitored more than 500 vaccine-related bills that have been introduced in the states this year.
We have actively reported on and issued action alerts, in many cases, on more than 200 vaccine-related bills. What has happened this year as a result of the World Health Organization declaring that vaccine hesitancy is one of the top 10 global threats to health in this world, [it] was immediately followed by — and I don't think coincidentally — reports of outbreaks of measles, just like in 2015."
Fear Mongering Eliminated Personal Belief Exemptions
As Fisher notes, it was déjà vu all over again. In 2015, there was an outbreak of measles at Disneyland in California. The same thing that happened in 2015 happened again this year.
After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared "vaccine hesitancy" as one of the top 10 global threats to public health in January 2019,1 there were highly publicized reports of measles outbreaks in Washington, California and New York and children attending school with vaccine exemptions became the scapegoats.2
Just like in 2015, in 2019 the fear mongering about measles outbreaks was turned into a national media campaign to blame parents whose children were attending day care and school with vaccine exemptions, despite the fact that nationally only 2% of children in the U.S. attend public or private schools with vaccine exemptions for any reason — medical, religious, philosophical or conscience.3
In 2015, the same kind of exaggerated media hype stampeded the California legislature into removing the personal belief vaccine exemption, which included religious and philosophical beliefs.4
This year, the fear mongering resulted in the elimination of the religious and conscience exemption in Maine and the religious belief exemption in New York.5 In Washington state, the conscience exemption for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine was eliminated.
In California, the legislature passed a bill that essentially eliminates the medical exemption by legally prohibiting doctors from granting a child a medical exemption unless it strictly conforms to narrow vaccine contraindications approved by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Widespread Assault on Informed Consent to Vaccination Rights
So far in 2019, 18 states have proposed to eliminate or restrict vaccine exemptions, but only Maine and New York actually went through with it, and Washington state only restricted the conscience exemption for MMR vaccine, leaving the religious, conscience and medical exemptions in place for all other vaccines mandated for school attendance.
The good news is that vaccine exemptions were successfully protected in 15 other states where bills have been introduced to restrict or remove vaccine exemptions.
"Parents and enlightened health care professionals stood up this year, contacted their legislators [like] we have asked them to do for 10 years now, and showed up by the thousands at public hearings on these bills.
We were able to stop bad bills in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont, Washington, Oregon and Texas. We were able to hold the line on some of these vaccine bills, especially to take away exemptions," Fisher says.
The NVIC Advocacy Portal — an online communications and advocacy network created 10 years ago — was a major catalyst for that success.6 Registration is free, and puts you in direct electronic contact with your own state and federal legislators.
You also receive action alerts with talking points via email when bills are moving in your state so you can take action to support good vaccine bills that protect your right to make voluntary vaccine decisions for yourself and your children, or to oppose bills that take that right away from you.
How to Stay in the Know
"What we've done is made it easy for you to become a vaccine choice activist," Fisher says. And, the strategy is clearly working. So, if you've not yet signed up, please take a moment to register to be a user of the NVIC Advocacy Portal today.
"We encourage everyone to sign up because what is happening in this country is, like I said, unprecedented," Fisher says. "It's going to be worse next year. There are three states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that still have bills pending to take away vaccine exemptions.
Already, two states — Florida and Massachusetts — have prefiled bills for 2020 to take away religious exemptions. Florida [also wants to] restrict the medical exemption to only CDC contraindications. They're going to create a medical board that's going to review all medical exemptions.
We're predicting that Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin are going to be particularly vulnerable in 2020. There are bills pending in D.C. and New Jersey [and] we expect more to be introduced next year that will allow minor children to give consent to vaccination without their parents' knowledge or consent.
The pattern we're seeing is that there is a move in this country to eliminate all vaccine exemptions, effectively, because the medical [exemption] has become so restrictive, it's almost a nonexemption …
Signing up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal really empowers you to be part of the process in protecting your informed consent rights when it comes to vaccination."
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Vaccinated Can Still Get Infected With, Transmit Disease
The main reason mandatory vaccination proponents give for removing all personal belief exemptions and severely restricting the medical vaccine exemption is that unvaccinated children (and adults) pose a threat to herd immunity, also described by public health officials as "community immunity."
The concept of herd immunity is based on the idea that if a large enough percentage of individuals in a population are immune to being infected with and transmitting a viral or bacterial disease, they serve as a barrier to protect individuals who are not immune.
The theory of vaccine-acquired herd immunity maintains that if a certain percentage of individuals in a population are vaccinated, a viral or bacterial disease will not be transmitted in the population and make vaccinated or unvaccinated people sick.
Estimates made by public health officials for how high the vaccination rate must be in a population in order to prevent infection and transmission of measles, mumps, pertussis or other diseases varies, depending upon the microbe causing the disease.
For measles virus, current estimates range from 93% to 95%.7 Nationally, more than 94% of school children in the U.S. have received two doses of MMR vaccine and, in some states, the MMR vaccination rate is over 98%,8 yet measles outbreaks still occur. According to the vaccine-acquired herd immunity theory, this should not happen. As noted by Fisher:
"One of the biggest myths out there is that when you get vaccinated, you are guaranteed to not get the disease for which you've been vaccinated against. What people don't understand is you can get vaccinated and be infected subclinically. That means you have no symptoms or very few symptoms.9,10,11
But you can still transmit that infection to other people. When you have subclinical infections or atypically presenting infections in vaccinated people, those people are not being diagnosed and reported.
Who is being diagnosed and reported? The people who are fully expressing the symptoms. Many times, those are unvaccinated people. They're fully expressing, where the vaccinated are atypically or subclinically presenting. They're never diagnosed and reported.12
So, it looks as if all of the disease is occurring in unvaccinated people. It's not. With pertussis, the medical literature is clear that both the whole-cell DPT vaccine and acellular vaccine do not always block infection. You have subclinical infections and transmissions.13,14
The same with measles vaccine, mumps vaccine and influenza vaccine … 15,16,17 What's happening is people think that only unvaccinated people are actually spreading disease, when that is not true."
What's more, measles outbreaks occurred not just in the U.S. this year, but around the world.18 Unfortunately, there's no data showing the prevalence of how many vaccinated people are being asymptomatically infected with and transmitting the wild-type measles virus in the U.S. or other countries.19,20 If such surveillance is in fact being done, health authorities are not talking about it.
"There's no public acknowledgment that they're doing it. I'd like them to answer the question, 'How many people in this country are getting subclinically infected and are transmitting after being vaccinated?' That's a big question that should be answered," Fisher says.
Can You Trust the Vaccine Rule Makers?
Certainly, the technology exists to provide an answer to that question. But chances are the answer likely would conflict with current national vaccine policy and the endgame of maximizing vaccine manufacturers' profits by aggressively promoting a 100% vaccination rate with all government recommended vaccines, so it's not a priority.
This is part and parcel of the problem, as many of the most basic questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness simply are not addressed with high quality scientific research and data collection.
"There needs to be more transparency with regard to a lot of things with vaccine science policy and law," Fisher says. "There is not enough transparency on the part of the government, which develops vaccines in partnership with the drug companies, that licenses vaccines and that makes national policy for vaccines.
As I mentioned, they're trying to codify into state law the recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the CDC.21 That's an appointed body by the CDC.22
They're trying to make that body a de facto lawmaking body in this country. They're unelected people who were appointed by the CDC. Why should a handful of people be allowed to effectively be lawmakers?"
What's more, individuals appointed to federal vaccine advisory committees can be given conflict of interest waivers.
So, sitting on these vaccine policymaking committees there are individuals who may have gotten grants from the CDC or another federal agency involved in vaccine development, regulation, policymaking or promotion, or may have financial relationships with drug companies selling vaccines, like being paid to conduct clinical trials, and they are voting on whether a new vaccine should be licensed or recommended for universal use by everyone.23
"A lot of people who are considered vaccine experts definitely have financial relationships with the government, in terms of government grants and also the manufacturers for testing or running clinical trials or otherwise being involved with the vaccine manufacturers.
These public-private partnerships between the federal health agencies and the pharmaceutical companies that have been allowed by Congress to develop over the last 30 years are very problematic.24
Because if you have a business partnership with someone and you're supposed to be regulating that industry, like the FDA is supposed to be regulating these companies, how are you going to regulate your business partner? You're not."
Freedom of Choice Does Not Infringe on Pro-Vaccine Beliefs
The massive collusion between the pharmaceutical industry and federal regulatory agencies that are supposed to monitor and regulate them is really at the core of the problem, as these unholy alliances end up putting profits before safety.
There is a revolving door between people who work for U.S. federal health agencies and then go to work for the pharmaceutical industry and the other way around.25,26 This means that Big Pharma, which over the past decade has spent $2.5 billion lobbying the federal government, is having a tremendous influence on vaccine regulation, policymaking and law.27
In recent times, we've seen vicious public attacks against anyone who questions vaccine safety, policy and law, or vaccine science. There have been extreme calls for public shaming, identification, criminal prosecution, quarantine and imprisonment, and demonization of those criticizing vaccine safety and refusing to get government recommended vaccines.
A doctor developing vaccines who lobbies for "no exceptions" forced vaccination laws has referred to parents of vaccine injured children as a "hate group," and one prominent newspaper suggested vaccine critics should be physically harmed.28,29,30,31
Most providers of vaccine information on the internet are also now being censored by Google, effectively preventing people from finding what could be life-saving information.32
As a result of that suppression, it's incumbent upon you, if you know the truth, to protect the future of our country by fighting for freedom of choice and freedom of information gathering. As noted by Fisher:
"These attacks on freedom of speech, the right to dissent, the right to criticize government and ask them to do a better job in protecting the public's health is symptomatic of the close financial partnerships between the pharmaceutical industry, the government and the medical trade …
I think even people — especially people who want to use vaccines — who want to follow the CDC's vaccine schedule need to understand that the work we're doing is actually helping to protect them as well, because what we're advocating for is proper licensing standards at the FDA and wise vaccine policy-making at the CDC.
We defend your right to be able to make vaccine choices and use a few vaccines, all the vaccines or no vaccines. It's your right and responsibility to make that decision. If your freedom is taken away from you and you can't make that decision anymore, what you need to understand is that there are many more vaccines coming."33
The Lies Spun About Measles
Fisher has written an excellent and in-depth commentary on the history of measles, "What's Going on With Measles? The Science and Politics of Eradicating Measles," published May 25, 2019.34 If you're worried about measles, it's highly recommended reading. Fisher explains:
"I grew up in the '50s and '60s. I had measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and so did all of my friends and my family. There wasn't the fear of these childhood diseases that there is today … In the early 1960s, you had very influential, powerful public health officials and physicians in this country acknowledging that measles was really a moderate illness.
It did not cause widespread injury and death. They didn't just say it once. They said it multiple times, including before they decided to bring out the first measles vaccine. This is in the literature. It is contemporary descriptions in the '50s and '60s of what measles was like.
How did we go from that description to what we have today, which characterizes measles as one of the biggest threats to humanity? It's irresponsible. When public health officials and doctors don't tell the truth, people eventually find out [about it].
And then what happens? They lose trust in what doctors and public health officials say. Well, they should because they've been lied to. I know from personal experience. I came from a medical family. I trusted doctors and science. I believed what I was told. I didn't question vaccines. My son had a reaction to his fourth DPT shot. I was shocked that I hadn't been told the truth.
When I did this research on the history of measles and measles vaccine, I was blown away again by the fact that there was no transparency now about the real facts about this disease and the real facts about the risks associated with the vaccines, and also the effectiveness.
They knew from the very beginning, with the first killed and live virus measles vaccines, that the measles vaccines were not always blocking infection and that you could get atypical measles or have no symptoms and still transmit. They knew this …
They are only digging the hole deeper for people to not trust what they say. All along the way, they kept moving the goalpost in terms of how many people would have to be vaccinated in order for there to be herd immunity."
How Unvaccinated Individuals Strengthen Herd Immunity
Originally, the idea was to eliminate the measles virus entirely. Yet the concept of herd immunity has always involved a combination of temporary vaccine-acquired immunity and naturally acquired immunity.
When you're vaccinated, you can get asymptomatically boosted by coming in contact with the wild-type virus via people who are actively infected, and this is actually the best type of booster. But as noted by Fisher, we've chosen instead to manipulate the immune system of our children in an atypical way, through the administration of vaccines and vaccine booster shots, doing everything possible to prevent natural infection.
Can we honestly say that it has resulted in better public health? "I would argue it has not," Fisher says. By virtually eliminating the longer-lasting natural immunity offered by natural infection with wild-type measles virus, we now have a population that is more vulnerable to infection — not less. Fisher explains:
"What the medical literature shows is that baby boomers and the generation before us acquired natural immunity, which is qualitatively superior. It's longer lasting than vaccine-acquired immunity. We have been helping what looks like vaccine-acquired herd immunity.
We never were vaccinated, but we are contributing to the concept of what looks like vaccine-acquired herd immunity. When we die, you won't have that barrier anymore. They know that.35,36
Vaccine-acquired immunity is not the same as naturally acquired immunity. That has been the problem from the very beginning with the creation of these vaccines. They have never understood how to make vaccines mimic naturally acquired immunity exactly.37
I think the most shocking part, whenever I go into the medical literature, is understanding how much they do not know about the functioning of the immune system, about how infections confer immunity and how vaccines stimulate artificial immunity."38
Vaccine Makers Have No Liability
The vaccine industry is a significant profit center, making tens of billions of dollars each year — certainly enough incentive to continue the suppression of critics. But the real driver is the fact that in the U.S. today, vaccine makers have no financial liability for the harm caused by their products.
In any business, you have to balance financial threats and opportunities. In the case of vaccines, virtually all threats to the business have already been eliminated — with the exception of open public discussion about potential risks and failures of the product as well as the ability of the consumer to refuse to buy and use the product.
Financially, the federal government recommends and state governments mandate use of vaccines and, as of 2011 when the U.S. Supreme Court majority ruled that FDA licensed vaccines are "unavoidably unsafe," giant pharmaceutical companies marketing mandated vaccines in the U.S. have faced no risk whatsoever when their products cause injury or death.
"When the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 was passed … the companies still had liability," Fisher says. "They had liability for design defect, [meaning] failure to make a vaccine safer. Also, the doctors had liability in 1986. Companies and doctors could be liable in civil court.
People could also choose to go to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VCIP) run by the federal government. We also got safety provisions in that law — the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) system, the vaccine information statements, the duty to write down vaccine names and manufacturers' names and lot numbers in the medical record.
There were a lot of things that happened in that law, not the least of which was government acknowledgment that vaccines can injure and kill. But what happened after that law was passed?
In 1987, the medical trade associations very quietly, without us knowing about it, got an amendment attached to a budget bill. At the end of 1987, they gave the doctors liability protection.
Then, over the succeeding decades, Congress looked the other way while federal agencies and rulemaking authorities gutted that law — gutted the compensation provisions, gutted the safety provisions — and Congress itself added amendments at the behest of the [vaccine] companies and the medical trade associations.39
This law that is in place today isn't recognizable to the law that we worked on in the 1980s. It's been a huge betrayal of the public trust. It's a lesson learned. It's very difficult to get justice or to get a fair law over the long term when you're dealing with politicians who get great sums of money from the pharmaceutical industry."40
Do You Agree Your Child Is Expendable for the Greater Good?
As noted by Fisher, protecting civil liberties, freedom of thought, speech, conscience and religious belief are foundational to the founding and government of the United States. These are fundamental human rights that we must protect.
"I do believe that if people will wake up and stop being apathetic and will get involved in the legislative process and elect people of integrity who will not be bought out, we can turn this around..." Fisher says.
"I think we can have a revolution, but have it be a renewal, a rebirth of this country by good people because I do believe that most people are good and that most people want to help other people; they don't want injustice or cruelty. They want compassionate laws, not like the kind we're seeing with vaccines, which are not compassionate.
The [vaccine] laws we're seeing are based on a utilitarian rationale, which is immoral … That is that some people can be sacrificed for the rest. That a minority of people can be sacrificed for the majority ... Once you decide some people are expendable, the question becomes, 'How many are expendable for the greater good?' …
When you devalue the health of the individual, you, by extension, eventually devalue public health. This is what is being lost. We all are valuable. All of our lives are valuable and to be respected and to be protected. Not just, what the government says, 'some people.'
I look at this whole issue of how we're all supposed to get vaccinated to protect the immunocompromised who are undergoing chemotherapy or recently have had an organ transplant. But what about the people who can't get through the process of vaccination without being injured or dying?
Why are their lives less important that the lives of people going through chemotherapy or having an organ transplant? This is why the narrowing of these vaccine exemptions and the elimination of the vaccine exemptions is so dangerous for people who can't get through the process of vaccination without being harmed. There are many more of those people than people realize."
Some Good News as We Move Forward
The once-open internet is now anything but, thanks to Google becoming an unassailable monopoly aligned with the drug and chemical industries, both of which are major revenue sources. As a result, educational platforms are being censored and eliminated. But there's hope.
I recently met with about 500 other individuals in San Diego for a gathering to discuss the future of the internet, and there's now a plan in place for the creation of an alternative platform for uncensored health information. Between us, we have connections with hundreds of thousands, maybe upwards of half a million to a million health care clinicians who are sensitive to the censorship issue.
They in turn have connections with thousands of patients in their practice. Together, I have no doubt we will be able to drive people to this new search engine. I'm quite certain it will spread like wildfire. This platform will be every bit as viable and every bit as known throughout the United States and the world as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Wikipedia.
People will know that if you want the truth about health — we're not going to focus on anything else — this is the place. Because conventional media, the internet through Google, Facebook, YouTube and all the rest are going to be under strict control.
Support NVIC Today!
Ten years ago, I listened to an audiotape of a vaccine conference where Barbara Loe Fisher was speaking. Her dedication and passion inspired me to get involved and to support the NVIC on an ongoing basis. As a Health Liberty partner, the issues facing NVIC are highlighted for an entire week each year, during which we ask for your support.
We hope you'll help us fight this tyranny because, clearly, the tip of the spear of the oppression of vaccine information is aimed at the NVIC and others who are trying to present the truth and are concerned about vaccine safety.
During this Vaccine Awareness Week, I will match your donation to the NVIC dollar for dollar, to help this invaluable organization receive the funds they need to continue this important public service work.
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When I first reached out to her a decade ago, the organization was nearly at the point of having to shut down. Thanks to your combined support, the NVIC has been able to stay afloat all these years.
"That's true," Fisher says. "You made a very big difference at a critical point in our history. I will always be grateful to the many followers you have who have supported NVIC and our mission. It's made all the difference.
I know that a lot of people count on NVIC because we've been here for 37 years. We've never wavered in our message. Our message has always been about preventing vaccine injuries and deaths and defending informed consent, and I look forward to another 30 years of working with you."