October 12, 2017

Press Release – for immediate release

Contact: Naomi Malik (401.243.7288), Jennifer Stella (802.917.3230)

 

Montpelier, Vermont, October 12, 2017

 -- Citizens file petition for hearing on vaccine evidence

 

Citizens for informed consent delivered a petition this week to Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe, asking for a hearing on so-called “evidence-based” educational material, which is “required reading” for parents filing religious vaccine exemption forms. The material was revised by the Vermont Department of Health (“VT DOH”) in 2015.

 

A VT DOH decision to expel healthy children from school, rather than to provide scientific references as support for VT DOH claims, served as impetus for the petition.

 

Before signing her religious exemption form this fall, Naomi Malik, a concerned mother, wrote to Levine and Holcombe:

 

“… it appears that several statements made by the VT DOH are not supported by the currently available evidence. As the agency entrusted with overseeing the health and well-being of all Vermonters, accuracy and transparency are paramount. …I am currently unable, in good conscience, to sign an exemption form acknowledging that I have read evidence based material.  I am more than willing to sign once I am provided with peer reviewed scientific references…”  

 

VT DOH did not provide Mrs. Malik with any scientific references. Instead, they sent her a letter of expulsion.

 

In 2015, Vermont’s Legislature voted to abolish a parent’s right to hold moral/philosophical vaccine objections. When enrolling kids in any Vermont college, daycare, or preK-12 school, parents who wish to avoid 1 or more of the State-required vaccine doses now must either find a doctor who will sign a medical exemption form, or file a religious exemption form, acknowledging they have read evidence-based educational material.

 

Petitioners assert that the educational material is devoid of scientific references to support its claims, and fails to fulfill 18 V.S.A. § 1122, which sets forth that the material contain evidence-based information about the risks of adverse reactions. Per 3 V.S.A. § 806, the agency has 30 days to initiate rulemaking or respond in writing to the petition, with reasons for denial.