Lawmaker: Parents deserve more information on vaccines

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is working to pass legislation in the state that would require medical professionals to inform parents of potential risks associated with vaccines and the ingredients which they contain.

State Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) says his intent isn’t to discourage people from vaccinating their children if they wish to, only to ensure that they give proper informed consent before the vaccinations are administered.

“My bill doesn’t forbid vaccinations, it just says let me be informed,”  he told Pennsylvania’s ABC 27 News.

“Isn’t the old adage as a Libertarian buyer beware? This is basically, I’m aware. Where I can make an informed consent decision on what I’m doing with my child,” he added.

The lawmaker is also planning a resolution asking Congress to repeal the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which makes it virtually impossible for parents to sue pharmaceutical companies in the event that vaccines do cause a negative health outcome. Folmer contends that the legislation limits parent rights to refuse vaccines and violates the 5th Amendment’s guarantee of due process.

“Informed consent is already required for a number of medical treatments and procedures: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and blood transfusions. My legislation would extend patients’ rights to informed consent to vaccinations by requiring them to be informed of the potential risks and benefits of the vaccinations they are being given,” he explained in a recent op-ed for The News-Item. “More importantly, my legislation will require patients be given this information prior to their consenting to receive a vaccination.

“I believe informed consent should, at a minimum, mean the person from whom consent is being sought be given the opportunity to understand what they are being given, what the risks and benefits are and other potential consequences of the procedure they are facing.”

Members of the Pennsylvania medical establishment are already hitting back at the lawmaker.

As ABC 27 reported:

The medical establishment insists such a bill is unnecessary.

“It is very important for our children to get immunized and for the schools to track that,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s physician general and acting secretary of Health.

Levine is also a former pediatrician who says parents do sign off on vaccines and further, the science is settled.

“The vaccines are safe and effective and children and their families should be receiving them,” Levine said.

But the lawmaker says he isn’t ready to take their word for it with total faith, citing studies over the years which have linked vaccines to increases in autism rates.

From his op-ed:

From the 1940s when the first autism cases were diagnosed to the 1980s when the vaccine schedule was expanded, the rate of autism remained relatively stable. In the early 1990s, parents and physicians witnessed an alarming rise, which some call an epidemic, in autism rates. In one decade, the rate of autism increased 500 percent, from 1 in 2,500 to 1 in 500.

A reanalysis of a 2004 Centers for Disease Control study showed a higher connection between incidences of autism for children receiving the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine prior to 36 months of age. In 2008, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program awarded a family roughly $1.5 million for a vaccine’s role in an autism-related diagnosis.

Until these issues are further researched and/or a vaccine safety commission is established, I believe no patient or parent should be required to submit to a vaccination without informed consent.

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