Dear Parents, Colleagues and Friends of Liberty,
I apologize ahead of time for the length of this update but so much has gone on and all of it is important.
I am writing to you today with an urgent update regarding AB2109 and the draft personal beliefs exemption form that was obtained via a public records request along with approximately 55 pages of communication between employees of the California Department of Public Health and those who clearly had input into the drafting of California’s new vaccine exemption form. The current draft form is attached. Because the drafting process of this new form was exempted from the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), there was no real process and despite many attempts to have input and obtain a copy of this draft prior to now, there was nothing in place to force our state government to allow us to participate in any real way with the drafting of this form and its implementation. At times, many of us were flat out lied to regarding the lack of existence of the draft form. We now know it’s been in existence for months and an original draft was in place an entire year ago. No official final exemption form has been released to date despite the new law going into effect January 1, 2014. It remains unclear as to exactly when and to whom this new form will apply. Another highlight of AB2109 exempting California’s exemption form from APA is that the form can be revised at any time in the future, also without a process or public input.
The current language for the newly implemented religious exemption on the form is not in alignment with Governor Brown’s signing message (also attached) which states "…Additionally, I will direct the department to allow for a separate religious exemption on the form. In this way, people whose religious beliefs preclude vaccinations will not be required to seek a health care practitioner’s signature."
The current draft has two major problems. First, the religious exemption is worded "I am a member of a religion which prohibits me from seeking medical advice or treatment from healthcare practitioners." This language is highly discriminatory and not in alignment with the Governor’s signing message. One’s sincerely held religious beliefs may well preclude vaccinations but not all medical treatment, i.e. a visit to the emergency room after a car crash, broken bones, IV fluids, etc. Basically, the way the religious exemption is worded right now, only a very few select religions would "qualify" under this language. Whether or not a given school district, county health department or nurse would challenge an individual who signs said exemption is anyone’s guess. The point is, it’s unconstitutional and none of the state of California’s business what religion you belong or don’t belong to. Sincerely held religious beliefs that preclude vaccination may not necessarily preclude medical advice or treatment.
Second, there is an affidavit to sign at the bottom of the form which is NOT required by state statute at this time. Our state statute allows us to write our own affidavit in our own words. We do not have to sign something that states "An unimmunized student and the student’s contacts at school and home are at greater risk of becoming ill with vaccine-preventable disease". This new form that has been drafted is simply to accompany the letter or affidavit.
And it doesn’t end there. We have learned that some schools have already been implementing a different form put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics which contains extremely incriminating language. I was personally told that county school nurses have been directed to deal with implementing AB2109 and that they along with school districts and doctors have been assured that the AAP form they are using complies with AB2109. In other words, in an attempt to be in compliance come January 1, 2014, some districts and county health nurses have taken to coercing parents to seek out a signature from a medical practitioner on a form that incriminates the parent. Beware of these forms. One example is attached and is called "Refusal to Vaccinate" as opposed to "Decision to Forego Poisoning My Child". Attempting to hold parents liable for disease outbreaks is a hot topic of conversation lately amongst the anti-choice crowd, particularly Dorit Reiss and Paul Offit worshipers.
Given that there are four attachments to this email and I doubt most of you want to read 55 pages on top of my lengthy update, I wanted to pull a few gems from the communication that was obtained via the public records request. Emails were going back and forth an entire year ago as all of the players were chomping at the bit and frothing at the mouth over this new form they knew they would be involved in drafting:
"….I know the governor’s office came out w a statement making sure religious exemption was upheld. However, we also do no want parents making it easy to claim. Any way to make it more specific…ie designate which religion? There are really only a limited religions that take exceptions to vaccination…" (bold type mine for emphasis, all grammatical errors and slaughtering of the English language original in document) ~ email from Yasuko Fakuda to Eileen Yamada at CDPH on February 3, 2013, ironically what should have been my daughter’s 18th birthday.
Yasuko also writes to Eileen on October 24, 2012 "Regarding your question about billing for a visit just for this PBE form counseling…certainly there is a code, but it is never paid by the insurance. Then each doc has to decide if they will bill the pt. Many practices also charge for forms…a nominal fee, usually not exorbitant but I think anywhere from $5 to 20. For example, in my practice, we don’t charge extra if they come in w the form @ the time of check up. However, if the child is not seen, we do. You would also be surprised how many they come in with and how long the forms can be as this is not standardized. Some examples….public & private school forms plus camp forms…can be 3 or more! Another example is college forms…a few want the dates of immunizations and info written in w corresponding bubbles filled in! Over time, I now have the child fill in the bubbles."
Later in same email "I am mixed about including the PBE form in the acceptance packet, don’t want to encourage PBE." (Parental Belief Exemption)
and still later…"I am concerned about the singling out of the "religious" exemption that the governor is requiring. I guess to prevent those who are just declining Iz for uninformed or based on "wrong" info, you have included a place for them to fill in their religion. To quote Paul Offit’s words this weekend @ his seminar @ NCE, there is no religion that really protests getting vaccines…Oh well."
In an email dated October 18, 2012 from Eileen Yamada at CDPH to Dean Blumberg at UC Davis the following is stated: "It is the schools that will need to verify all the various letters/statements are submitted". Bold and italicization mine for emphasis, slaughtering of the English language original and in tact.
There’s more, but this is already lengthy. The bottom line is that if this new form is rolled out in its current format, it is unconstitutional, not aligned with Governor Brown’s signing message, and very restrictive in terms of a religious exemption. We provided modified language that would be constitutional, provide a religious exemption that is not restrictive and that language has not been acknowledged. California Medical Association, California Immunization Coalition and apparently even Paul Offit have all had a hand in the drafting of this form while we have not despite numerous requests to participate. I personally asked to be on a "stakeholder’s list" and was never notified ever of any type of meeting, discussion, questions, or issues. My emails and phone calls go unreturned. When I email Ron Chapman at CDPH, he will once in awhile delegate it to some lowly employee who then replies to me but answers no questions.
What can you do?
1) Ask your Senator and your Assembly Member to draft a letter similar to the one Assembly Member Tim Donnelly has written to the Governor (attached). Governor Brown needs to know that CDPH is not implementing his signing message in the true spirit of his intent. Worse than that, they are now including things on the form that don’t need to be there, like the affidavit. The anti-choice camp is all over it, http://momswhovax.blogspot.com/2013/10/call-for-action-ab-2109-or-pro-vax.html Excerpt below by Dorit Reiss:
"Anti-vaccination activists are concerned that this language does not go far enough. We should be concerned for other reasons: that it may allow people to be exempt from immunization, leaving their children and others at risk, without good reason.
We should not allow the anti-vaccination voice to be the only one heard. Speak up and let the health authorities know that you want the children of California protected against vaccine preventable diseases. "
2) Call the Governor’s office yourself and demand that Governor Brown insist that his signing message which accompanied AB2109 be implemented properly and in the spirit of his intent. This new form is overly burdenesome and it violates the first amendment of our Constitution.
Governor Brown’s office - 916-445-2841 phone, 916-558-3160 fax
3) Email addresses provided below for whatever use you see fit. These people are all paid by our tax dollars and seem to care nothing about parental rights, health freedom, our Constitution, religious freedom not to mention children’s health. AB2109 was never about education. It was about making our right to obtain an exemption from vaccination more difficult to obtain.
Ron.email@example.com Director of California Department of Public Health
DCampbel@chhs.ca.gov Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs at CHHS (Donna Campbell, yes email is correct with only one l in Campbell) phone 916-654-0572
Janne.Olson-Morgan@chhs.ca.gov employee at California Health and Human Services (CHHS) who has very lamely answered some emails
firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary at CHHS
email@example.com (in Governor Brown’s office, refuses to answer inquiries or acknowledge information)
firstname.lastname@example.org failed to notify all stakeholders of meetings, etc.
email@example.com failed to notify all stakeholders of meetings, etc.
Yasuko Fakuda firstname.lastname@example.org quotes from communications are above
Eileen Yamada email@example.com quotes from communications are above
4) Lastly, anyone with any contacts for media who actually do investigative journalism (I doubt they exist at all anymore), please forward this email as getting this in the public eye would be helpful but seems nearly impossible. I can also provide the documents that were received as a result of the public records request by a California citizen.
I wish I had better news but this is the sad state of affairs in the state of California at this point in time. For those in LA County or those following the trend of forcing flu vaccines or masks on healthcare workers see: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip/flu_order.htm Health Officer Order for Annual Influenza Vaccination Programs for Healthcare Personnel or Masking of Health Care Workers during the Influenza Season This is just the beginning of forced vaccinations on employees of all kinds across the nation.
On the brighter side of things, here’s a link to what I personally believe is the best movie/video ever put forth regarding the vaccine issue, Gary Null’s Silent Epidemic: The Untold Story of Vaccines Available to view for free right now on YouTube. I’m told DVD’s will be made available in the near future. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1m3TjokVU4
Thank you one and all and I sincerely hope you will be compelled to pick up the phone once more and contact your state legislators, Governor Brown and others in an attempt to positively impact the final outcome of California’s vaccine exemption form.
In Health and Liberty,