Dear Colorado NVIC Advocacy Team Members,
Please take action on this updated information on the attack on vaccine exemptions in Colorado from your NVIC State Director for Colorado Cindy Loveland. She can be reached at CODirector@NVICAdvocacy.org if you have any questions. Thank you!
UNDER ATTACK IN COLORADO:
RELIGIOUS AND PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS TO MANDATORY VACCINATIONS
ACTION ALERT 8-18-11
Your action is needed to stop an attack on religious and personal exemptions in Colorado. If you are not aware of the proposed changes, please read the previous alert sent out by NVIC on the Colorado State Team Page of the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://nvicadvocacy.org/members/Home/AnnouncementDetails.aspx?itemid=167&Page=True
This effort to drastically change Colorado law needs to be stopped.
Everyone needs to contact their Colorado State Senator and their Colorado State Representative. Tell them what the workgroup at the Colorado Immunization Program is trying to do. Ask them to do what they can to stop this. You can find out who your state representatives are and how to contact them by logging into the NVIC Advocacy Portal www.nvicadvocacy.org, reading this alert on the Colorado State Team Page, and your legislators’ contact information will be automatically displayed to the right of this alert.
The proposed changes to the long-standing and supported exemption law are drastic and go well beyond the scope of this workgroup’s authority. Current law allows parents to exempt or delay vaccination from any or all vaccines that are either required or recommended for school for medical, religious and philosophical reasons. Current law allows the parent, legal guardian or individual over 18 to sign their exemption. (1)
TALKING POINTS – WHY THIS EFFORT SHOULD BE STOPPED:
· The members of this workgroup are not elected or accountable to the citizens of Colorado. The invitees and attendees are posted on the meeting notes for The Colorado Immunization Program workgroup meeting #1, held on April 20, 2011. (2)
· This workgroup is acting outside of the authority given to the Board of Health because these are major changes to the long-standing Colorado exemption law. C.R. S. 25-903 (3)
· The legislature gives authority to the Colorado State Board of Health to establish rules for school entry immunizations. C.R. S. 25-4-904 (3) However, this workgroup does not believe these major changes are even a rule change. (4) These proposed changes clearly go beyond the authority of the State Board of Health.
· The Colorado legislature has the ultimate final say on public health policy. They have the “power to delete or rescind any rule of the board”. C.R.S. 25-4-904. (3)
· Ask your senator and representative if they think unelected, unaccountable members of a workgroup should be able to change Colorado State Law or even a Board of Health Rule without due process. If they don’t support this, ask them what can be done to stop it.
· This attempt to change Colorado law violates the spirit and intent of Colorado’s open records law, known as The Sunshine Law. The Colorado Sunshine Law “generally requires that any state or local governmental body that meets to discuss public business or to take formal action do so in meetings that are open to the public”. (5)
· This workgroup is trying to restrict exemptions based on information that came out of a Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) summit. (2) Page 4. Vaccine manufacturers who stand to benefit from these changes including, Merck, Wyeth Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur and Glaxo Smith Kline are all members of CCIC . (6) Ask your representatives if they support this.
· This proposal severely restricts exemptions the Colorado Legislature reaffirmed when they passed SB 10-056 in 2010. SB 10-056 instructed the health dept. to develop a form to be used by all schools in Colorado that would include vaccines not only “required” for school, but also “recommended”. The form was to include current exemption language that allows a parent to sign the religious or personal exemption to any or all vaccines on their own. The bill sponsor and committee chair, Senator Betty Boyd, submitted an example of what the new form would look like. (7) There were to be NO changes to the exemption piece, only the addition of recommended vaccines along with required vaccines. (8)
It’s important for your Senator and Representative to hear your personal story and understand why you have chosen to delay or not vaccinate for one or more of the vaccines that are either required or recommended for school. They need to know that you have made an informed decision to exercise an exemption right and that your decision is not based on convenience, but on your own individual religious or personal views.
In addition to contacting your own elected representatives, send an email or make a call to members the Senate Health Committee and House Education Committee listed below. These are senators and representatives who were on committees that heard testimony on SB – 056 in 2010.
Now is the time to start talking to your representatives. Even if this attack is stopped, there will most likely be more in upcoming legislative sessions.
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SENATE COMMITTEE MEMBER’S PHONE NUMBERS:
HOUSE COMMITTEE MEMBER’S PHONE NUMBERS:
Rep. Cindy Acree – 303-866-2944
Rep. Ken Summers – 303-866-2927
Rep. Tom Massey – 303-866-2747
Rep. Frank McNulty – 303-866-2346 – no email address listed, Speaker of the House
Rep. Carole Murray – 303-866-2948
Rep. Cherylin Peniston – 303-866-2843
Rep. Sue Schafer – 303-866-5522
Rep. Nancy Todd – 303-866-2919
Rep. Judy Salano – 303-866-2918
(1) http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/immunization/Forms/CARD-certofimm.pdf Current official immunization certificate with exemptions.
(2) http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/immunization/BOH_IZ_WGMeetingNotes%204-20-11.pdf CIP meeting notes, 4/20/11.
(3) http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements/colorado.aspx Colorado vaccine law.
(4) http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/immunization/BOH_IZ_WGMtgNotes_5-4-2011.pdf CIP meeting notes, page 3 item 3.
(6) http://www.childrensimmunization.org/members List of CCIC members.
(7) http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2010A/csl.nsf/Committee?OpenFrameSet – Available with a search under bill summaries, SB10-056, see attachment H, 100203attachH.pdf
(8) http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2010a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/01B3FFF94CC18F54872576A80027B497?open&file=056_enr.pdf SB10-056 final version with exemption law unchanged.