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Read Before Vaccinating: The 6 Principles Of Informed Choice

By Barbara Loe Fisher

6 Principles for Protecting Vaccine Choices

First Principle: It’s Your Choice

When exercising your right to voluntary, informed consent to vaccination for yourself or your child, remember that state vaccine laws contain:

  • • Legal requirements that school and health officials are responsible for enforcing.

  • • Legal exemptions that you have the legal right to choose to exercise. (Public schools must allow vaccine exemptions outlined in state vaccine laws, but private, religious or other non-state operated schools may reject vaccine exemptions.)

Most state vaccine laws do not allow unvaccinated students with vaccine exemptions to attend school during confirmed outbreaks of certain infectious diseases for defined periods of time.

Remember > Nobody has the moral authority to force you or your child to be injected with a vaccine without your voluntary, informed consent. You have the legal right to exercise exemptions to vaccination according to the laws in your state.

Second Principle: You Have the Right to Know

You have the legal right to know the risks and complications of vaccines before you make the choice of whether or not to allow your child to be vaccinated. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan in 1986, directed all doctors and other vaccine providers to give parents written information about vaccines before children are vaccinated.

Remember > All vaccines and other pharmaceutical products carry a risk of injury or death, and those risks can be greater for some than others. Never agree to use a vaccine, drug or other product without fully informing yourself about all risks. The product information insert, which drug companies by law must include with every vial of vaccine provided to public health clinics and private doctors’ offices, includes a description of the vaccine’s reported reactions and precautions. You can ask for a copy of that vaccine information insert from your doctor or state health department.

Third Principle: Be Informed and Prepared

Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with accurate information about vaccination and health. Do your own research and talk to one or more trusted healthcare professionals before you make any healthcare decision. Become an educated consumer and you will be empowered to defend your right to freely make voluntary choices about health, including vaccination, for yourself and your children.

Remember > If you arm yourself with accurate information about vaccines and health, you will be prepared to intelligently and rationally discuss your vaccine choices with your family, friends, colleagues, doctors, elected officials and others in your community.

Fourth Principle: Take Responsibility for Your Words and Actions

When you are standing up for your right to know, and freedom to choose, whether or not to vaccinate yourself or your child, how you go about exercising your rights will determine whether or not you will succeed. In your contact with doctors, school or government health officials, remain calm but politely firm when explaining and defending the vaccine choice you have made. If you are treated with disrespect or are harassed in any way by a doctor or government official, do not engage in an unproductive argument. You may want to contact an attorney, your elected state representatives or local media if you or your child is threatened. The NVIC also devotes a section of its website, the Cry For Vaccine Freedom Wall, for the public to post reports of harassment for because of vaccine choice.

Remember > Treat others as you want to be treated, even if you are being attacked or harassed for the vaccine choice you have made. Serve as an example for others in your community whenever you defend your right to exercise voluntary, informed consent to vaccination, including the right to decline one or more vaccines for yourself or your child. Protect yourself and your family by seeking legal or other expert counsel, if necessary.