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Should Schoolchildren Be Vaccinated Against Hepatitis?
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Should Schoolchildren Be Vaccinated Against Hepatitis?

Should Schoolchildren Be Vaccinated Against Hepatitis?
Patti Johnson
Opinion Editorial January 27, 2000


In 1997 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment added the hepatitis B vaccination to the list of vaccines required for children entering daycare, preschool, kindergarten, middle school and high school. Unlike smallpox, polio, whooping cough or measles, hepatitis B is not a highly communicable disease. It primarily affects adults engaged in high-risk behaviors that directly expose them to blood or body fluids of infected persons. Those most at risk are intravenous drug users, prostitutes, and promiscuous heterosexuals and homosexuals. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, "Hepatitis B virus is not spread through casual contact or in typical school, office, or food service settings. It is not spread by coughing, sneezing, or drinking out of the same glass." 

This begs the question, "Why was this vaccination added to the list of vaccines required for schoolchildren?"

Recognizing these facts and rising concerns of the medical community, Colorado State Representative Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) will be introducing a bill asking the state legislature to rescind the hepatitis B mandate for infants and schoolchildren. The hearing on this bill is scheduled for January 31. Based upon my research, I believe that the bill deserves a serious consideration. Some may question my involvement in this issue, but as a member of the State Board of Education, I am unavoidably drawn into debates that involve public school mandates.

The National Vaccine Information Center opposes mass vaccination of children against hepatitis B stating, "It is a national experiment on our children for a disease that is not highly contagious." 

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is calling for an immediate moratorium on the vaccine pending further research about dangerous side effects. "Children younger than 14 are three times more likely to die or suffer from adverse reactions after receiving hepatitis B vaccines than to catch the disease," says Dr. Jane Orient, Executive director of the AAPS.

Professor of cell biology, Bonnie Dunbar, Ph.D., who has a 25-year career in academic and laboratory science and has been honored by the U.S. National Institute of Health for her vaccine research, has been collecting data on the hepatitis B vaccine for three years. Dr. Dunbar has been contacted by hundreds of doctors and patients who have reported severe autoimmune and neurological complications to the hepatitis B vaccine in previously healthy children and adults. These include serious rashes, joint pain, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis and lupus-like symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis and neurological dysfunction.

According to the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System, there were 4,227 reports of side effects from the hepatitis B vaccine from November 1, 1990, to July 31, 1992. Since 1990, they have documented more than 24,776 hospitalizations and injuries, including 439 deaths in the U.S. following administration of the vaccine. 

In October 1998, the Minister of Health in France suspended the hepatitis B vaccine requirement for school children after repeated reports of severe autoimmune and neurological complications.

These statistics are alarming enough, yet the FDA estimates that only 10% of doctors report vaccine injuries and deaths.

New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman refused to sign a bill mandating the vaccination for schoolchildren. One reason she cited was lack of clinical evidence that it confers lasting protection.

For the sake of our children, Colorado should consider France's example.

Patti Johnson represents the Second Congressional District on the Colorado State Board of Education.

This article, from the Independence Institute staff, fellows and research network, is offered for your use at no charge. Independence Feature Syndicate articles are published for educational purposes only, and the authors speak for themselves. Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily representing the views of the Independence Institute or as an attempt to influence any election or legislative action.
Please send comments to Editorial Coordinator, Independence Institute, 14142 Denver West Pkwy., suite 185, Golden, CO 80401 Phone 303-279-6536 (fax) 303-279-4176 (email)


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