Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We Need You Today: Speak Up Against Anti-Vaccine Activists Trying to Dismantle VICP

The voices of pro-vaccine advocates need to be heard today!  

Anti-vaccine groups have convinced the Congressional Oversight Committee to hold a hearing about the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.  Their intent in pressing for this hearing is to dismantle the program in hopes that they can revive arguments about vaccines that science has already thoroughly disproven. Despite the clear science that vaccines do not cause autism, chronic disease, allergies, ADHD, etc., the anti-vaccine movement wants to use politics and the court system to support their unsupportable claims.  

Dismantling VICP and holding public hearings poses a real threat to our children who are currently protected from such scourges as measles, polio, and other vaccine-preventable diseases. First, the VICP insures that vaccine manufacturers are not inundated with lawsuits so that they are able to afford continued production of our vaccines. The hearing also serves as a very public platform for anti-vaccine activists to receive new publicity on their old and debunked message.

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) benefits the children who suffer very rare adverse reactions.  These reactions are sometimes so rare that it is difficult to prove that vaccines caused the reaction. However, the benefit of the VICP to these parents is that the burden of proof there is far lower than it would be in small claims court. In fact, they are far more likely to receive compensation through "Vaccine Court" than they would anywhere else. Thus, the VICP benefits not only the health of our communities but also the children who may have suffered a serious side effect from a vaccine. The anti-vaccine movement is angry because autism is not included among the reactions for which the court will compensate parents. The Autism Omnibus proceedings found that vaccines cannot be held liable for autism.

Today, we need you to write the representatives on this committee who serve [STATE]. We recommend sending you either email or fax their offices. If you are short on time, a phone call may also be useful.  

In the letter, voice your own opinions on vaccines.  A few points to consider including:

  • That you are a resident of [STATE].  If you are also a constituent, say so.
  • The story about why vaccines are important to you and how your family and community are positively improved by immunization. Be as personal and detailed as you like.
  • Support for the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which both insures a steady supply of vaccines for our children while fairly compensating those who experienced a serious side effect from a vaccination
  • An understanding that vaccines do not cause autism or most of the other health problems claimed by the anti-vaccine movement
  • A request that the hearing include an expert in the Autism Omnibus Proceedings (why they were fair and balanced); an expert on how the NVICP actually works; and an expert on torts and product liability litigation (to talk about how the vaccine-injured would be worse off in a non-NVICP world).

If you are interested, you can read more about the VICP here and here. More about the upcoming hearings can be found here and here. If you'd like background on the Autism Omnibus Proceedings, you can find that here.

Please pass along this request to your friends, family members, and co-workers by linking to this post, copying and pasting it (or your letter) on social media, and blogging about it. The more pro-vaccine advocates we have writing to their representatives, the better off we will be.

A full listing of the committee members with their contact and biographical information is available here:

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