Bill 87, Protecting Patients Act, was passed by the Ontario Legislature on May 30, 2017. This Act included, under Schedule 1, an amendment to the Immunization of School Pupils Act that forces parents to attend an “education session” in order to file an exemption to vaccination. Below is one of the thoughtful written submissions to the Committee regarding this Act.
Monday, May 8, 2017
Dear Honourable Members of the Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly:
My name is Mary Davis and I am writing to you regarding the proposed amendment to the Immunization of School Pupils Act in Bill 87.
I am concerned specifically with the proposal to mandate education sessions for parents who wish to obtain a religious or philosophical exemption to vaccination in Ontario.
The fact that these mandatory education sessions will be an effort to urge parents to vaccinate their children and that failure to attend this session will result in school suspension is problematic. It is unethical as it violates the principles of informed consent to medical procedures. In fact, according to the UN Declaration on Bioethics, “Any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention is only to be carried out with the prior, free and informed consent of the person concerned, based on adequate information. The consent should, where appropriate, be expressed and may be withdrawn by the person concerned at any time and for any reason without disadvantage or prejudice.”
Parents who opt out of vaccination or who choose to partially vaccinate often do so after having done extensive research. They have not undertaken this decision lightly and have often immersed themselves in the science to articulate and defend their position.
The scientific literature available regarding vaccines is startling. For example, a study was just published on April 27th, 2017 in the Journal of Translational Sciences. This study compared 261 unvaccinated children with 405 partially or fully vaccinated children. It found that vaccinated children were more than 3 times as likely to be diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, vaccinated children were more than 4 times as likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability and vaccinated children were 30 times as likely to be diagnosed with allergic rhinitis. These are just three of their findings.
These conclusions have in fact been explored in greater depth by the following individuals in previous work;
-Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Environmental activist and lawyer) in his well cited book, ‘Thimerosal, Let the Science Speak’ about mercury in vaccines
-Dr. Christopher Shaw of the University of British Columbia and the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute with their extensive research into aluminum in vaccines
-Dr. Theresa Deisher of Sound Choice Pharmaceuticals with her work investigating aborted fetal DNA in vaccines.
These are just three examples among many scientists, immunologists and physicians researching the safety of our current vaccine schedule with concern. The science that they are publishing is current, peer reviewed and in recognized health and science journals. It assures parents that declining vaccination is a legitimate and reasonable decision. Vaccination carries risks and many parents decline to accept these risks for their healthy children.
Because of the knowledge that many parents have acquired, they will not be easily swayed by a public health nurse or other official leading the proposed information session. This exercise will result in frustration on the part of the parents being made to attend such a session and frustration on the part of the government as vaccination rates remain unchanged. Will the next step be to mandate vaccines for school attendance with no philosophical or religious exemptions allowed at all? This is what happened in California. Initially, a law was passed that mandated education sessions and just a year a half ago, Senate Bill 277 was passed that removed all exemptions (except for medical exemptions in very rare cases) for children attending public or private schools. Many parents are concerned that this is the path that Ontario will follow.
Instead of mandating educational sessions, it would be appropriate to have community information sessions with diverse experts present. These experts could present their best, most current information. All parents regardless of their families’ vaccination status could be invited, not mandated to attend. Respectful education and debate on this crucial topic is desperately needed. Most importantly, the rights of parents to decline medical procedures that can and do cause harm must be preserved.
Please consider withdrawing the particular amendment that mandates education sessions for parents who decline all or some vaccines.
Thank you for your consideration,