We got word today that certain members of the Senate Health Committee that were planning on voting NO will be removed from the Committee in an attempt to replace them with YES votes. This is legal and it is a sign that our arguement and advocacy is gaining momentum. Below is the next step.
The message is the same on all these calls and emails: I am calling/emailing to ask you to preserve NJ’s Religious exemptions to school vaccinations. Please leave the Religious Exemption in place, as is, with no modifications. Please request your Senate and Assembly leaders pull S2173 from the Public Health Committee agenda on 12/12/19 and pull both S2173 and A3818 from the floor agenda on 12/16/19.
Urgent Actions for Now (12/9/19):
- Call and email your districts Senator and both Assembly members. You can find district and representatives here. Call first and then email all three together. Their emails are harder to find but they follow the same format. For senators its firstname.lastname@example.org for example Senator Weinberg is: email@example.com For Assembly members its firstname.lastname@example.org for example Assembly member Downey is: email@example.com
- Call and email the Senate President and the Bill Sponsors as they can pull the bill from the Health Committee and the Senate and Assembly floor vote: Senator Sweeney – firstname.lastname@example.org/856-251-9801; Senator Vitale – email@example.com/732-855-7441; Senator Weinberg – firstname.lastname@example.org/201-928-0100
- Call and email all the Democratic Senators. Check back here and our Facebook page to find out who should be targeted specifically.
- When we find out who the replacements are on the Senate Health committee we will get their names to you right away.
- Send an email to all 10 Senate Health Committee members using this link.
- Testify in Trenton on Thursday, December 12th, 2 pm. 2:00 pm in Committee Room 4 in the State House Annex (be there by 1:00 pm)
- Rally for RE on Monday, December 16th when the full Assembly and Senate will vote on removal of NJ’s RE.
The rationale for removing the RE is to protect the greater good/immunocompromised/public health. We’ve made the case against removing the RE on our homepage. 10 key points below from the CDC/vaccine labels as it relates to vaccines and public health:
- Tetanus: (https://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/about/index.html) The CDC states“tetanus is different from other vaccine-preventable diseases because it does not spread from person to person.”
- Hepatitis B: (https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/hbvfaq.htm#ref15) The Hep B virus is not spread in the community setting as the CDC states “HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, hand holding, coughing, or sneezing.” For this reason students with the actual Hep B virus are allowed in schools as they are no risk to the student population.
- Pertussis: (https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/faqs.html) The CDC states “Public health experts cannot rely on herd immunity to protect people from pertussis since: Pertussis spreads so easily, vaccine protection decreases over time , acellular pertussis vaccines may not prevent colonization (carrying the bacteria in your body without getting sick) or spread of the bacteria.” The CDC goes further to state that “children who haven’t received DTaP vaccines … are not the driving force behind the large scale outbreaks or epidemics” and this was the case during the 2019 California outbreaks (https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-whooping-cough-vaccine-20190316-story.html)
- Diphtheria: (https://www.cdc.gov/diphtheria/clinicians.html) Similar to pertussis, the CDC states “circulation of the bacteria appears to continue in some settings, even in populations with more than 80% childhood vaccination rates. An asymptomatic carrier state can exist even among immune individuals.”
- Hib: (https://www.cdc.gov/diphtheria/clinicians.html) The CDC states “vaccines are available that can help prevent Haemophilus influenzae type b or Hib disease. These vaccines do not provide protection against other types of Haemophilus influenzae disease.” Unfortunately, CDC states “now, nontypeable H. influenzae causes the majority of invasive H. influenzae disease among all age groups in the United States.” (https://www.cdc.gov/hi-disease/clinicians.html)
- Flu: (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/effectiveness-studies.htm) CDC records show that over the last 15 years, starting in the 2004-2005 flu season, the flu vaccine effectiveness estimates average 39.9% effective.
- Mumps: (https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/hcp.html) The CDC states “two doses of mumps vaccine are 88% (range 31% to 95%) effective at preventing the disease; one dose is 78% (range 49% to 91%) effective.” Furthermore, the CDC states “People who previously had one or two doses of MMR vaccine can still get mumps and transmit the disease. During mumps outbreaks in highly vaccinated communities, the proportion of cases that occur among people who have been vaccinated may be high. “
- Chicken Pox: (https://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/v/varivax/varivax_pi.pdf) The vaccine label states: “Due to the concern for transmission of vaccine virus, vaccine recipients should attempt to avoid whenever possible close association with susceptible high-risk individuals for up to six weeks following vaccination with VARIVAX. Susceptible high-risk individuals include:Immunocompromised individuals; Pregnant women without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior infection; Newborn infants of mothers without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior infection and all newborn infants born at <28 weeks gestation regardless of maternal varicella immunity.
- Rotavirus: (https://www.gsksource.com/pharma/content/dam/GlaxoSmithKline/US/en/Prescribing_Information/Rotarix/pdf/ROTARIX-PI-PIL.PDF) The vaccine label states “rotavirus shedding in stool occurs after vaccination with peak excretion occurring around Day 7 after Dose 1.”
- According to the CDC from 1995 until 2009 the US never had MMR vaccine coverage rates higher than 92.5%.The CDC reports 16 death from Measles over that 15 year time period, with never more than 2 deaths per year in the entire US population. Our current vaccination rates of children for MMR in NJ are about 95%. Forcing the 2% of NJ residents that take the Religious Exemption to vaccinate will have no discernible impact on NJ public health.
Brief History: The NJ Assembly Health Committee passed a bill almost identical to S2173 in the spring of 2018 (one that tightens the RE) and then it went onto the Assembly floor where it was amended to remove the RE completely (A3818). It looks like they will be doing the same thing December 12th in the Senate Health Committee meeting with S2173.