ALBANY—On Tuesday, Sept. 29, about 200 New York state health care workers gathered at the Capitol steps to express their opposition to the mandatory swine flu vaccination. If health care workers refuse mandatory vaccination, it would mean loss of their jobs and fines for their employers.
The situation puts them in a triple bind as they also feel responsible for their patients and are devoted to their profession.
Richard Daines, M.D., New York State commissioner of health, and Gov. Paterson have decided there will be a state of emergency this fall when the swine flu is supposed to rev up and become a serious threat. A mandate that allows for no exceptions, with punishments for those who do not comply, is deemed necessary. Every health care worker must have a regular flu shot as well as a swine flu shot before Nov. 30.
The New York Nurses Association, representing 37,000 nurses came out against the mandate in July with testimony before the State Hospital Review and Planning Council.
But because the unions would not organize a rally, Heather Walker, a single mom from the Albany Campaign for Liberty (ACL), took the helm. ACL is a non-profit organization to defend American principles of individual liberty.
ACL member Kevin McCashion host of the rally, opened by reminding everyone of their civil liberties under the 14th Amendment and their right to informed consent under New York state law: “Every human being of adult years and sound mind has the right to determine what is done to his own body … know what risks are involved and any alternatives. Today we present these alternatives and assess the risks.”
He spiced his speech with a few quotes from Thomas Jefferson: “If the people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
He ended by comparing Paterson and Daines to King George the Third and citing the Declaration of Independence amid cheers and whistles.
The keynote speaker was Gary Null, Ph.D. , famous in nutrition and alternative health circles for his books and radio programs. He spoke briefly before he had to dash inside for a meeting with the governor’s health aide, Dr. Daines, and assorted M.D.s and attorneys. Null mentioned the front page of the New York Times business section that reported the money the pharmaceutical companies were getting from the coming vaccine bonanza.
He said the government has missed the point in its mandate: “Are vaccines safe and effective? Where’s the proof?”
Later he addressed the questions: “Are vaccines unsafe, and what is the proof? Why are we pumping tens of billions into the biggest health fraud in history?”
There were a variety of other speakers: Sue Fields, a registered nurse from Poughkeepsie who initiated the rally; Rita Palmer, a mother who fought with her school district not to have her child vaccinated; Alan Phillips, J.D., expert in vaccine legal law, from Chapel Hill, N.C.; three registered nurses; a pregnant nurse’s aide; a mother of vaccine-injured children cured by homeopathic remedies; Louise Habakus, M.A., of Life Health Choices and the mother of two vaccine-injured boys; an occupational therapist working with children; a rehabilitation aide; Michael B. Schachter, M.D., renowned alternative physician; John Gilmore of Autism Action Network; and Ralph Fucetola, J.D., of Natural Solutions Foundation.
The most cogent point was lack of freedom of choice of what to put in one’s body and what steps to take to guard against the flu. It was pointed out that there are many modalities, such as homeopathy, nutrition, and acupuncture, which have preventative capabilities. Some preferred taking vitamin D, vitamin C, and washing their hands, taking precautions on their own.
Phillips gave the example of Cuba, where 2.5 million Cubans were treated prophylactically with homeopathic remedies to prevent an illness called leptospirosis, an annually recurring disease in Cuba. The cost was $200,000 for the homeopathic prophylaxis instead of $3,000,000 for allopathic vaccines, and the efficacy was much greater than that of the allopathic vaccines, homeopathyresource.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/successful-use-of-homeopathy-in-over-5-million-people-reported-from-cuba/.
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Phillips also cautioned that many states have mandates on their books ready for emergencies, waiting to see what happens in New York. Everyone needs to keep his or her legislators informed, especially at the state level.
Health care workers as a group are some of the least likely to get or spread the flu as they are constantly taking precautions in order to avoid infecting others or becoming infected.
Because the vaccines are fast-tracked, there hasn’t been time for proper testing to know the efficacy or the side effects. The FDA and drug companies have kept drugs on the market such as Vioxx and thalidomide long after the serious side effects were known.
One nurse was sick for months after taking a flu vaccine. Some side effects show up months or years later as chronic illnesses or autoimmune diseases. The nurses and other health workers feel they are guinea pigs. As a group they would be easy to study.
In the Dept. of Defense Appropriations Act of 2006, if the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares a public health emergency, the secretary can recommend “covered countermeasures,” including vaccines, which will give the manufacturers of these substances legal immunity. That is, no compensation will be available for serious side effects. On April 26, HHS declared a health emergency for the swine flu.
So far, the swine flu has been very mild, so why the state of emergency and why do people need a vaccine for it?
Gary Null came back from his meeting with Department of Health officials. He had pointed out the vaccines hadn’t been tested or proven safe. The answer was that they had a very safe record. Null had his carefully researched report with over 200 references from peer-reviewed medical literature to point out they were not safe or effective, but the health officials seemed unimpressed, Null reported.
The protest ended as ralliers split up to go to the governor’s office, the Health Department, or the offices of their unions to plead their cause.