Residents rallied near the New Jersey State House in Trenton on Sept. 24 carrying signs and chanting slogans to protest the proposed New Jersey legislation mandating flu vaccinations for students.
The bill permits exemptions from mandatory flu immunization due to medical conditions or on religious grounds. However “a general philosophical or moral objection to the vaccination” does not qualify as “an exemption on religious grounds,” the bill says.
The mandated flu vaccination of students will allow officials “to more promptly distinguish whether a COVID-19 or influenza outbreak is occurring at the institution,” as the symptoms of both diseases are similar and currently no vaccine exists for COVID-19, the bill says.
According to the bill, mandating flu shots will reduce the number of hospitalizations and emergency room visits related to the flu thus freeing up hospital capacity and emergency resources for patients of COVID-19 or other more serious diseases.
“I believe that medical decisions—be it a diagnosis, treatment, or prevention—should be up to the individual, not the government,” Scharfenberger told The Epoch Times in an interview. The bill is “ a pro-personal choice bill,” he said.
The bill introduced by Scharfenberger does not oppose flu vaccinations, it only prevents the government from making parental decisions regarding children’s flu immunization.
Scharfenberger said that he is not “anti-vaccine,” he is only against mandatory vaccination, adding that he's had all his children vaccinated and that he might get a flu shot as well.
Mandatory vaccination should not be imposed on people who “may have a religious exemption, they may have a medical exemption, they may have a personal choice exemption not to get vaccinated,” Scharfenberger said, “So my bill allows the individual to make this decision.”
Scharfenberger said that if the government is allowed to mandate vaccinations for seasonal flu, then nothing will stop it from mandating other vaccines. “It's a slippery slope,” he said, adding that his bill is intended “to stop it in its tracks.”
Government bureaucrats should not mandate medical decisions for people, Scharfenberger said, it should be left to the individual. “This is very personal freedom.”
“If an individual feels that a vaccine would help prevent getting the flu, they should get it themselves,” he added.
Scharfenberger said that if his bill gets passed and signed into law it will supersede the bill mandating flu vaccinations.
Holley told the rallygoers that they gave him “the wherewithal to continue to fight” in the State House for the cause. He encouraged them to continue their fight by educating and informing other lawmakers.
“You all have a responsibility. Just like how you educated me, you have to educate others and inform them,” Holley said. “When there is a risk, there must be a choice,” Holley concluded.
Why Vaccine Mandate Raises ConcernsThe rally was supported by Children’s Health Defense, an organization whose mission is to end chronic disease epidemics in children “by working aggressively to eliminate harmful exposures, hold those responsible accountable, and establish safeguards so this never happens again.”
Kennedy said that chronic diseases prevalent in children include neurological disorders such as speech delay, narcolepsy, autism; autoimmune diseases like juvenile diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Graves’ disease, and Crohn's disease; and allergies, asthma, anaphylaxis, and eczema.
Several of those diseases are linked to vaccines, Kennedy said, adding that they “are listed as side effects on the manufacturer's inserts on those 72 vaccines that are now mandated to our children.”
To prevent this situation, Children’s Health Defense tries “to force the government and the pharmaceutical industry to properly test vaccines,” Kennedy said. “Most medications, before they get approved, have to go through double-blind placebo testing, but vaccines are exempt.”
The vaccine approval program was originally launched by the former Public Health Service, a military agency, as a national security defense against biological attacks on the United States, Kennedy said. To counter potential attacks with anthrax or some other biological agent by an adversary, the military created a program to “quickly formulate a vaccine, and then deploy it to 200 million American civilians” as expediently as possible and without any regulatory impediments.
As a result, vaccines do not undergo the safety tests that are required in the medicine approval process, which usually takes five years, Kennedy said.
In 1986, the Childhood Vaccine Injury Act was passed, creating special legal immunities for vaccine makers to make it impossible for them to be subject to class action lawsuits. When vaccine-related injuries happen, victims must file a petition through a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program that is reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Kennedy said a side-effect of the regulatory regime is that it has led to vaccines not getting rigorous safety tests. He blames regulatory capture—the influence or control of regulators by the party they are supposed to regulate—for the problem.
“They are not doing their job to protect the public,” he said. “It's a problem of the integrity of our democracy.”
Flu Vaccine BenefitsThe CDC recommends receiving the flu vaccine this fall and winter to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death, according to its website. The flu vaccination will also free up healthcare resources for patients with COVID-19, the website says.
Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of visiting a doctor due to flu by 40 to 60 percent if the flu vaccine viruses are similar to the flu viruses that are circulating, according to the CDC.
The CDC advises vaccinating children against the flu in order to reduce the risk of death or serious complications requiring intensive care unit admission due to flu. Individuals who get sick despite being vaccinated will recover more quickly, according to the CDC.