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Parents Meet with NJ's Health Commissioner

Nj_meeting_louise By Louise Kuo Habakus (2nd from left.)

Commissioner Howard met with us for two full hours.  Her staff continued with us for an additional thirty minutes.  They listened.  They asked a few questions.  And the Commissioner left us with these words (not verbatim):  "We had a productive meeting.  I am impressed by the commitment, thoughtfulness and passion demonstrated by the parents here today.  I respect the message and the way it was delivered.  As a mother, I was very moved to hear the personal stories you shared.  We want to work with parents to understand your concerns.  We will also work with the AAP to urge them to take a look at the vaccine schedules and… [interruption from secretary, the Governor is on the phone] now, I really have to go." 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's start from the beginning. 

There were thirteen people present.  Eight from the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS):

Heather Howard, Commissioner, NJDHSS

James Brownlee, Assistant Commissioner, Epidemiology, Environmental & Occupational Health

Mary E. O'Dowd, Chief of Staff

Christina Tan, MD, Deputy Commissioner

Carl Rathjen, Deputy Chief of Staff

Angela Sorrells Washington, Program Manager, Vaccine Preventable Disease Program, Communicable Disease Program

Barbara Montana, MD, Medical Director, Communicable Disease

Dileep Sarecha, Program Manager, Vaccine Preventable Disease Program, Communicable Disease Program

And five parents: me, Ron Habakus, Claudine Liss, Maureen Drummond and Barbara Majeski, all five of us strong, educated, determined, capable voices in the parent community, all with vaccine-injured children, all members of the NJ Coalition for Vaccination Choice, all with senior corporate and/or professional credentials.

The NJDHSS invited their senior vaccine program staff to participate in this meeting.  We can wonder why they asked for so many from their side to attend.  Regardless, it was an opportunity to talk to all of them at the same time, to hear what they had to say, to read body language, to see where we stood on our specific demands, and to find out where we are going… with or without them.

I prepared a powerpoint presentation to organize our message and the other parents agreed to chime in with relevant facts, science and personal stories.  Our objective for the meeting was to make sure they fully understood, not only the reasons behind the profound trust gap that exists between parents and our health department but the ramifications of this distrust. 

I wanted them to hear, in no uncertain terms, that they are creating the very thing they fear the most -- that, faced with an increasing number of vaccine mandates and absolutely no answers and no leadership behind the epidemic of autism and chronic disease facing our children, parents will increasingly abandon vaccines. 

Faced with "all or none," more are choosing none.  This was not meant to be a "my science versus yours" meeting.  We know how those meetings go.  This was our meeting and they were going to listen to the parents' side.  And we asked for a fifteen minute warning to make sure we had time to discuss our list of demands.

We started by showing them how many more shots we give our children versus 25 years ago.  We noted the increase in chronic, autoimmune and neurodevelopmental disorders during precisely the same time frame.  We asked, is it not exceedingly reasonable to inquire whether the one (more shots) is related to the other (more damage).  We reviewed the gross underreporting in VAERS and how it ensures we will always be behind the eight ball in identifying vaccine-related problems.  We shared the government's list of vaccine-related complications for which families are compensated.  We used the Physician's Desk Reference to list many dozens of ways to die and be harmed by vaccines. 

We discussed disease transmission via live virus vaccines, inappropriate test cohorts for FDA licensure, failure to use true placebos, suitability of using experimental control groups and the complete absence of studies on carcinogenic, mutagenic potential or the impairment of fertility.  We reminded them that licensed vaccines are routinely withdrawn, that vaccine makers never adequately studied the simultaneous administration of so many shots, that there has never been any therapeutic benefit to doing so and that our doctors advise it anyway to increase compliance.  We provided research that links vaccines to diabetes, asthma and anaphylaxis. 

We told them about Dr. George Lucier, the former director of environmental toxicology from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences.  We read excerpts from his incredibly damning expert testimony where he states that the only plausible explanation for the rise in autism supported by a strong scientific foundation is that thimerosal causes some cases of autism.  We reminded them that our government has made massive mistakes in the past, bad drugs are approved and many people are killed and harmed before they are removed from the market. 

We sequenced through old drug and cigarette ads that made them smile and shake their heads wistfully at how foolish we once were.  And then we received our fifteen minute warning.

We summarized with these take-away points:

1. Something is very, very wrong… numerous shots, sick kids, damning science, government concession that vaccines caused autism.

2. As bad as it is in the US, it's worse in NJ… more shots, sicker kids, families in crisis, parents of mainstream and special needs kids fiercely divided over shrinking pool of resources

3. NJ, bankrupt state, political corruption, home to half of the world's pharmaceutical companies, #1 vaccination state in the US, first ever to mandate the flu shot: ineffective, rejected by health professionals and the market, no better than placebo for children under two, no adequate safety data, the vast majority of doses containing a devastating neurotoxin.

4. NJ, parents rally, Corzine admits this is a huge issue, over 10,000 signed petition in support of parental vaccination choice, A260/S1071 languishes in both health committees.  Why?

5. For each reason they provided to support their opposition of the bill, we countered.  The most important?  CA and TX are also densely populous, corridor states with large immigrant populations where passage of the philosophical exemption did not compromise vaccine compliance.

6. This is what parents see: one-sided vaccine propaganda, doctors kicking us out of their practice (click HERE), FDA is not protecting us, CDC is more concerned about promotion than safety, parents can't sue for most vaccine-related injury and death, no one can explain why our children are so sick, and ever more vaccine mandates.  The result?  No trust.

7. When there is no trust, the sacred doctor-patient relationship is broken.  Patients will not give their children something they think will harm them.  Period, end of conversation.  Parents will increasingly say:  No dialogue?  No choice?  Then no shots!  It's not a complex equation.  It's human nature.

And we ended with our five requests:

1. Acknowledge the public health crisis in our state and commit to work with parents in an open and transparent process to address the trust gap

2. Remove your opposition to A260/S1071.  Ask the Governor to put the full weight of his political support behind passage of this bill.

3. Repeal the four new vaccine mandates.

4. Provide true informed consent which includes full discussion of the risks, not just the benefits.  No propaganda.

5. Initiate and participate in a series of legislative vaccine roundtables which present all sides of the debate to help educate legislators on the issues.

We were cool, fiercely focused and in control of the message and the meeting, if we can say so ourselves.   Each one of us held our own and pressed forward.  We had the continuity and depth of Maureen's 18 years of advocacy.  When she pointed out that it is unconstitutional to mandate the injection of pathogens and ingredients that can kill and harm, Dr. Montana replied that the state doesn't really mandate vaccines, the mandates are only a requirement for school admission and if parents feel strongly enough about it, they have other options. [!] 

We had Claudine challenge them to broaden their inquiry, to read the work of experts such as Harris Coulter, PhD, to examine the Homefirst pediatric practice and talk with Dr. Mayer Eisenstein.  She was stunned to recently learn that her own childhood pediatrician advised against receiving a pertussis vaccine because of family history but her children's doctor failed to ask the same question, opting instead for full vaccination, demonstrating both neglect and a willingness to sacrifice a subset of the population. 

We had Barbara Majeski describe how she almost lost her son after the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth and six subsequent catch-up shots. She shared a copy of the vaccine disclosure form (View this photo) provided to her in the hospital just hours after giving birth to Max, a form so painfully one-sided in its scare tactics with no mention of possible risks and complications.

We had Ron who exposed the extent to which our state public health officials are failing us when he asked them what will they do when the numbers of chronically ill and neurodevelopmentally disordered children rise as a direct result of these four new vaccine mandates.  Dr. Montana responded, "We won't repeal the mandates and we will follow the CDC's lead on recommended shots." 

And we had me… a pain in their collective backside, telling them there's an opportunity here to lead in a different kind of way, an opportunity to start closing the trust gap by supporting the choice bill and showing parents they are listening.  [zero response] 

You'll soon understand why I gave ourselves a pat on the back first.  Because here's their response to our requests.

Their response:

1. Heather Howard said that dialogue has begun, the door is open and they will be available to us. 

2. Speaking for the Commissioner who did not specifically clarify this point, Carl Rathjen said that they will not remove their opposition to A260/S1071.  That is not on the table.

3. Heather Howard said they will not repeal the mandates and they have no intention to consider that possibility right now.  When further challenged, Dr. Tan said they will always evaluate new science.

4. Several voiced their support for increased (but non-specific) effort behind vaccine education and outreach.

5. Heather Howard smiled as she volunteered Dr. Tan who would be happy to participate in any vaccine roundtable that is organized.

Regarding body language, it was mostly guarded and cordial.  Of the eight DHSS members, six are parents themselves.  They listened, some occasionally nodded their heads in agreement, a couple took a lot of notes, one said that he does not get to hear this side of the story, a few made pleasant small talk when the Commissioner briefly stepped out of the room, nearly all offered a compliment, thanked us for the civility of the meeting, shook my hand and departed with a smile. 

Not Dr. Montana.  She is not a parent.  She appears structurally unable to smile.  I can't tell if she is emotionally stunted, exceedingly committed to her profession, or just plain hates us.  She appeared alternately pained, bored and contemptuous.  When she spoke out, it was only to counter what we said.  If they agreed to play good cop/bad cop, we know which role she chose.  And at the end of the meeting, she beelined out of the room.

So there you have it.  Obtaining a two hour meeting with the health commissioner and her staff was an accomplishment.  Setting the agenda and successfully delivering our message, ditto.  But the bottom line is that we did not get what we wanted.  The NJDHSS continues with business as usual.  Our state appears unwilling to exercise independent judgment to protect the health and welfare of its residents.  It seems we are more of a test case and an incubator for the CDC's agenda.  And our instinct remains true.  Real change must come from the parents.  Are we ready, New Jersey?  We have our work cut out for us.

Louise Kuo Habakus is a member of the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice and lectures widely on vaccine safety.  She is the mother of two vaccine-injured children and a former corporate executive.  A board-certified health practitioner, Louise specializes in pediatric integrative nutrition and is receiving her certification in homotoxicology.

Comments

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Dave Vanderhoff

Glad someone sent me this information. Great job to the 5 parents.... I contacted the ACLU and they RAN AWAY FROM THIS SUBJECT!! I'd love to hear more about this as we are in the middle of the FLU SHOT PROBLEM with my 3 1/2 year old in PRESCHOOL just after he seems to be coming out of his "SPECIAL WORLD" AS WE PUT IT. I will not give him the shot no matter what anyone says. Sorry but Early Intervention was no help for us either. Thanks for what you are doing!

Laura Rose

Thank you for your summary in detail. I am in NY and my best friend with her children are in NJ and I have sorrow for NJ parents.

How about the justice in maintain our rights to refuse to be injected against our will????? Are there any lawyers attacking these to-be-laws?

candace passino

great article..it seems hhs is drawing the line in the sand, more like its always been there. but they are pretending ,to hear you and then back to business as usual. did anyone see the new commercial about Clean Coal Plants, by reality, where are our commercials??..pro life has one about all the missing children...we need in a your face commercials about our kids ,,we need to hit the heart of the nation with our kids and the damage being done to our babies and toddlers for corporate profit. we are acceptable damage to them..its ok for them to ignore us. they have no guilt as they are saving the greater good..this is how they rationalze it..this is how they sleep at night. we cant change them by making them understand, appealing to there scence of compassion. we need to make them understand in their pocket book.and drawing awareness at national level with our own commercial message(.like in clean coal..)the message is simple there is no such thing as clean coal...candace

Holly M. from South Jersey

They need to realize that discussions like these are happening every day across the state parent to parent. With 1:94 of us and 8? of them.

Cherry Sperlin Misra

I too would appreciate your publishing some of your interesting information that you presented or perhaps you can give us an email address to write to to obtain it Thanks

Randy

To summarize the many articulate comments here (the notion of "mediocre minds" and "educated bullies" in particular tie together nicely) - IMHO you can have a wall full of degrees and diplomas, and still have your head up your a$$. The 2 are not mutually exclusive.

I'd bet that at least one of you wanted to say that in your meeting. The fact that you didn't (maybe the "bad cop" was expecting, and even hoping for that game) demonstrates your courage, intelligence, and your skills in diplomacy. Kudos.


Twyla

This is just so phenomenal. Kudos to you all for infiltrating the fortress and making this very professional presentation, and thanks so much for reporting so vividly.

It is hard to tell the impact, but quite possible that some attendees were listening and learning. If not convinced, at least they are more aware of the strength of the arguments and the intelligent passion of parents. And they have been introduced to the topics in ways that were not a part of their prior education and experience.

As so many people with vaccine concerns keep chipping away in many different venues, there is sure to be change.

dan olmsted

i sent this note to Louise yesterday but will also share it here:

Hi Louise,

I'm so glad to see this posted on AOA. It's a terrific, even gripping, summary of how this important encounter went, and it also sums up the very strong arguments for a different approach not just in NJ but universally.

Thanks so much to you and all the folks who made this happen and used the opportunity so well,

Best,

Dan

Sorsha

WOW! You guys rocked - hit every point!
As for Dr. Montana's comment that vaccines are only required by schools and 'other options are available' - she may very well have to eat her words one day. If the state refuses to budge or limits the religious exemption, she may choke as people quietly leave NJ or opt to abandon public school altogether.

Kristin

To Louise and the other parents:

Thank you so much for all you are doing. I am happy that Heather Howard finally met with you and that others were in attendance as well. I think the fact that the six DHSS parents that were there is a blessing. They are parents who are concerned about their kids just like we are. I love that they were taking notes. Hopefully they will join this fight on the inside. You all did great!

Maurine Meleck

Thanks to Louise and everyone for all the hard work you are doing in New Jersey and making a difference in the lives of our vaccine injured children. Having lived in NJ for a long time and raised my daughter there, I feel a very emotional tie to this state. I am so happy we have people like you all living there to show others the way to make the world safer for our children.
Maurine

Mayer Eisenstein MD JD MPH

Albert Einstein must have had these wonderful women in mind when he said.

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"

hellokittiemama/MT

Thanks Louise, Ron, Barbara, Claudine, and Maureen for the representation.

I waited all day to hear the update and so when it hit my email box I just sat there and read it, and read it again, and then I read it again while I was waiting in the parking lot on my blackberry..

Ready for the next step, whatever that is.


Louis Conte

Louise:
Thanks for what you are doing in New Jersey. Your reporting on his meeting should be required reading for any of us who want to advocate for change.

I loved your description of the "bad cop."

Keep fighting.

Louis Conte

Christna Liberatore

"I witnessed an angel of God in motion."

There is something very Divine in the truth. I felt that at the rally. When people come together and stand for the truth and for integrity, it bears to be a spiritual experience.

Louise, Ron, Barbara, Claudine and Maureen, you have done and continue to do what is right. You have chipped away at this injustice. Albeit a small chip, we will all commit to help you chip away.

Thank you.

K Fuller Yuba City

This presentation can not be ignored. Everyone there was shown that they are dealing with highly intelligent parents who have their stuff together. The time that went into this amazing presentation showed that this is serious business.
How will they feel when it is shown that mandatory vaccines for all means mandatory brain damage for some?

jen

boy oh boy if those people weren't nervous before this meeting, they sure will be now. WHAT? PARENTS WHO KNOW MAYBE EVEN MORE THAN SOME DR's DO about the issue of vaccination!!! Way to go, you guys. Therese, you are right-people do have a tipping point-mine was when they put chicken pox vaccine onto the schedule. I can remember the exact moment I listened to some old American Dr. on the t.v. yak on about how parents would not have to take off sick days due to chicken pox(no mention of it being a deadly disease,even). Right from that point on I stopped the dpt's and did only 1 MMR, no hep b in grade 5. We parents aren't stupid and you have helped to bring that fact into their awareness. Congratulations. Thankyou. At a recent meeting I attended in Calgary re. HPV vaccination the nurses mentioned that "we have lots more coming in." Of course, I told her, "well my kids won't be gettin' them." God, they really have over-reached. It's sickening.

Barbara Majeski

It was a privilege to stand shoulder to shoulder with Louise, Ron, Claudine and Maureen in our meeting with Heather Howard. The strength, poise and intelligence of this collective group was powerful. Emotions were controlled, facts were articulate and well positioned. Debates were supported by facts, studies and the truth. Collectively it was a force to be recognized and heard.

Bob Moffitt

I want to thank Louise and all the others who attended this meeting.

Trust me, these prominent New Jersey public health officials did not meet with you from a position of power....in fact....I suspect they felt compelled to meet with you to stem the widespread and growing tide of opposition to their recent vaccine mandate....evidenced by...the heavily publicized rally in Trenton, the call-in campaign...or...a petition with 10,000 names on it. This, by itself...is encouraging.

I am 69 years of age, and, I have never seen public health officials forced to defend vaccines in my lifetime. Until now.

In my opinion....these powerful public health officials had no scientific response that would challenge your presentation of concerns as parents...which means they fully recognize they can no longer rely upon the absolute trust they enjoyed when I was a young parent.....(my generation questioned and challenged NO ONE wearing a white smock).....preferring instead....to act as a collective body of intransigent bureaucrats...."educated" bullies with degrees and resumes......refusing to acknowledge the common sense merits of your concerns.

In any event, their intractable bureaucratic response appears driven by fear....rather than professional "self-confidence" in their policies.

Change is coming...and....like the Berlin Wall that toppled overnight...it will be swift when it comes.

claudine liss

It was truly an honor to be behind Louise at that meeting. She was brilliant beyond words. I witnessed an angel of God in motion! I left the meeting invigorated and hopeful, not due to the health department but the energy that emanated from the ALL of us concerned parents in that room. The truth is spreading and each day children are being saved many through biomedical treatments and others through avoiding some or all of the vaccines.
The night before the meeting I had a long talk with long time activist Maureen Drummond. She also helped to reinvigorate me. We spoke of all the nameless people who built the beautiful churches throughout Europe. I am honored to be, in time, a nameless contributor to the end of this vaccine madness.
Collectively, we are changing the world stone by stone. For those of you who are tired, take a rest, but do not give up. Each stone is crucial.
Claudine Liss

Katie Wright

Team Louise is amazing! Thank you! Parents like Louise and Barbara are brilliant and dedicated Moms, standing up for the health of New Jersey kids. It is hard to understand why there is any debate about more vaccines mandates when 1 in 66 NJ boys is autistic and thousands of NJ parents talk of how their child regressed after too many too soon. Parents everywhere in NJ, overwhelmingly, do not support the flu shot mandate.

Thanks to Luise and Barbara for representing our community and all the Moms and Dads who could not attend.

Heather Howard needs to do more than listen, she needs to act. Caution should have been her mandate, not laws keeping babies out of daycare and kids out of school because of the flu shot. What can anyone say about Dr. Montana? It sounds like a repeat performance of the eye-rolling, watching staring, angry expressions we were all treated to at the vaccine conference. It is really sad that this woman find discussing children's health such a tedious chore.

nhokkanen

Wow, what a great writeup of an impressive meeting. Wonderful that you could make your presentation straightforwardly, without the "he said/she said" schism that hamstrings legislative testimony.

All these state satellite bureaucracies take their marching orders from the CDC, rather than serving their taxpaying constituents. And they try to portray the CDC as some altruistic white knight agency, instead of the corrupt marketing machine it has now become.

Many of these state workers, the low faces on the vaccine profit totem pole, have to be getting disgruntled over the many dark rumors -- and maybe even some FOIA documents they've searched out. They have to know what's going on. Now our children need only for someone with a heart and a remaining shred of ethical sense to do the right thing and start blowing some whistles.

Theresa

Louise and crew, I am incredibly impressed with the hard work and dedication you've shown once again. Would it be possible for you to update this post with some of the documents you mentioned (like Barbara's Hep B form from the hospital)? These are the kinds of things I'd like to show my friends in NJ to help them see just how crazy the vaccination situation is. Everyone has a breaking point; scare tactics to push STD vaccinations on babies might be the straw that breaks the camel's back for some previously non-activist parents.

Ben's Dad

What a fantastic job you have all done in preparing and delivering this message. You get a standing ovation. I don’t know how you could have made the case any more clear.

and yet here we are

A tiny % of affected citizens, a slightly larger % of concerned citizens, and a government that is not willing or able to translate this message into action as long as the needs of the greater good are served. Dr Tan says ‘they will always evaluate new science.’ And if the NIH has actively avoided studying the impact of vaccines on subpopulations, then Dr Tan may as well said ‘go to hell’. From a 5/12/2008 CBS new report - “Healy goes on to say public health officials have intentionally avoided researching whether subsets of children are “susceptible” to vaccine side effects - afraid the answer will scare the public.”

In requiring so many mandatory vaccines maybe we should stick with the premise that NJ is both a test case, and the possibly the most corrupt state in the nation, and as members of that small affected minority, we will need to rise to both challenges to ensure that all future children treated as individuals.

kat23

Wow, sounds like you presented a thoughtful and unified message. Thanks for al your hard work. Maybe, just maybe, the right person heard this. Of course that wasn't Dr Montana, LOL. Oh well, there are always going to be apples like her.
Good effort toward truth!

Maureen McDonnell, RN

I am very proud of what Louise and the team of parents are doing to increase awareness with state officials and help change the options for vaccinating children in NJ. This is an uphill battle as the profit-driven propaganda machine pushes the message deeper into our culture that vaccines are safe and without risk. Who are they kidding? Certainly not parents of affected children or those of us who have listened to thousands of stories reiterating the same sad scenario of how families once had a healthy child, that child received multiple vaccines in one visit or was sick when injected or had a health history that was never considered before getting the routine one size fits all schedule......and then "mysteriously" developed autism or other health problems. Gone are the days when acute illnesses are the dominant concern of the pediatric profession. They remain an important component, but the chronic (supposed inexplicable) conditions that are affecting millions of children (ADHD, Autism, Asthma, Allergies, Diabetes etc), deserve better research, an open mind toward parent's perspectives and a receptivity to the role vaccines are playing in all of this.

Kelli Ann Davis

"Regardless, it was an opportunity to talk to all of them at the same time, to hear what they had to say, to read body language, to see where we stood on our specific demands, and to find out where we are going… with or without them."

Louise:

You are my kinda gal!!! YOU ROCK!!

Keep us posted.

Kelli

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