My husband and I rearranged Ronan’s school, therapy and medical appointments as well as our own personal schedules in order for me to be available to go to the upcoming Congressional Hearing. This Hearing was to address the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), its history as well as the waste, fraud and abuse stemming from that program. Having taken part in the VICP on behalf of my son, it was important for me to make plans to be at that Hearing.
Since that announcement of the cancellation, in national news about vaccines I read that a healthy young man, who was battling for his life after getting the flu shot, died this week. I also read that the US is scampering to get a hold of an unapproved vaccine to students at an Ivy League college. Personally, since the Hearing was cancelled, I learned that a friend’s mom landed in the hospital after getting a flu shot and that another friend’s son reacted negatively to a 3-in-1 vaccine.
While the personal stories may not be earthshattering news for many, all of those stories frighten me. They frighten me because another life has been senselessly lost, another life is in jeopardy and another person’s health has been changed forever. Where are they to go when they link their ill health, that vaccine injury, or worse, death? They’ll discover the VICP and how it proposes to help. They’ll think they have answers, assistance and maybe some hope. Too bad that the VICP is so broken.
I know I am not the only one feeling worry, sadness or disappointment. Many of us in the community were depending on some good news to finally come. So, while we wait to get word about when the VICP Hearing will be rescheduled, because you know that people in our community are actively working to make that happen, I’d ask you to do a few things. No need to sit and wallow in this disappointment, right? It’s time for some action.
First, I want to ask you to review the video of the November 29, 2012 Hearing. I think it’s important to do this because those people we heard last year are some of the same ones we’ll expect answers from when the VICP is rescheduled.
You’ll recall that the Hearing last year saw a great many discussions about autism, including the role that childhood vaccines played in that diagnosis. You’ll also remember that we saw Chairman Issa, who is also slated to oversee the VICP Hearing, lead a long-overdue discussion about what else needs to be done about autism. Listen to everything that was revealed. Think about how you felt when those Representatives’ words tumbled out of their mouths. Keep those words in mind as you get ready for the next step.
I, for one, was gobsmacked at what I heard as the committee discussed vaccines, autism, the loss of time, the need for services, and that not enough support is available. By the end of the Hearing I felt it was a victory for us, for our cause and especially for our children. True, more needed to be done, but what that Hearing and what was revealed made it a landmark event.
We need to have that happen again.
So, the next request I am asking of you, if you haven’t already, is to please contact your Representatives. Put pressure on your Congressman. Put pressure on the Oversight and Reform Committee members. Tell them your story. Remind them of the promises they made to us. Let them know that we understand time constraints and busy schedules are part of life, but that you’re expecting action regardless of those delays. (When you get a response, do feel free to share it with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.)
One last thing. Send your story to the Canary Party. The Canary Party has been integral in coordinating this Hearing and has the ear of the committee. From and earlier AofA post, here’s what you can send: In your own words, describe how vaccines caused damage or death. What was your child like before the vaccine(s)? What were your own beliefs about vaccines? Did your experience with the NVICP help you or your child in any way? Report how your journey with vaccine injury has brought you to where you are today. You can write a paragraph, a page, or more. Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submissions is November 27th.
After getting news that the next Hearing was called off, it was difficult to plod through the rest of the week. It felt like we were back at square one. That we had to start all over again. That our hard work is not paying off. While it may take pushing our way through a crowd of people who act like they don’t see us, remember, we know how to do that. We’ve done time and time again. We’ll continue to do that for our own children and for each other’s because together, we’ve become experts at getting the attention that our children need.
Even if it takes more time, a great amount of effort and more struggles than we bargained for, it’s time to rally once again. There are enough of us committed to doing whatever we can. Let’s get our voices heard loud and clear one more time. If not for our children, some who have already been gypped, then for those who will surely come after them.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.
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