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Letter To Sacramento Bee: When Lobbying Becomes Vigilantism

Freedom SB277NOTE: This is the kind of advocacy that can change one heart, one mind and make a difference for all of us.  If you write a letter to your local paper, please share it with us, whether published or not. Thank you to Nancy Fellmeth for allowing us to share her letter to the Sacramento Bee.

Re:  May 21,2015 “When lobbying becomes vigilantism”

Dear Ms. Terhaar,

I've been a Bee subscriber since I moved here in 1989 and with the exception of coverage of SB277, I have found that the coverage was well suited to my political, social, community beliefs. I have always appreciated that columnists are represented with whom I have never agreed. However I feel that the coverage of SB277 has been very one sided and has failed to actually do primary research into the issues that the anti- SB277 group have referenced.

SB277 is the perfect storm for controversy because there is too little unbiased science on both sides of the issue. The type of double blind placebo studies done with other pharmaceuticals to determine the actual efficacy and dangers have not been done for vaccines.  Instead the reports of side effects and failure to protect come from the actual field, those who experience an adverse vaccine reaction. On the other side, studies have been done that show links, but they need to be replicated and many are in European journals. I did not realize how little independent research has really been done on the safety of vaccines until my husband, who is a physician with a Ph.D. in Physiology pointed me to the original journal articles that  support the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics that vaccines are safe and in no way connected to autism.This website is geared toward parents.  I found 40 references and was able to access the full text versions for  16 articles. Even using my husband’s access to the hospital journal base, we could not get copies of the Pediatric Journals without paying a rather large fee, which I doubt any curious parent would do, so I limited my  investigation to the 16 articles. Authors of peer reviewed American journal articles are required to list any conflicts of interest at the end of the article, above the references. I discovered that in 9 of the 16 articles, the lead authors had direct ties to the pharmaceutical industry, as paid speakers and consultants,and that many  studies were funded by the pharmaceutical company or the Centers for Disease Control. The  CDC’s Director of Immunization Safety,  Frank DeStefano, MD, MPH, is a frequent author and he  lists connections to the  pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. This is not objective science, especially since the researchers are not often  doing primary research but rather interpreting  epidemiological data and forming conclusions to support the lack of a connection between the MMR and Thimerosal and autism. Dr. DeStefano has stated publicly that he believes autism to be present in the womb and not affected by environmental factors. He already has a bias. The May 21, 2015 Health Impact News published an interview with Dr. DeStefano in which he admits that data was omitted from the 2004 study showing no link between the MMR  and autism, a fact that was made public by former CDC researcher Dr. William Thompson. Dr. DeStefano doesn't feel that this data, which showed a larger cohort of African-American boys developed autism after receiving the MMR, was valid because there were incomplete birth records which he said affected information he needed for the study, including birth mother education level. Of course that information is not on a birth certificate. Regardless, good science will hold up to independent review and for vaccines this is lacking. Just by example, imagine if a vaccine for Ebola had been developed and given during the recent outbreak. It would have been credited with ending the epidemic, whereas the epidemic ended because of better hygienic practices throughout those communities.

Next there is the issue of the Medical exemption. Dr. Pan stated in the public hearing for the Senate Education Committee that he has signed medical exemptions, and from Bee reporting, one would believe that parents with medical concerns such as autism, allergies and epilepsy would be able to easily obtain one of these exemptions. Not true. The guidebook for physicians(The Pink Book) comes from the CDC, an agency with a definite pro-vaccine agenda, and the conditions that  contraindicate further vaccination are specifically for immune compromised persons such as those receiving chemotherapy or with immune deficiencies such as HIV.  Surprisingly, a child can have a seizure immediately following one vaccine yet still be given all the other vaccines. The conditions that parents report, such as physician  documented presence of the measles virus in their gut, severe allergies to most foods, seizures, autism, sensory integration issues, are not considered an accepted contraindication for further vaccination. This is why these parents are so concerned. Parents would gladly show your staff the videos that show their child babbling or even saying a few words and acting like a typical child at their first birthday, followed by video that shows them after their 15 month vaccines, screaming inconsolably with a high fever that lasts for days or even a week, losing any eye contact or language or play skills. I know these people and they dutifully vaccinated all of their children and never jumped to a link between the vaccine and autism until all the puzzle pieces started to fit together and so many of them had the same experience. Clearly there is a causal relationship or else the Vaccine Compensation Board wouldn’t have paid out settlements on some of these cases. Since there is a complicated process with a statute of limitations there are many parents who never even try to get compensation. The long list of vaccine side effects are just considered collateral damage for the greater good. The problem with that philosophy is that this country has an epidemic of autism. When my son was diagnosed in 1991, the prevalence was 1 in 10,000 and now it is 1 in 50 and the incidence started increasing just a few years after the number of vaccines was doubled. We should be researching any cause of this disability because the cost for treating these kids is enormous , not just to the public schools and other public agencies such as the Regional Centers in California,  but also in the loss of tax revenue because one parent must stay home with the child and can't work. These kids often require a lifetime of care and after their parents are too old, burned out or die, this responsibility often falls to State resources. Far more children will be diagnosed with autism this month than people will be affected by a communicable disease, yet there is no outcry about this health crisis.


This is an issue that merits some actual original research and not just the repetition of the vaccine crisis  information that Dr. Pan repeats as fact. Additionally,why isn't anyone asking how SB277 is really going to help when the initial measles outbreak was caused by foreign visitors? Are we going to start checking shot records at the border? Additionally, since schools only check for vaccine compliance at kindergarten and 7th grade or when a child changes school districts, potentially a lot of the 177,000 kids with personal exemptions ,who are partially or totally unvaccinated will still be in school. How is the herd immunity affected by that and at what percentage does the risk remain the same as it is now? How is it that private schools like Waldorf, where most parents don't vaccinate fully, have not had a communicable disease crisis? And how is it that this is considered a budget neutral bill, when it will cost the Public school districts untold amounts of money to fulfill their Federal IDEA obligations to provide FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) to Special Education students who will now have to be home schooled under independent study. California education code requires that a credentialed teacher supervise these programs and all of the related services like speech and occupational therapy will need to be provided individually in the home. These services are usually provided in classrooms or clinics. The parents of children who need Inclusion with neuro-typical peers as an integral part of their therapy, will undoubtedly take these cases to due process which will also cost school districts huge amounts. Eventually these school districts will have to be bailed out by the State, especially costly when the State loses the Federal contribution to the special education costs because of non-compliance. None of these questions have been raised by the Bee nor have they been addressed by Pan/Allen or any of the Senate committees. No one is asking these questions except the people you describe as the parents in the red shirts. I am part of that group, as a member of Families for Early Autism Treatment (FEAT), but I don't wear a red shirt.This group is not monolithic. The parents with autism concerns are separate from the groups concerned about losing the religious exemption and those  who object for other personal reasons. They share a concern about SB277 infringing on their right to give informed consent for a medical procedure—and a vaccine is a medical procedure performed on a healthy person. I've attended two of the four rallies, standing for hours to have a chance to state my name and position  and I haven't witnessed any of the hostility towards pro SB277  staffers that has been reported, though I have witnessed hostility towards us from some staffers, although most were very helpful.  The  Highway Patrol has always been very respectful and even complementary of the group behavior and some Senate security staff have offered to take group photos on cell phones. I regret that a few people have taken their anger too far but this doesn't reflect the general attitude that I have seen. As to Jodi Hicks and the other lobbyist appearing to advise Pan at the Education Committee,   it is concerning because their very presence on the floor was in stark contrast to the opponents who were ushered through to give their stand.  When I spoke as the President of  Families for Early Autism Treatment and then tried to add my husband’s name and stand they immediately shut off my microphone. Yet Jodi Hicks was on the floor. If she isn't officially lobbying for a pharmaceutical company she is certainly unofficially lobbying, or else why would she be allowed on the floor right behind Dr. Pan, who definitely turned to her for advice.

These are the questions the Bee could be asking, these are the concerns the Bee could look into, these are the investigative stories the Bee is very capable of doing. Tell the  the stories of families whose lives were interrupted and repurposed when their child had an adverse vaccine reaction, maybe listed far down the vaccine brochure as rare, but an everyday occurrence for the family that now cares for this injured child. We only hear of the few children affected by exposure to someone with measles, and that is regrettable but hardly deadly and those who grew up  before the vaccine simply got the disease and were conferred immunity.  Children who are immune compromised by chemo are kept isolated until their immune systems can handle an onslaught of germs including the cold, for  which there is no vaccine, and far more likely to affect this child. Having  both sides would be more interesting and highlight the complexity of  this public policy issue.  You have the makings of a Pulitzer Prize winning series of investigative reporting in this story and I am convinced that when you start digging as I did, you will find that the truth has not been reported.


Nancy Fellmeth



The "save vaccine exemptions" groups need a modern version of The Four Minute Men!


Sue Morgan

Nice job, Nancy.

Trust is gone

Fantastic letter Nancy, yes we should publish the letters here that they don't publish in mainstream. Only there would be so, so many!


The Sacramento Bee has a reputation as a good paper. Maybe the editors will actually consider this issue impartially thanks to your well written and well documented letter. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Jenny Allan


Another Californian parent with valid objections to SB277.

Nikki Norberg

Larry Cook is a natural health advocate who has teamed up with several people to launch a public awareness campaign about the mandatory vaccination bills being introduced all across the U.S.,

and I am wondering if you would be willing to share his parent and medical professional video interviews when he starts to post them in a couple of weeks.

His goal is to raise awareness about the many reasons why we should get involved and actively oppose forced vaccination.

Once people are hooked into the reasons to oppose these bills, his website directs people to the Take Action page to send them to their respective state action groups to get involved in the fight.

His website is still under construction and you can see it here: http://www.stopmandatoryvaccination.com.

His GoFundMe campaign has raised over $10,000 from nearly 200 donors and has had nearly 3,000 social shares - you can see it here: http://www.gofundme.com/ohwupg.

Landee Crier, an activist on the issue, is also working with Larry on the project.

I am asking numerous groups and people to share his messages as they are posted because I believe these messages will resonate with other parents and those on the fence about the safety and efficacy of the vaccination program.

I believe this public awareness campaign has the potential to bring many more people into the fight against proposed medical tyranny.

May I send you those links as they go live?



Jeannette Bishop

Thank you! I hope the Sacramento Bee publishes these important points.

Sean Burke

Very good article. Needs to be widely distributed.

Angus Files

Great letter..but sad that these days if we stick up for the good health of our babies and adults that we are given the same tag as terrorist's.

Then again its America that is killing America not terrorist's....



Exceptional letter - thank you!!

cia parker

Very good letter, except that a lot of unbiased studies HAVE been done which show the dangers of vaccines. And the bottom line must continue to be that parents have the right to make vaccine decisions for their children even if there were a million unbiased studies showing vaccines to be safe and effective.

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