New Indiana Law Requires Mandatory Hepatitis B Shots
Next year's 9th- and 12th-graders are targeted
[Editor's Note: How outrageous can it get? All vaccines are damaging. Vaccine 'protection' is a lie and an illusion constantly repeated by the drug industry and their PR minions, as is self evident in this article. Hep B is a NON ISSUE and a non threat for school age children. It's utterly bogus to proclaim a mandatory requirement for Hep B "protection" when children of this age have ZERO exposure. Would this story have even been written if ONE father didn't make a complaint about it? The comments from Mary Hess, health specialist for Fort Wayne Community Schools, says it all. She says that the school district will be sending warning letters to parents to have their kids vaccinated BUT ""We probably won't say anything about the fact we won't mandate it." (thank you Ms Hess, dear government servant, drawing your salary from Indiana tax payers. How reassuring it is to know that you are laboring in the "public interest"). This article is a typical gloss over of the dangers posed by vaccines (in other words, 'there's nothing to worry about'). Notice that all parties quoted, except for the concerned father, are state health officials who you can rely on to be touting the party line. ..Ken]
By Jennifer L. Boen <email@example.com>
Devcember 8, 2004
Forward courtesy of Dr. Loretta Lanphier <LorettaLanphier@houston.rr.com> ("Another great reason to homeschool. This is ridiculous!")
New law requires hepatitis B shots Next year's 9th- and 12th-graders are targeted
A new [Indiana] state law requiring ninth- and 12th-graders to have a series of hepatitis B vaccinations before the 2005-06 school year begins has school officials wondering how the rule will be enforced and at least one parent unclear about it. The new law is a quirky one: It's aimed at two specific grades and will only be around until 2007, said Zach Cattell, legislative director for the Indiana State Department of Health. It also is a law that schools - by law - cannot enforce. As a subsection in state code of required immunizations for schoolchildren, the law stipulates "a child may not be prevented from enrolling in, attending or graduating from high school for the sole reason that the child has not been immunized under this ."
"In all my time here, I've not ever seen an immunization requirement drawn up like this," Cattell said.
Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver. It can cause lifelong infection and cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver and is the cause of 80 percent of all liver cancers. Hepatitis B virus - called HBV - is spread when blood or body fluids from an infected person enter an uninfected person through unprotected sexual contact, sharing of drug needles, through accidental needle sticks or blood exposure on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.
The new vaccine requirement is aimed at ninth-graders because they were the students who just missed falling under the umbrella of the 1999 mandatory
hepatitis B vaccination law. In other words, all children who entered kindergarten or first grade since 1999 have been required to have the series of three shots, which are given within a six-month period of time. The shots are routinely given to babies these days.
The next three senior classes are being targeted to ensure they are protected before graduation. Next year's 10th-graders will be the last class to receive the vaccine as seniors.
In 2001, the most recent year for which data is available, an estimated 78,000 people in the United States were infected with HBV; about 5,000 people die annually from HBV-caused illness. While there are treatments, there is no cure for hepatitis B, which is why health officials have stepped up prevention efforts.
Fort Wayne business owner Gary Osborn, who has one son entering ninth grade and another one entering his senior year next fall, said the letter he received from their schools informing him of the new requirement was upsetting. Both boys attend school in Noble County.
"The letter sounded like the shots are mandated," he said. "They need to tell you that you don't have to get them."
Mary Hess, health specialist for Fort Wayne Community Schools, said the district has been informing parents of the new rule in school newsletters and will likely send parents of current eighth- and 11th-graders individual letters.
As for the non-enforcement issue, "It worries me a little," Hess said, noting the district would probably send letters of deficiency to the parents of ninth- and 12th-graders who haven't received the hepatitis B series. "We probably won't say anything about the fact we won't mandate it."
Hess said some private colleges are now requiring hepatitis B vaccinations for incoming freshmen, although Cattell said it is not yet the case at state-owned colleges and universities.
According to the 2003 Indiana Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 49 percent of Indiana high school students reported having had sexual intercourse at least once, and nearly 40 percent said they were currently sexually active.
ISDH and other states are following recommendations of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Cattell said. "The main reason the
state health department is doing this is to make sure those kids, as they move into the higher risk group, are vaccinated."
Unlike HIV, HBV can survive outside the body at least seven days and still transmit infection, according to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people who become infected with hepatitis B get rid of the virus within six months, developing only an acute infection. But 10 percent develop a chronic, lifelong infection. However, they might not have symptoms and become unrecognized carriers of the disease.
According to the state, 59 cases of hepatitis B were confirmed in Indiana in 2002, down from 77 in 2001, but Margaret Joseph, spokeswoman for the
Department of Health, said the numbers reflect only acute cases.
"There's no way of knowing how many chronic hepatitis B cases there are," she said.
The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the most expensive required for children, costing at private doctor's offices anywhere from $52 to nearly $90 per shot, according to several pediatric groups contacted by The News-Sentinel.
But Kelly Zachrich, executive director of Super Shot Inc., said all children through 18, even if they have insurance, can receive the shots for free at any Super Shot site. Super Shot participates in the federally funded Vaccines For Children program. Some private insurance companies cover immunizations. The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health also gives the shots for free.
Osborn said he is still not convinced of the need and has safety concerns about the vaccine. At one time, the vaccine contained human blood parts and also a mercury-based compound called thimerosol, used as a preservative.
But these days all components are laboratory-made, and thimerosol is no longer used in single-dose childhood vaccines, according to the nonprofit National Vaccine Information Center.
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