Washington DC officials threaten to jail parents for refusing immunizations

BBC News:  Thursday, 14, February, 2002, 18:44 GMT

Jail Threat for Refusing MMR Vaccine

Washington, DC  A US city has introduced an initiative to force parents to vaccinate their children with the controversial MMR vaccine or go to jail.

Children in Washington DC who have not been vaccinated are barred from attending school, while their parents face a fine or a short jail sentence. The get-tough policy has led to very high uptake levels of the vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

All but a few hundred children are not up to date.  In stark contrast, continuing public fears about the safety of MMR have seen immunization rates dip sharply in the UK – leading to concerns about a re-emergence of disease. The vaccine has been linked to an increased risk of autism and bowel disorders. However, the medical establishment is adamant that it is safe.

Deborah Holmes, head teacher at Jefferson Junior High School, supports the scheme.  She said: “If it comes down to deciding which is more important, the education or the health, I think it is both, and I think the system has made that clear.”

The architect of the initiative Dr Michael Richardson, of Washington DC Department of Health, said a tough stand was necessary to protect the local population.

He said: “The people who have got measles here have either been unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated, and I think it is going to be true also in Britain.  You are going to find people who have a preventable disease, and who become hospitalized from a preventable disease, and that is unfortunate.”

Children of God for Life Responds Feb. 15, 02

To: letters@washingtontimes.com

Dear Editor,
The headlines read: Parents in Washington DC face Jail Time For Refusing MMR …
What a disgrace to a city housing the Constitution of the United States, to find a Nazi-like treatment of its citizens who refuse to accept a vaccine that violates their religious and moral beliefs. The MMR vaccine is derived from aborted fetal tissue, but then I guess that just fits right in with the holocaust mentality of these officials in DC. Shame on you! You may try to rationalize the entire sordid business since the abortions were done over 30 years ago, but hmmmm… I bet if they were using the experimental cell lines from the Jews murdered in the holocaust instead of aborted fetal tissue, that would be one vaccine that wouldn’t sell for long!
The World Health Organization made a decision to destroy those cell lines a long time ago due to their immoral source and the same should be done with the fetal cell lines used to produce the rubella, MMR, chickenpox and hepatitis A vaccines, MRC-5 and WI-38. And just as the Jews would refuse to accept such a product, every pro-life, God-fearing parent in America has the absolute right to refuse these vaccines. The US Constitution we hold so dearly and you protect so fiercely in Washington DC guarantees that right under Freedom of Religion.
By the way, just to complicate matters more, we would like to know just how Washington officials can require a vaccine that is on back order with the manufacturer, Merck? We spoke to Merck representatives as early as yesterday (Feb. 14th) and were told, once again, that they still have no idea when the vaccines will be released. This includes the single doses for Measles and Mumps (which, by the way are not derived from aborted fetal tissue) as well as the MMR and Chickenpox which have not been available for new orders since last December.
How very sad that competition among the pharmaceuticals is not better in this country. Otherwise, not only would there be no problem with vaccine shortages, but someone would certainly have grabbed the market from Merck on these “tainted” vaccines, offering ethical alternatives. Baxter did so by responding last fall when we protested the new Acambis smallpox vaccine that would use aborted fetal tissue. The next 155 million doses being made with Baxter’s assistance will use other sources. Merck should listen to the nearly half million parents and physicians who have written them demanding a change to the existing vaccines. And so should Washington – especially before they go and propose an unconstitutional mandate on their citizens!
Debra L. Vinnedge, Executive Director

Children of God for Life www.cogforlife.org