In an unprecedented meeting with VaxChoiceVT coalition members, last week Tracy Dolan from the Vermont Department of Health acknowledged the Health Department’s awareness of our concerns regarding compelled speech on their self-proclaimed Religious and Philosophical Vaccine Exemption Form.
Dolan is the Deputy Commissioner of Health. A native of British Colombia and herself a mother of two, she indicated that proposed regulation changes – which propose strict enforcement through childcare and school administrators - have been reviewed and approved by the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education.
The Vermont Department of Health is largely funded from outside of our state, and yet possesses extraordinary power. Last year, $23,793,896 flowed from Federal taxpayers to the CDC and back to Vermont. This represents approximately 80% of the Health Department’s total budget. The CDC comes under the umbrella of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, headed by Kathleen Sebelius. Next year (2013), CDC wants $13 billion from Federal taxpayers.
The CDC is carrying out an aggressive campaign to limit the rights of US citizens in the name of public health, and the Vermont Department of Health, headed by Dr. Harry Chen, seems to be more than willing to implement. As Health Comssioner, Chen has been granted special power to decide what constitutes a health risk and to propose action that may very well include the loss of rights that many of us consider to be inalienable and basic human rights.
The Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice aims to preserve our right to take responsibility for our own health by calling for preservation of true informed consent and a Vermonters right to choose. An all-volunteer organization, this spring we managed to successfully advocate on behalf of over 1500 citizens who want the right to make their own health choices when it comes to medical decisions for our children.Unwitting supporters of the compulsory vaccination of schoolchildren fail to realize the freedoms they may soon give up for themselves, as the adult vaccine schedule rises to the top of the CDC (and therefore the Health Department's) agenda.
UPDATE (9/17/2012): The freedom to make important health choices must stay in the hands of the people of Vermont. And yet Vermont's Health Commissioner has already been granted inordinate power by the Vermont legislature. This is a problem that is beginning to spill out beyond the vaccine mandate policy he is pursuing. For example, VTDigger.org reported today on Chen's unilateral decision to blanket pesticide over Vermont:
"The legal basis for the state spraying pesticides over hundreds of private properties stems from DOH Commissioner Harry Chen’s determination that the recent episodes of EEE were a 'significant public health risk.'