How Rhode Island Parents Are Winning Back Their Rights to Vaccine Choice
Families in Rhode Island are winning the war against mandatory vaccination. They have joined together with two powerful advocacy organizations whose efforts have successfully aided the of introduction five legislative bills to their state government related to vaccine choice. Their diligence offers a strong example to other parents who also question the implications of mandating so many vaccines. 
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 69 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18. Different kinds of exemptions, including religious exemptions, medical exemptions, or philosophical exemptions, are available in all fifty states, but some state governments have recently increased their efforts to limit vaccine exemptions and make additional vaccines “mandatory” for school attendance. [2, 3]
Why Parents Are Objecting
In 2015, many Rhode Island parents were outraged when their state Department of Health mandated at least one dose of the HPV vaccine for seventh graders in order for those children to attend school. The HPV vaccine is supposed to protect against a sexually transmitted infection caused by the human papillomavirus, and later, the development of cervical cancer. 
The HPV vaccine is currently recommended for young women and young men beginning at age nine, when they may not have even entered puberty and are not yet sexually active. [5, 6]
Gregory Zimet, a psychologist who has studied people’s attitudes toward the HPV vaccine, a vaccine which has generated greater controversy than other vaccines, noted that this vaccination is directed at “11-and 12-year-olds to prevent something that might not become an issue for 10, 20, 30 years.” He added, “It’s hard for people to see the connection and feel it as strongly.” 
Furthermore, this vaccine has a history of being unsafe and ineffective.
Elected Officials Are Listening
Rhode Island Families have objected to the mandatory vaccination policy against sexually transmitted infections. Parents have voiced their concerns about the ability of the CDC and state governments recommending and even mandating such a large number of vaccines, with seemingly little oversight, publicity, or public discussion.
One parent, concerned about why a vaccine for a sexually transmitted infection would be mandated, commented in a local news story, “HPV can only be spread sexually, and that shouldn’t be happening during the school day, so why wouldn’t they just recommend this vaccine” (instead of making it mandatory)? 
In response, Rhode Island Representative Justin Price has sponsored two bills designed to give parents control of what chemicals are injected into their children’s bodies. Bill H7475, proposed by Price and four other representatives, was introduced on February 4, 2016, and would grant parents the right to opt out of vaccines for diseases that are sexually transmitted, and they would not need a religious reason to do so. 
A public hearing was held to introduce the measure.
Scores of concerned parents attended one meeting in support of vaccine choice, but the state health department did not offer any written testimony, nor did they send a representative on their behalf.
Representative Price explained the basis for these two important pieces of legislation:
“This way it’s not just the Department of Health and the CDC making decisions for everyone,”Price said. “The public has the opportunity to have an input in what immunizations pass.”
Another bill, H7476, also introduced by Representative Price and four of his colleagues, would require the state health department to hold public meetings when a vaccine is being considered for a mandate. 
Vaccine Choice Supporters Continue To Work Together
Since the introduction of those two bills, three additional bills have been created to support parental rights, due to the resolute efforts of concerned parents and grassroots groups, including Rhode Island Alliance for Vaccine Choice and Rhode Island Against Mandated HPV, as well as the imperative support from their state representatives.
Currently in Rhode Island, parents need a religious reason or a medical exemption to opt out of vaccines.
Bill S2292 includes a provision to grant parents the right to exercise a philosophical exemption to vaccines, regardless of their religious beliefs or their child’s medical history. Additionally, the bill strikes down the requirement for children to be vaccinated against HPV to attend school. 
Bill S2295 contains important provisions affecting school attendance and vaccines, preventing the state Department of Health from setting minimum standards regarding vaccination against diseases which are not transmissible in a school setting, such as HPV. This legislation would also require three public hearings on proposed changes to immunization policy. 
Finally, bill H7899, introduced on March 9, 2016, by Representative Price and his colleagues, would allow allow parents and custodial caregivers to refuse vaccines for their children for sexually transmitted infections. It would also require all vaccine correspondence, related to any vaccine, to inform parents about the option to opt out of the vaccine. 
Is The HPV Vaccine Safe?
Currently, three versions of the HPV vaccine have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix. These vaccines are administered in a three-dose series over a six-month period. According to the CDC, 92 percent of adverse reactions are “non-serious.” 
However, many parents and HPV vaccine-injured children have a different story to tell. Adverse reactions to the HPV vaccine include paralysis, seizures, miscarriage, Guillain-Barre syndrome, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, blindness, speech problems, ovarian cysts, and death. 
Additionally, some research shows that the Gardasil vaccine may actually increase a young woman’s chance of developing cervical cancer. This research came from an organization you would not expect — from Merck itself, the manufacturer of the vaccine — which may explain why this information is not widely circulated in the mainstream media.
In 2013, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit revealed that, at that time, nearly $6 million had already been paid to victims of adverse reactions from the HPV vaccine. 
Is The HPV Vaccine Effective?
According to research, girls who are unvaccinated against HPV actually have a much lower incidence of contracting this infection:
“In 2007-2010, the overall prevalence of HPV was 50 percent in the vaccinated girls (14-19 years), but only 38.6 percent in the unvaccinated girls of the same age.
Therefore, HPV prevalence dropped 27.3 percent in the unvaccinated girls, but only declined by 5.8 percent in the vaccinated group. In four out of five different measures, the unvaccinated girls had a lower incidence of HPV.” 
A separate, 2012 study from the University of British Columbia, reviewed clinical trials of HPV vaccines and concluded that there is no data to support that HPV vaccines have prevented a single case of cervical cancer. The researchers stated that the safety trials were based on a “highly flawed design,” determining that the safety of the HPV vaccine has been misstated.
The researchers also noted:
“accumulating evidence from vaccine safety surveillance databases and case reports which continue to link HPV vaccination to serious adverse outcomes (including death and permanent disabilities).” 
Disturbingly, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated in 2003 about HPV, “most infections are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer,” yet they continue to recommend this vaccine. 
Why Grassroots Efforts Of Concerned Parents Are So Important
Families who have faced a vaccine injury are motivated by passion and a unbreakable desire to help other families avoid the same tragedy. The Rhode Island Alliance for Vaccine Choice (RVIAC) has provided the means for parents to collaborate in their desire to protect and restore their parental rights. According to their website, they advocate “for legislation that supports parental rights and informed consent.”
“All individuals should be given full knowledge of possible risks and benefits relating to medical procedures and vaccines including the HPV vaccine. The RI Alliance for Vaccine Choice works with our state legislators and government officials to eliminate the HPV vaccine mandate. We assert that individuals have the right to make vaccination decisions after discussing their healthcare treatment with their physician.” 
Their website states that their leadership comes from “all backgrounds” and “all walks of life,” people with diverse experiences, including “an average working man, a chiropractor, a photographer, real estate agent, a retired office worker, retired teacher and a person who works with non-profits,” who have formed a cohesive unit to support parents who want a choice about administering pharmaceuticals and other toxins into their children’s bodies. 
Their determined efforts have been fruitful, as upcoming legislation may grant more parents the choice to decline vaccines in a state which has boasted about its highest rate of HPV vaccination among young males (and the third highest rate of HPV vaccination for females) in the country. 
According to Dr. Smith, a leading health expert:
“Everyone should have the right to evaluate the potential benefits and real risks of any pharmaceutical product, including vaccines, and opt out of any vaccine they decide is unnecessary or not in the best interest of their child’s health. Every child is different and has a unique personal and family medical history, which may include severe allergies or autoimmune and neurological disorders, that could increase the risks of vaccination.
It is your parental right to make potentially life-altering health decisions for your own children. Why wouldn’t you want to keep that right—even if you want your child to receive most or all vaccinations currently available?”
Finally, we leave you with one more piece of important information to consider, an afterthought in this important struggle to give parents a choice about what is injected into their children’s bodies.
The state of Rhode Island participates in a “Vaccinate Before You Graduate” program, provided through a collaboration with a for-profit company, whose website admonishes parents that their child may need vaccines to get a job or get into college. This organization is known as The Wellness Company, the ultimate misnomer. “If you had to pay for all of these vaccinations, it could cost as much as $1200!” their website states. 
Who, then, is paying for the vaccinations administered by this for-profit “wellness” company? Informed readers already know the answer to that question.
What is the cost to our society of the lasting effects of vaccine injuries?
And why are governments and schools cooperating with private entities to administer pharmaceuticals to children?
Parents who are resolute in their efforts to safeguard their parental rights are making significant progress in the war against vaccine mandates. They recognize the power they have to influence government policies about vaccination. They find ways to connect with elected officials to voice their concerns about protecting their children from unwanted exposure to the chemicals, toxins, and foreign DNA contained in vaccines. They know their children don’t need a government-mandated vaccine against a sexually transmitted infection, especially at the young age of nine or ten years old.
If you live in Rhode Island, please contact your elected officials and encourage them to support the human rights legislative bills listed in this article.
If you are a parent or grandparent who would like to join with other concerned citizens to promote vaccine choice and medical freedom, you may wish to access the resources offered by the Rhode Island Alliance for Vaccine Choice on their website. They offer Ten Tips for Testifying Before a Legislative Committee, as outlined by the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island.
You can also download their parent information packet, filled with helpful information about informed consent, sample letters to send to legislators, and religious and medical exemption forms.
Finally, if your child has been injured by the Gardasil or Cervarix vaccine, we encourage you to share your story in the comment section.