By Dr Sherri Tenpenny, DO, AOBNMM, ABIHM
Across the country, letters are being sent to remind parents that students “must” be vaccinated prior to returning to school. There are 47 states who retain the right to refuse mandatory vaccination based on religious grounds and 18 states the still retain a right to refuse based on personal belief or philosophical reasons. Ohio is one of those fortunate 18 states. Nonetheless, parents are receiving fraudulent letters like this one from school systems, stating the vaccines are MANDATORY and REQUIRED for school. In the state of Ohio, and 17 others they are not. And this is nothing new: vaccines for school attendance have never been required in Ohio.
If your school nurse, your school administrator, your pediatrician, or your neighbor tells you otherwise, they are underinformed and you are being lied to.
While all vaccines are heavily advocated, Ohio schools are now pushing the meningitis vaccine as a middle school requirement. Several meningitis vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis have been available for many years: Menomune (1981), Menactra (2005), Menveo (2010) and MenHibrix (2012). Of note, Menomune still contains thimerosal (mercury) and the newly approved Trumenba (2014) and Bexsero (2015), given solely to defend against the N. meningitis serotype B, have 1500 mcg of aluminum, among the highest dosage given in a single vaccine. If the vaccines have been around for so long, why have Ohio schools mounted this untruthful campaign and why have they come on so strongly now? Most likely because SB 121 was passed in 2015, adding the meningitis vaccine to the list of recommendations for 7th graders.
All Risk, No Benefit
When our state legislators were debating the passage of SB 121 in 2015, I requested stats from the Ohio Department of Health on the number of cases of meningitis throughout Ohio in 2013 and 2014. I learned the number was surprisingly low: Over the 24 month period, there were only 22 cases of meningitis reported in the entire state, a state with a population of 11.5 million people. And I was even more shocked to learn that only TWO cases had occurred in children aged 5 to 19, both in 2013.
Put in perspective:
- According to the Ohio Department of Education, in 2013, the total number of students enrolled in grades K through 12 was 1,852,881; in 2014, the total number of students was 1,807,622.
- Again, Ohio saw had TWO cases of meningitis. Over two years. Among more than 1.8M students.
- What is not known is the outcome of the TWO cases of meningitis. Perhaps they fully recovered. We have no way of knowing.
- To show how silly this vaccine is, the actual risk of contracting meningitis is about 0.000108%.
- Administering the meningitis vaccine is all risk and with a ridiculously low benefit, and at great expense, approximately $72 to $100 per shot.
And they call those who question vaccines “fear mongerers….?”
After I submitted this data and a letter, strongly advocating against the meningitis vaccine becoming a RECOMMENDATION, I was told by Ohio representatives that the addition was merely “following the CDC guidelines and parents could always refuse.”
But how many parents know they have a right to refuse not only the meningitis vaccine, but all vaccines and that in Ohio, there are no school requirements, only recommendations? Unfortunately, very few. And when schools send out fraudulent, and possibly illegal letters, threatening expulsion without vaccination, would parents have any idea that the SCHOOLS were not aware of state exemption laws either?
It is infuriating to recognize this is happening all across the country, not just in Ohio.
The Real Risks of the Meningitis Vaccines
Let’s look at the cost of a possible complication from one of the meningococcal vaccines: Menactra.
Beginning in 2005, cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) were being reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) in students within 6 weeks of receiving Menactra. GBS is a serious type of paralysis with potentially long-term complications. By February 25, 2008, more than 15 million doses of Menactra had been administered nationwide with 26 confirmed case reports of GBS. Notably, 24 of the 26 students were between the ages of 11 and 19.
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According to the government’s Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research data, called the HCUP database, 150 persons were admitted to the hospital with meningococcal meningitis in 2014. The average hospital stay was 7 days and the average cost of care was $87,122. In comparison, the average cost to care for one case of uncomplicated GBS (ICD9 357) – hospitalization, follow-up rehab, and other ancillary services – was $134,099.
While meningitis is serious, the real risk of contracting the infection is very low. Comparatively, the healthcare costs for one of the complications of the vaccine, GBS, is equally as serious and the cost of treatment are nearly 30% higher than the cost to care for one case of meningitis. Said another way, the cost of treating a vaccine side effect is 30% more than the cost of treating the illness.
The list of reported adverse events on the Menactra package insert includes the following:
- Hypersensitivity reactions, such as anaphylaxis/anaphylactic reaction
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing, upper airway swelling
- Urticaria (hives), pruritis (itching) and erythema
- Hypotension (low blood pressure), paresthesia, dizziness, vasovagal syncope (fainting)
- Convulsions (seizures), palsy of the face
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (diffuse brain inflammation), transverse myelitis, and myalgia (muscle pain).
The vaccines manufacturers, the physicians and the nurses who administer Menactra and other vaccines are completely shielded from liability in the event of a vaccine injury or even a death. If your child is injured, you, the parent, are left holding the bag. And all the non-covered, out-of-pocket expenses are yours to pay, as you desperately work to restore your injured child back to health.
The Cost to the State of Ohio
Menactra is expensive, costing nearly approximately $72 per shot in the public sector, and nearly $100 per injection in the private sector. The 2017 data at the Ohio Department of Education lists 428,358 students enrolled in grades 7, 8 and 9. Each student is to receive two injections.
Simple math: 428, 358 students x $72/shot x 2 shots x 90% compliance rate = $55,515,196
At the above-stated values, that is enough money to treat 637 cases of meningitis. Is this how Ohioans want to spend their money – to potentially avoid two (2) cases of meningitis?
We pay and pay and pay for these vaccine mandates….and the drug companies laugh all the way to the bank.
Vaccine recommendations presented as a requirement increase the cost of health insurance for everyone. Insurance companies pass on the vaccine cost in the form of increased premiums. The additional expense is a direct cost to the State of Ohio for vaccines given to Medicaid recipients. Money in state budgets doesn’t simply materialize from thin air. What program will lose funding to pay for a vaccine with so little benefit and so much risk?
Parents, Know Your Rights
All across Ohio, parents are scrambling to get school vaccines in place before fall enrollment. STOP. Know the law for the state of Ohio. Go here for a direct link to the Ohio State Law. In essence, it says:
A pupil who presents a written statement of the pupil’s parent or guardian in which the parent or guardian declines to have the pupil vaccinated for reasons of conscience, including religious convictions, is not required to be vaccinated. Medical exemptions from physicians are also allowed.
Parents in other states – you need to know your rights too. Go to this link. Click on your state. Know your rights to refuse, and the steps to take if you choose to not dose your children 55 times (yes, 55 shots or oral drops), and innoculate them with 209 vaccine antigens, up to 525 mcg of thimerosal (mercury) and up to 13,425 mcg of aluminum if they receive every shot between birth and 18 years of age.
Let those numbers sink in.
Are schools and State Departments of Education Breaking the Law?
All across the country, parents are receiving threatening letters, requiring their children to be vaccinated to attend public school without telling parents the FULL extent of the law in their state and without offering an exemption form. As stated above, 18 states allow parents to simply say no thank you, and parents in 47 states have the right to refuse on religious grounds. Mail fraud, using taxpayer funds or funds from the limited school district budget for postage to send out fake letters could be a serious offense. And it may be an FTC violation to send out fraudulent information via email and text messages.
Some of you may recall the 1993 movie, The Firm, starring Tom Cruz. He brought down an entire criminal enterprise using the charge of mail fraud. What if every school district, every school board and every state board of education in America could be charged with sending out fake newsletters “requiring” vaccines that are only recommended? What if they could be charged with mail fraud?
I hope some smart legal minds are reading this post. Lying to parents and harming children with fake letters and fake threats may be something worth pursuing. If your teen experienced a bad reaction because you were pressured into vaccinating under the false pretenses of a school letter, please let me know.