State vaccine laws and the legal right to vaccine exemptions are hot topics in America. Between 2015 and 2017, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a non-profit charity, closely monitored state legislation and analyzed and issued positions on 454 vaccine-related bills through the NVIC Advocacy Portal (NVICAP). In 2015, the NVICAP team responded to more vaccine related bills than were filed in any previous year: 160 bills across 41 states. This record was shattered two years later in 2017 when NVIC tracked and published information on an all-time record of 184 proposed vaccine bills filed in 42 state legislatures. Mainstream media continues to cite the passage of two 2015 bills, California SB277, which eliminated the personal belief and religious vaccine exemption, and Vermont H98, which removed only the philosophical exemption, as evidence that public support for vaccine exemptions is waning. This is a myth easily refuted by looking at the real evidence.
In 2015 and 2016, NVIC monitored over 200 vaccine-related bills introduced in more than 40 state legislatures, including 31 bills in 21 states that tried to restrict of eliminate vaccine exemptions. With tens of thousands of Americans actively using the online NVIC Advocacy Portal, NVIC led a grassroots effort of concerned citizens and supportive parental rights and health freedom groups to educate legislators with well-referenced information about diseases and vaccines. Forced vaccination bills were defeated in 29 out of 31 states, including in Virginia, where NVIC is headquartered. By February 2017, vaccine legislation had been introduced in 30 states that threaten vaccine freedom of choice, including bills in eight states to restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions in Arkansas (withdrawn), Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas. Freedom. It is a human right to exercise freedom of thought, speech, conscience and religious belief. But, when it comes to vaccination, those basic human freedoms are being taken away in America, one state at a time.
We are edging closer towards the end of the first month of the 2017 legislative session, and we have been busy because your state legislators have been busy. Many new bills have been filed since our last national email update. If you live in one of the following states, there are already vaccine bills filed that can affect your rights: AR, AZ, CT, HI, IA, IN, KS, KY, ME, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TX, and VA.
2017 has started off with a bang. We are only about one week into legislative sessions across the country and so much is happening. New State vaccine legislation is being introduced daily - all over the country. Here's the status of State bills throughout the US as of 1/17/17.