NYVIC (New Yorkers for Vaccination Information and Choice)

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DANIEL J. FESSENDEN
Assemblyman 126th District
Cayuga, Cortland and Chenango Counties

THE ASSEMBLY

STATE OF NEW YORK

ALBANY

 

VICE CHAIRMAN
Minority Steering Committee

COMMITTEES
Environmental Conservation Agriculture
Ways and Means

                                                                                                      April 21, 1999

Natural Immunity Information Network
P.O. Box 2090
Canal Street Station
New York, NY 10013

Dear Friends;

Thank you for your interest and correspondence regarding Assembly bill 4600 and Senate bill 982 which would require the chicken pox (varicella) vaccine be given to all of New York State's children. Your letter contained some well thought out points, which I remain open to considering.

Although chicken pox can provide life long immunity, reactions from chicken pox hospitalize approximately 14, 500 people and kill 105 people each year, reported Jane Seward, M.D., M.P.H., pediatrician and chief of varicella activity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center (CDC) in Atlanta. According to an article written by Mike Bykowski, from Pediatric News, the chicken pox vaccine is 100% effective in preventing severe to moderate varicella and 86% effective in preventing all varicella, according to a study cited from a CDC report.

After the Food and Drug Administration investigated a chicken pox outbreak in Georgia, investigators learned that chicken pox occurs in 88% of unvaccinated children and only 14% in vaccinated children. Of the vaccinated children all contracted a mild case of the disease opposed to 2(5% contracting a mild case after not being vaccinated. That means that 74% of children had moderate to severe cases of chicken pox.

Lynn Olson, Ph.D., of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), reported on a survey that the AAP recommends the chicken pox vaccine for all infants aged 12-18 months and all other children before the age of 13, when the severity of the disease increases. This allows infants to receive the vaccine at the same time as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. The AAP is not the only agency that recommends that all states require the vaccine. The Center for Disease Contrors Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend the vaccination, as well.

During the clinical tests of this vaccine pain and redness were the only adverse reactions in 11,000 healthy children, adolescents and adults. Vaccination to people already immune to chicken pox yielded no increase in adverse affects. The adverse reactions found were only .05% higher in the vaccinated patients than those that received a placebo.

Senior research investigator in FDA's Center for Biological Evaluations and Research, Philip Krause, M.D. said that over time the chicken pox vaccine has been looked at carefully, for about five years, and substantial evidence of decreasing immunity has not been shown. Without long term studies it is difficult to determine how long the vaccine is effective. Parents and other adults who have been vaccinated are presumably receiving a booster effect from repeated exposure to children who have been naturally exposed to chicken pox. The only way to determine long term effects is to use the vaccine and analyze the results.

The Food and Drug Administration has continued to observe the effects and consequences of the chicken pox vaccine. They are currently conducting "formal Phase 4" studies which means that the manufacturer, at the FDA's request, will monitor several thousand children for 15 years to determine what the long term effects and possible need for a booster immunization.

An added benefit of vaccination includes fewer days home from school for a child as well as fewer days off from work for parents.

Given this legislation is currently before the Health Committee, I encourage you to express any further concerns that you may have directly with the members of that committee, if you feel the need.

After carefully reviewing the facts of immunization, I introduced Assembly bill 4866 that mandates the chicken pox vaccination as well as rotavirus. This decision was made after considering all of the information that you have provided as well as my own research. The conclusion that I came to is that in order to make this vaccine effective it must be mandatory. That is why legislation has been created for all children to be vaccinated. If we don't we will continue to suffer with the consequences of adults contracting severe and even deadly cases of chicken pox.

Sincerely,

Daniel J. Fessenden
Member of Assembly

DJF: tea

ALBANY OFFICE: Room 723, Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York 12248, (518) 455-5878, FAX (518) 455-3895, e-mail: fessendEc, assembly.state.ny.us
DISTRICT OFFICE: 69 South Street, Auburn, New York 13021, (315) 255-3045, FAX (315) 255-3048, e-maih assembly126@ baldcom.net
website: http://co.cayuga.ny.us/fessenden

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