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Hepatitis B vaccination controversy in New Jersey 
Transcription of a report by Health & Medical Correspondent, Sara Lee Kessler 
Broadcast 5:30 PM February 17, 2000 on New Jersey Nightly News (Channel 13 WNET)

“Another issue concerning children. New Jersey is among 8 states that don’t require hepatitis B vaccination for all school age youngsters. Now the Public Health Council has proposed mandating the shots by September of next year. Health and medical correspondent Sara Lee Kessler has the story.

Doctors have been giving the hepatitis B vaccine routinely to infants since the early nineties. State health officials estimate 9 out of 10 New jersey pre-schoolers already are immunized.

Internist John Slade of the New Jersey Public Health Council believes it should be mandatory ‘It’s an infection that can cause chronic illness with a gradual steady deterioration of liver function that can lead to death.’

(Switch to parent) But this Morris County mother worries more about vaccine safety than disease risk. ‘As we are vaccinating more and more children and more and more of the population we are starting to see more and more serious side effects ranging from Guillaine Barre Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and SIDs deaths. The risk to children (babies) of contractible disease is so small I don’t understand the mandate.’

(Switch to another interview) This Bergen County mother discussed the vaccine issue with chiropractor Noel Plasker. (Switch to Dr. Plasker) ‘I think it’s important to have the choice -- especially if there are risks involved.’

In New Jersey in 1997 according to Center for Disease Control statistics, there were 249 reported cases of hepatitis B -- none in children ages 10 and under and only 2 in children ages 11 to 15.  (emphasis added).

(Switch back to interview with Doctor John Slade of the New Jersey Public Health Commission)

(Medical Correspondent Kessler) This is not an airborne disease, correct?

(Dr. Slade) This is not an airborne disease. It is spread by person to person contact - by blood and by sexual intercourse.

(Medical Correspondent Kessler) Something that is not likely to involve kids of kindergarten age, correct?

(Dr. Slade) That’s true.

(Medical Correspondent Kessler) Then what’s the likelihood that they are truly at risk?

(Dr. Slade) Kids grow up to be adults and we’re protecting people for life.

(Switch to conclusion of TV segment)

New Jersey already requires children to get 20 immunizations for about 8 different diseases before starting school. In April the Public Health Council will take a final vote on adding hepatitis B to the list."


       
  

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