Follow the Conversation by Email

Friday, December 4, 2015

THE NEW NORMAL

It occurred to me today, that...

IF I’M GOING TO CAUCUS OR VOTE IN THE PRIMARIES 
ON NATIONAL LEVEL POLITICS,
WHY WOULD I NOT ALSO PARTICIPATE IN MY STATE GOVERNMENT?

MY GOAL: 
“To sweep across the state, one day at a time, contacting all Representatives & Senators in WA State about my research into the importance of maintaining the Informed Consent Ethic, the reality that Medical Science Evolves, the Dangers inherent in all medical interventions, and the Importance of NOT over-estimating Vaccine Medicine Efficacy or the Infallibility of professionals within the Medical Field.”

I’M GOING WITH GEOGRAPHIC REGIONS, SO I WILL HAVE A SENSE OF WHERE EACH REPRESENTATIVE LIVES AND WHO HE/SHE REPRESENTS. IN EARLY JANUARY, I WILL POST HERE WITH A CHART THAT LISTS THE GENERAL “LEANINGS” OF EACH REPRESENTATIVE/SENATOR THAT I SPEAK WITH.

YOUR GOAL:

Is what?




Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why Pro-Vaccine Advocates NEED Vaccine Exemptions

A Community Conversation About Health and Responsibility: Vaccines and Beyond

Informed Consent: Why Fully-Vaccinated Citizens Need Vaccine Exemptions

When you go to the doctor, you may take the right to informed consent for granted. The doctor makes a recommendation, which usually includes information about the risks and benefits of that recommendation. You may choose to follow that recommendation, ask more questions or decide to do more research before making a decision. Perhaps you choose to seek a second opinion. In the end, you may refuse the doctor's recommendation. These are all your rights under informed consent.

Imagine, for a moment, going to a doctor for medical advice regarding a procedure. The doctor gives a recommendation which you listen to respectfully. Before you have a chance to make up your own mind, the doctor casually mentions, "Oh, by the way." "If you don't agree to my recommendation, you will be kicked out of school and/or fired from your job. This medical procedure is mandatory in the state of Washington. But as long as you're willing to give up education and employment, feel free to make your own decision."

Would you be okay with this? Even if you absolutely agreed with the doctor's medical opinion and planned to follow the recommendation, would you be comfortable being subjected to this kind of coercion?

History tells us repeatedly that patient involvement in their own health decisions is vital for safe and effective health care. When coercion becomes part of health care, people get hurt. Even if that coercion is well-intended.

Freedom of speech protects us all, but only if we defend it universally. For instance, we don't get to pick and choose whose speech is acceptable enough to be worth protecting. That freedom is protected for all of us. To protect your own rights, you must protect the rights of others, even if you strongly disagree with them. Even if you think they're dangerous idiots. Rights are rights.

The right of informed consent also protects us all. To retain this right, we must all defend it, in every area of healthcare. Allowing a profit-driven industry with known conflicts of interest to decide which areas of medicine and which patient groups deserve the benefits of informed consent is a naive and dangerous proposition.

In 2015, a very small handful of representatives in Olympia crafted & tried to pass HB 2009. This bill was designed to eliminate our right to file a Philosophical/Personal Vaccine Exemption on behalf of our families and our children. It was designed to coerce parents into compliance by threatening their child's access to childcare and public/private education.

The corporate pharmaceutical companies are using powerful marketing techniques to undermine the right of informed consent. Their messages suggest that informed consent is a public health risk and that only mandates can save us all from the scourge of disease. This is fear-mongering. Such legislation will undermine public health while it increases corporate pharmaceutical corporate profit. Any medication or drug (as vaccines are classified according to the CDC) that can be made universally mandatory guarantees a universal consumer base for the manufacturer and a predictable profit. This is even more so if the manufacturer is protected from liability for any harm that drug may cause.

In 2015, corporate pharmaceutical lobbyists spent more than $2 million on changing California vaccine laws.* Laws were passed that remove the right of informed consent for both children and adults. Vaccination is now required for all school children including homeschoolers who meet in a classroom environment. Children who are missing even one vaccine are only allowed to be educated in isolation at home or in independent study programs that involve no classroom contact. In addition, no adult in California may work in any form of childcare or preschool without proof of vaccination and this includes parent co-ops. If any money is exchanged to pay for a program, vaccines are required for both paid staff and volunteers.  *Source: Sacramento Bee

It is important to note that the California measles outbreak did not spread through schools. It happened because someone who was contagious with measles went to Disneyland where they still have a strict "no-refund, no exchange" policy for any reason...including active, contagious measles. Oddly, no legislation to mandate refund or exchange policies for businesses has been introduced into the CA legislature.

In 2015, we succeeded in defending our right to informed consent in Washington, but in 2016, we expect a much harder fight in Olympia. And so, we are preparing in advance!
Please join us the effort to protect informed consent. Here's how you can help:

1.  Review some of the posts on this blog. Expand your viewpoint and information base. Our legislators need to hear some new information, not repetitions of the same tired themes.

2.  Contact legislators in Olympia. When doing so, think strategically. In Olympia, there are those who are committed to their viewpoint and nothing you say will sway them. So, don't waste your time. Instead, reach out to those voting members of our legislature who may care a great deal but just don't know much or those who appear to be on the fence. Remember that they have the right to ask questions and there are many great viewpoints we can offer them.

3.  Talk to both your legislators and your friends about the complexity of this issue and the importance of informed consent to them and their loved ones. No matter what the news and lobbyists tell you, coercion is bad medicine and poor public health policy. 

“A Community Conversation About Health and Responsibility: Vaccines and Beyond” is an ongoing series written by two close friends with a passion for improving community cohesion and building respectful relationships in a diverse world. This article was co-created by Karen Crisalli Winter and March Twisdale. 
Learn more at our BLOG:  Vaccinesandbeyond.blogspot.com  

Contact us to get more involved:  KarenandMarch@rocketmail.com  

Monday, June 1, 2015

S/D/Q Paradigm is in the mail to WA State legislators!

Hello all!

Karen and I are headed back to Olympia on Wednesday, June 10th (homeschooled kids in tow) for another day of conversations with WA state elected officials. In addition to those we spoke with on St. Patrick's Day, we've mailed the following description of the S/D/Q Paradigm to every member of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and also the Senate Health Committee.

If you share with us your reason for wanting Washington State to stand up for Informed Consent, we will carry it to Olympia for you! [email: marchpower@yahoo.com]

If your doctor has dismissed your or your child's adverse reaction, despite your clear description of the events, please share your experience. The assumption that the "medical exemption" is sufficient (because all doctors will respond appropriately and protect children at risk) is a dangerous one that puts too high of a burden upon medical professionals who average only 16 minutes per patient in the USA.

Please enjoy, consider, and share the SDQ Paradigm with your friends & family. It invites thought!

The S/D/Q Paradigm:
Simplifier/Delgator/Questioner:  A new paradigm for talking about vaccines


It has always been an unquestioned assumption that people fall on a continuum from “pro-vaccine” to “anti-vaccine”. Until quite recently, it has also been an unquestioned assumption that people could be moved along this continuum through education. However, recent studies are calling these assumptions into question. Multiple studies have found that pro-vaccine messaging has the paradoxical effect of decreasing confidence in vaccines among the so-called “vaccine hesitant” parents. Two such studies are referenced here:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/02/25/peds.2013-2365
http://ebm.bmj.com/content/19/6/219.extract

This has caused some to conclude that the so-called “vaccine hesitant” are stupid, uneducated, or  anti-science.  However, this is not consistent with demographic data, which identifies so-called “vaccine hesitant” parents as having a significantly higher level of education than “vaccine compliant” parents.


We suggest there is a fundamental flaw in all of these studies: vaccine choices do not fall on a single continuum. Instead, we have seen evidence to suggest that how people decide is the crucial issue in need of exploration and understanding. With twenty-five years of observation under our combined belts, we have observed and defined three basic decision-making styles: Simplifier, Delegator, and Questioner. All three are valid, offer value to the community, and deserve our respect.

Simplifiers make decisions by simplifying a complex subject into a few basic rules. These are the folks who will say “All vaccines are safe” or “All vaccines are dangerous.” This is the only group where pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine are accurate labels. There aren’t a lot of these folks, but they are the ones you are most likely to meet at a public meeting when the issue of vaccine medicine is on the table. Simplifiers serve an important purpose in our democracy. At their best, Simplifiers are powerful advocates. Pro-vaccine Simplifiers create an environment that supports everyone’s access to vaccine medicine. As many public health strategies depend upon broad societal use of vaccine medicine, this is great for public health. However, society also benefits from the voices of anti-vaccine Simplifiers who publicize problems with vaccine medicine. This helps to guarantee the safety of the vaccine supply.  For example, our first drug safety law, the Biologics Act of 1902, was passed after Anti-vaccine Simplifiers raised awareness about a contaminated vaccine batch that killed a number of children.

Delegators are quite different. They make decisions by selecting an expert they find trustworthy and following their instructions. Delegators may do a great deal of research on selecting that expert, or none at all. While many Delegators choose to trust government-sanctioned entities, such as the CDC, or accept the advice of their chosen family doctor; others choose a friend, relative, book, celebrity, or religious leader as their expert. Either way, their vaccine choices reflect the opinion of their chosen expert. Since most government and medical experts align themselves with the CDC, most Delegators follow the CDC schedule.


Questioners tend to feel solely responsible for their final decision. Therefore, they focus on data collection, analysis, and all possible options. This research introduces them to the variety of information that science offers on the subject of vaccine medicine. Questioners develop a high level of comfort with ambiguity and the complexity of both vaccine science and the human immune system. Yes, Questioners often seek out experts as sources of information, but they shoulder the burden of making the final decision willingly, as a necessary cost of medical freedom. Their final decisions vary dramatically, with some Questioners seeking out vaccines that are not yet on the schedule, some Questioners choosing the CDC schedule, some Questioners choosing a custom vaccine schedule, and a few rare Questioners declining all vaccine medicine entirely.

Contrary to popular media hype, we would like to suggest that there is not a huge surge in “anti-vaxxers.”  Anti-vaccine Simplifiers are a tiny percentage of the population, as are pro-vaccine Simplifiers. These percentages have remained steady for more than a hundred years, and they’re not likely to change anytime soon. While they are a powerful force politically, Simplifiers can and should be disregarded for the purposes of public health messaging. There aren’t enough of them to alter the patterns of disease transmission and they are not going to change their passionate beliefs because of any public health campaign.


There is, however, a huge generational shift from Delegators to Questioners. Sixty years ago, patients rarely questioned doctors. Delegation was expected and made sense when the average citizen was lucky to have a high school diploma. Questioners were found mostly within professional scientific circles. With Questioners nearly as rare as Simplifiers, public health messaging was aimed exclusively at Delegators.  Appeals to authority were extremely effective, especially if paired with scare tactics about the hazards of disease and the danger of not trusting your doctor. Vaccines mandates were seen as just another form of expert advice.

These strategies still work very well for Delegators. However, these days up to 40% of parents are Questioners, especially in highly educated areas. The strategies that worked through the 1970’s don’t work now.

When you present Delegator-oriented messaging to Questioners, they are offended by the idea of simply obeying a doctor (even if they like the doctor) and suspicious of scare tactics. Unlike Delegators, Questioners want to be given lots of information. They are reassured by data, not frightened by it, and they accept ambiguity as normal in a field of medical science. They prefer honest uncertainty to oversimplification. We also find that Questioners reject the legitimacy of medical mandates, which is why heavy-handed legislation consistently meets with strong, morally-rooted objections. Even if a Questioner would have voluntarily chosen the behavior that is being mandated, they will stand up for their right to make that decision without coercion in any form.


In short, there is not an increase in anti-vaccine sentiment. There is a shift in how people make decisions about health care. Current public health messaging has failed to take this shift into account, creating (in some areas) alarmingly low vaccination rates. Old strategies of scare tactics, appeals to authority, and mandates will not succeed. These tactics are outdated and counterproductive.

So, what do we do? Rather than fearing independent thinking and a highly-educated population, we need to capitalize on it! It is time to develop new communication strategies that will meet the needs of both Questioners and Delegators. The main difficulty comes from the fact that Delegators become more confident when urged to trust an expert, but less confident when given lots of data. Questioners, meanwhile, become distrustful when urged to follow expert advice, but more confident when given lots of data. On the plus side, both Questioners and Delegators readily self-select messages that work for them. Given that advertisers routinely target niche markets with great success, it shouldn’t be too difficult to gently steer people towards the kind of messaging that will enable us to talk about the evolving subject of vaccine medicine in a rational and productive way.

To do this, however, we will need strong leadership from Olympia and - to gain the respect of Questioners - this means our state must make an absolute commitment to the medical ethic of Informed Consent.

The S/D/Q paradigm warrants further study as a valuable tool for public health.


For more information on the S/D/Q paradigm, please email us at karenandmarch@rocketmail.com or visit our blog: vaccinesandbeyond.blogspot.com.  


Our first article on the S/D/Q paradigm can be found at http://vaccinesandbeyond.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html




Friday, April 10, 2015

Assumptions VS Reality

When it comes to Vaccine Medicine, people tend to think that their perspective is the "reality" and that those who disagree with them are making "erroneous assumptions." What if everyone is both right and wrong about this?

The issue of "science-ism" (which we'll talk about more later) is important to understand. In a nutshell, "science-ism" is what happens with a person begins to relate to "science" as people often relate to religion. Blind faith, trust in authority figures, belief that concrete & unquestionable answers have been attainted...all of which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what science really is. Right?

So, in the spirit of "always questioning everything" and "making observations," here is a list of thoughts that challenge the status quo. Which is what science excels at...



Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taking Our Voices to Olympia - Cover Page

When we reach out to our government, do we feel heard?
If we have signed a petition or sent an email, likely not.
If we have called and spoken to a person, maybe.
If we have visited the seat of government, yes?
But, what good is it to be heard, if one's gift of thought are not remembered or acted upon?

On Tuesday, March 17th, Karen and I spent the entire day in Olympia and, 
we actually felt pretty well heard. Which, of course, means that 
much work lies ahead...for us...AND FOR YOU.

Imagine a huge ocean filled with people who have thoughts.
 On that ocean, there floats a large cruise ship.
Inside, there are many different levels.
Ranging from large to small.

This is how one can view our society, and in our view...all of those people have a role to play.
Karen and I have taken a trip to the cruise ship. We hung around for a day,
we chatted with folks in a couple of levels, and we departed.
But, we left behind our thought. Ideas. Proposals.

Now, we would like to share with you, the ocean, our thoughts as well.
Because, we are all the source of our society.

Over the next two months, we will share the handouts we offered to those in the seats of government.
We invite your responses, ideas, curiosity & additional comments.

In May, we will revisit the issue of "what shall we do to improve public health in WA state?"
We will call upon our government employees and partake in the conversations
 necessary to seek our ultimate goal: A Proposal That Captures Near Consensus

Sound impossible?
So did flight.
And flying a rocket to the moon.
And landing on Mars.
And...
-------------------------------------------------------------------

HERE IS THE COVER SHEET ON OUR PACKET OF INFORMATION
(we already posted page #1 on March 11th)

We, Karen Crisalli Winter & March Twisdale, believe 
that HB 2009 failed for valid and important reasons.
This packet covers the issues which relate to:

(1) why HB 2009 was inherently flawed, 
(2) why we need to continue the conversation,  
(3) the counter-intuitive ways in which increased freedom can improve public health, and
(4) how the state can improve the effectiveness of its public health messaging by soliciting feedback from the residents of WA state.

Handouts Included:


Handout Title
Pages
Informed Consent Benefits Public Health - Here’s How
1
Current Problems That May Be Reducing Vaccination Levels
2-3
Assumptions VS Reality
4
A letter from a WA state resident
5-7
The Philosophical/Personal Exemption Protects Our Right To Vaccinate
8
Vaccine Exemption Survey
9-13
“Safe & Effective”
14
FDA Press Release
15-16
Mumps Vaccine Fraud
17


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Informed Consent = Much Better Healthcare For All

I spoke with a wise journalist who's been around the block for awhile and he said to me, "People have a short attention span. It's just that way. So, make sure you can express your idea succinctly, in five paragraphs or less...even better, focus on talking points."

I thought for a moment and replied, "It's the hook. We'll still reel the fish in with a long fishing line, but we have to set the hook. So, a talking point is just the beginning of the conversation. It's meant to catch their attention and, if it works, they'll begin to ask you for more information. And that’s where we’ll find the good solutions...in the conversation.”

Tuesday, March 17th - Karen & March (and their children) head to Olympia to share ideas & proposals with Representatives, Senators, Advisors to the Governor and Officials at the WA State Dept. of Public Health in Tumwater. 

We have several goals, but one is to insert the concept and guarantee of "Informed Consent" into our state law. Why? Because, for the following reasons...this alone will immediately improve public health from the ground up, one patient at a time.

Ten Ways Informed Consent Benefits Us All

1.  With no consent, there is no reason to get informed. Public health benefits from an informed citizenry.

2.  Patient feedback is vitally important for the continual improvement of our medical knowledge. Patients are more inclined to give feedback about adverse reactions to drugs or interventions if they know they have alternative options. 

3.  Without informed consent, patients are less involved in their care and pay less attention to details. Doctors make mistakes in vaccine identification, timing and records. Involved patients are more likely to catch these errors before a harm occurs. 

4.  Consent creates a natural control group for scientific study. No human ethics board will approve a placebo study in which patients are given a placebo instead of an existing approved vaccine. However, it is perfectly ethical to study people who have voluntarily chosen to exempt themselves. This creates opportunities that can increase our understanding and benefit public health.

5.  Every serious vaccine injury scares many patients away from vaccines and traumatizes doctors. Minimizing these injuries is in everyone’s best interest. Informed consent leads to patients who are more likely to share pre-existing conditions & history before consenting to vaccination.  

6.  Doctors are being forced to spend less and less time with patients. Informed consent creates a legal mandate that pushes back against this trend, increases the time that doctors can spend with patients, and improves public health.

7.  Informed consent tends to allow people who are nervous about vaccines to become more confident about vaccines. Coercion, on the other hand, tends to increase anxiety and result in a backlash effect that reduces overall confidence in vaccines.

8.  Informed patients demand that vaccines meet their minimum standards. By doing so, patient choices create a market that supports higher quality vaccines.

9.  Informed patients are more likely to recognize early symptoms and seek diagnosis and testing which leads to earlier treatment and this is good for all.

10.  Informed patients have a better understanding of how vaccines work and don’t work. Over-confidence in vaccine efficacy can lead to carelessness in vaccinated individuals which is bad for public health. 


11.  And now it's your turn. Share with us a story of how Informed Consent improved your medical experience. If you've given birth, had any surgery (minor or major), if you've been prescribed a medication or have utilized any medical testing...your doctor was required to make sure you understood the options, the possible side effects, and other available alternatives...and your doctor waited while you decided whether or not to "consent" to one option or the other or wait and research it further before making your decision. Please consider sharing your experience!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sunday, March 8th 2015 - HB 2009 Information & Activism Meeting

Here's our poster about an event we are offering in our community.
HB 2009 represents the best intentions of a few legislators who believe that,
to improve public health, we must lose civil rights and medical flexibility.
We disagree that these sacrifices are necessary. We reason that HB 2009 
will, in fact, lead to myriad unintended consequences & harm public health.
For these reasons:
We Oppose HB 2009.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Radio Interview w/ Sarah Collins Honenberger

When you come to Vaccines and Beyond, you mostly find blog posts that have been co-written by March Twisdale and Karen Crisalli Winter. This blog post is just from March Twisdale.

-------------------------------------------------

In my other life, I am an actopian fiction writer and local radio show host. 

The focus of my show, Prose, Poetry & Purpose is interviewing authors who inspire positive social change in the world...one reader at a time.

Last year, I had the opportunity to interview Sarah Collins Honenburger about her novel, White Lies. Previously a lawyer, Sarah based White Lies upon her real life experience representing a family with a vaccine injured child...and the three years it took for them to win a dispensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

As Sarah and her husband fully vaccinated their child & had no problems, she brings to the conversation a lawyer’s remarkably clear-sighted perspective, unmarred by personal tragedy or strong bias. 

I encourage you to give the show a listen: 

                                                  Sarah Collins Honenberger



~ March Twisdale



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Karen & March Discuss Vaccines & HB 2009 w/ Anita Kissee on The Impact

This week, we were pleased to meet with Anita Kissee, producer and host of The Impact, a televised show focused on what's happening in Olympia and how legislation "impacts" the rest of the state.

You can watch our interview here:
http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2015020156

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Karen Crisalli Winter's Letter to WA State Legislators re: HB 2009

To whom it should concern,

I am strongly opposed to HB 2009, but perhaps not for the reason you think. I believe HB 2009 will drive people away from vaccines.

HB 2009 would maintain the freedom to refuse all vaccines. It would take away the freedom to accept some vaccines. This is bad for public health.

Right now, the state of Washington has three exemptions: medical, religious, and philosophical/personal.

The medical exemption is hard to access. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on doctors not to offer medical exemptions. This leaves parents with medical concerns in a dilemma. They must try to locate one of the few doctors who offers custom vaccine schedules ... or they can easily find a genuinely anti-vaccine doctor.

The religious exemption is easy to access. You just have to join the religion that forbids all vaccinations. If you want some vaccinations, though, you're out of luck. To the best of my knowledge, there is no religion that has an individualized vaccine schedule as part of the creed.

The Philosophical/Personal exemption is the only exemption that truly protects freedom of choice. It gives the parents the right to say no. It also gives the parents the right to say yes. It also gives the parents the right to say maybe. It protects informed consent and protects the rights of parents to change their minds.

My children are vaccinated against measles because of the Philosophical/Personal Exemption. If we had not had access to the Philosophical/Personal Exemption, my children would probably not be vaccinated against measles. Freedom of choice allowed us to choose the MMR despite concerns about some of the other vaccines.

For the sake of public health, we need an option that allows parents to selectively vaccinate.

Don't push parents away from vaccines. Vote NO on HB 2009.

Monday, February 16, 2015

March Twisdale's Letter to WA Legislators re: HB 2009

Dear ____________________________,

While you may not directly represent my district, in your role as a member of the Health & Wellness Committee, you represent me as a resident of Washington State. 

As such, I am writing to explain why I believe HB 2009 is a phenomenal step in the wrong direction with regard to improving public health in our state.

To begin with, wanting to force people to do the “right thing” is as understandable as it is misguided. In this case, coercing medical choices is absolutely unethical, as it prevents patients from being able to give “informed consent,” which all medical practitioners are required to obtain prior to performing a medical procedure. Consent can only occur in a non-coercive environment, and threatening individuals’ livelihoods or their access to education introduces a persistent and inherent coercive force.

From the medical perspective, we cannot avoid the fact that every vaccine is different, every disease is different, every person is different and every situation is different. This is why good medicine requires flexibility. HB 2009 will tie medical practitioners’ hands, eliminating their ability to fully engage in the practice of medicine. Fundamentally, mandates (without readily available exemption options) significantly interfere with the doctor/patient relationship and undermine the growing trend in cooperative health care. 

It is true that we all have a responsibility to minimize the spread of disease within our communities, whether vaccinated or not.  If you're going to legislate something, legislate paid sick leave for all workers. For most contagious illnesses, we have no vaccine. Imagine the tremendous public health benefits of making it economically possible for every resident of Washington State to stay home when sick, or to care for a sick child! 

On the political side of things, HB 2009 sends a clear message that our temporarily elected officials believe doctors and patients are incapable of making good medical decisions. This is wrong and dangerous thinking.

What we have been seeing, in the past few decades, is a shift in decision-making methods. In the past, most people were Delegators. They left decision-making up to the experts. “Hey doc, tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” Today, in the highly educated and well-informed state of Washington, we see a significant increase in Questioners. These are people who seek out expert advice to supplement their own research on the way to making their own decision.

Unfortunately, public health messaging hasn’t kept up with this shift. What works well for a Delegator (who is seeking someone to trust) does not work well for a Questioner (who is seeking detailed information and scientific data). In our advancing society, over-simplified public health messaging is old school and has weakened the credibility of public health authorities. Additionally, the five year plan put in place by our legislature roughly six years ago has substantially (and intentionally) increased the hostility and rancor between residents of our state, further reducing credibility. 

In order to recover the good will and trust that has been lost over the past six years, we need a better education campaign, not an attack on our basic human liberties.

Sincerely,
March Twisdale


Philosophical Exemption Threatened - Talking Points

In the state of Washington, vaccination is mandatory for entrance into school or licensed child care, unless parents choose an exemption. At present, there are three possible exemptions: Medical, Religious, or Philosophical/Personal.

There is currently a bill being considered in the Washington State House of Representatives which would eliminate the Philosophical/Personal exemption.

You can learn more about HB 2009 at this link:

We are contacting our legislators to express why we think this bill would damage public health in Washington state. Here are some concise talking points. Feel free to share at will. 

---------------------------------------

Talking Point #1 
Every vaccine is different, every disease is different, every person is different, every situation is different. This is why good medicine requires flexibility. 


Talking Point #2  
Informed consent is to medical ethics what freedom of speech is to democracy.  These are core freedoms that protect us all. 


Talking Point #3 
The trouble with mandates is that they interfere with the doctor/patient relationship and prevent cooperative healthcare. HB 2009 sends the message that our legislators think doctors and patients are incapable of making their own medical decisions.


Talking Point #4  
Vaccines are powerful medicine. But overconfidence can cause as much harm as underconfidence. As such, good medicine depends upon both critical thinking and informed consent. 


Talking Point #5 
We all have a responsibility to our community to minimize the spread of disease, whether vaccinated or not.  If we're going to legislate something, let's legislate paid sick leave for all workers.


Talking Point #6  
We are seeing a general shift toward patients and doctors working as a team to sort through the complex decisions involved in all forms of healthcare, not just vaccines. As such, we need to strengthen trust and cooperation between patients and their doctors. Mandates assume that doctors and patients cannot be trusted. This is a bad precident to set.


Talking Point #7  
In America, we value our inherent right to decide what happens to our body. 


Talking Point #8  
State law is clear on four points:
  1. The state must make ample provisions for education.
  2. Education is compulsory for all children.
  3. Medical providers are required to obtain informed consent.
  4. Education at public and private schools is conditional upon proof of vaccination. 
These four requirements don’t conflict because of the philosophical exemption. However, if the philosophical exemption is removed, medical & educational rights come into direct conflict. This is unacceptable, because rights are rights. They aren’t bargaining chips.  You can’t demand that citizens trade one right for another.


Talking Point #9  
The important thing to consider is not what people decide, but how they decide.  Some people want to find a trustworthy expert and follow instructions.  Let’s call those folks Delegators.  Some people want to make their own decisions, after taking expert advice into account.  Let’s call those folks Questioners.  Over the past few decades, there has been a notable shift from Delegators to Questioners, as education levels have increased. Because most of our public health messaging is aimed at Delegators we now have a problem.  Questioners want a lot more data and current public health messaging is just not meeting that need.


Talking Point #10  
Sometimes when we try to fix one problem we create a dozen more. This bill will do exactly that. Coercing family medical choices should not be a public health strategy. Vaccines are useful, but they are not our only tool when it comes to disease management. Promoting trust and building understanding are far more powerful and need to be better utilized. 

Talking Point #11  
The philosophical exemption is important because it provides flexibility for doctors and patients to work together to craft an individually appropriate vaccine schedule.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Welcome back to Vaccines & Beyond (what you'll find here)

From time to time, the unresolved and complicated questions swirling around the impact of vaccine medical choices are triggered. When this happens...

Many people fall into remembering and repeating what they've heard before.
Many people jump on a familiar bandwagon & start swinging before they start thinking.
Many people injure their relationships with others in their community.

And really, much to most of this is unnecessary and unhelpful. If you have come to our blog...

Chances are, you're looking for a better way to talk about this important topic.
Chances are, you're a reporter and are researching your next story.
Chances are, you're surprised to hear someone discuss this topic in a calm & interested way.

Because, that's what Karen and I are. Interested. In fact, we find vaccine medicine to be utterly fascinating! This topic touches upon many vitally important sub-topics or related topics, such as:

Informed consent & medical ethics
Adult bullying
Understanding statistics & recognizing bias
Communication issues in social media forums
Liberty, power & history
Scientific thinking vs belief-based thinking
Propaganda, education & limited Resources
Western medicine, eastern medicine, emergency medicine, preventative medicine
The role of laws, regulations & court rulings
Efforts to silence the minority voice & the dangers of majority thinking

And the list goes on. So, welcome to our blog. Most of our posts reflect current information, but we have taken a step back since this past Summer. If there is a topic you have questions about, ask! We will get back to you as soon as we can. This means, we'll need to find time in our busy lives AND we'll need to do significant research to ensure we trust our answers. It might take a few days or a week.

Until then, let the angry words flow past you like the wind. Choose your own words to grow relationships, not stunt them. And remember that there is always more to learn.

~March & Karen

Vaccines, Vashon Island & March in the News...

Hello all!

Updated news about the current conversations around vaccine medicine...coming to you from me, March Twisdale. I spoke with Nina Shapiro of Seattle Weekly earlier in the week...and I was interviewed by King 5 News today.

Watch here: http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/2015/02/11/vashon-island-measles-immunization-vaccination/23263843/

Overall, excellent conversations around the various issues that come up around Vaccine Medicine.

Also talking with The Seattle Times on Thursday and another journalist is interviewing both Karen and I for a magazine that discusses issues important to medical doctors...that's on Wednesday.  (Karen is a lovely interview candidate, but news agencies seem to like to focus on Vashon Island, so she gets less calls...wish they delved into her mind a bit more often!)

A busy week, all told! 
So...you might be wondering... 
WHAT do I focus on, when being interviewed?

(1) How trust is lost when people in positions of authority simplify a complex subject and get "caught" in the lie. (This can happen at either end of the spectrum.)
(2) The importance of acknowledging the growing epidemic of neurological conditions, auto-immune conditions, and other chronic illnesses, including - but most definitely not limited to - Autism Spectrum Disorder. Given the increase in these conditions, overall parental concerns deserve our respect.
(3) The validity of being concerned about "environmental factors" with regard to this epidemic. We go to great lengths to discourage tuna & alcohol for pregnant women, smoking in homes with children, washing fruits & vegetables to decrease pesticide residues, etc. But, for some reason, we don't validate concerns about the increased number of vaccines being injected into newborns and very young children who are still developing both their brains and their immune system. Why?
(4) Focusing our attention on HOW people make their decisions rather than WHAT they decide, because our thinking process matters. Whether you inherently question everything or prefer to delegate to an authority figure or simply believe what your trusted childhood doctor told you...how we arrive at a decision matters.
(5) The negative impact of polarization, including "birds of a feather flocking together," which results in people being offered consistently re-affirming information for their particular perspective. This lack of diversity reduces our ability to grow and evolve in our understanding, etc.
(6) Bringing the focus back to SCIENCE. When I was asked, "why do you think people on Vashon believe as they do?" I corrected the question, saying we shouldn't assume that people act upon a "belief." People are making a "choice" and the question is, "what has led to their decision?"

Remember...vaccine science is science, and that means
questions are always a good idea!

NOTE: this post is written by March about her week's experiences and has not
been co-written with Karen Crisalli Winter. As such, March is solely responsible
for the content of this post.