unacceptable smallpox vaccination bill

  1. Call for Action

    The American Nurses Association has learned that an unacceptable smallpox vaccination bill will be
    voted on in the House of Representatives this coming Monday, March 31.

    It is imperative to generate calls to the House to urge votes against this bill. Do not delay. Calls should be made now. The vote may occur as early as 2pm Eastern on Monday. We only need 1/3 of the House voting against this bill to bring it down.

    Nurses can reach their Congressional Members by calling the United States House of Representatives Switchboard at
    202-224-3121 and asking to be connected to the office of their
    Representative. Following is the ANA's position paper on the bill and it may be emailed to your Congressman:

    Message to Congress

    ANA urges House of Representative Members to VOTE NO on the Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act (HR 1463). This bill fails to protect nurses. It does not provide adequate education, prescreening, surveillance, and compensation - and it will not result in increased vaccinations.

    Background

    The smallpox vaccine is a live virus. It has the worst record of
    negative side effects of any vaccine in the world. It is imperative, as a matter of public health, that those being vaccinated understand the risks of the vaccine to themselves and their loved ones, and be prescreened for conditions that require them to avoid the vaccine. The smallpox inoculation site can shed the live virus for up to three weeks.

    In the 1960s, more than 20% of the adverse vaccination events occurred in secondary contacts. Therefore, the vaccination program poses a risk not only to nurses, but also to their patients and families.

    The American Nurses Association (ANA) has, since November 2002, been trying to work with the Administration to formulate a strong smallpox vaccination program that will encourage nurses to volunteer to be immunized. Unfortunately, the Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act (HR 1463), which will come to the floor as early as Monday, March 31, fails to do this.

    The Republican Leadership in the House has denied the Democrats the opportunity to offer a stronger alternative. It is
    imperative that all Members show their opposition this bill, a strong NO vote will allow ANA to negotiate a stronger bill in the Senate.

    Rationale

    * The recent deaths of a MD nurse and FL nurse aide only underscore the need for proper education, prescreening, and
    surveillance. Nurses and other first responders will continue to feel uncomfortable about the vaccine until they receive the reliable
    information and prescreening needed to make an informed decision.

    * Members of the armed services received personalized education, and free and confidential prescreening prior to the administration of the vaccine. This process properly screened out one-third of the potential recipients. ANA urges Congress to enact legislation that would provide the same level of protection to civilian nurses. HR 1463 fails to do so.


    * HR 1463 fails to require adequate funding for the
    administration of the smallpox vaccination program. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCO) estimates that it costs $242.04 per person to properly administer the vaccine. States and localities are absorbing millions in uncompensated costs related to this program. NACCO
    reports that the uncompensated costs of the smallpox vaccination program are leading 79% of local public health officials to divert funds from other needed bioterrorism efforts.


    * HR 1463 contains an insufficient, unfunded, compensation program. Nurses need to know that they will be compensated if they are harmed by the vaccine. The Administration is basically asking healthy nurses to place themselves (as well as their patients and families) at
    risk
    for the common good. The vaccination has no tangible benefit for nurses; it is sought in the name of homeland security.

    Nurses should not be made to bear this public risk alone. HR 1463 contains no replacements for injured nurses and
    fails to ensure that funds will be available for the compensation fund.
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 31, '03
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    "The Administration is basically asking healthy nurses to place themselves (as well as their patients and families) at
    risk for the common good."

    So what? If it is only asking, that is fair enough. If it is a requirement, that is a different matter. Perhaps if HR1463 were quoted in toto (or at least the relevant sections) here, we would have more to go on than just an opinion of the ANA, or anyone else.

    I don't take other peoples' "word for it," myself, and don't recommend that to anyone else, either. Just give me the actual facts--I'll draw my own conclusions from them myself. I'm not interested in blindly supporting the conclusions of others, in other words.
    Last edit by sjoe on Mar 31, '03
  4. by   kae rn
    Received the small pox immunization today. At no point did I feel oblibated to do so. The risks were spelled out, and it was optional. There was a lot of education, time to ask questions, and it was ok to walk away if not satisfied with what I was hearing. It was ok to walk away and not state why you were walking away. I am not sure I understand what this legislation is about, but as long as the risks are spelled out, education is available to prevent harming your patients and family, and it is optional, I am all for it.
  5. by   gwenith
    When I started my training way back in the Jurassic era i was required to be vaccinated against smallpox weven thoough Australia has always been free of teh disease. Found out the hard way that I am allergic. Told not to worry - it is close to eradicated you will never need this vaccination again. Some of us get REAL LUCKY!!!!!
  6. by   NRSKarenRN
    Check here for any Federal House/Senate Bills :
    http://thomas.loc.gov/


    Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act of 2003 (Introduced in House)

    HR 1413 IH
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/.../~c108gfh724::
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Mar 31, '03
  7. by   moonshadeau
    The smallpox bill did not pass
  8. by   -jt
    sjoe, all you have to do is go to your internet search bar & type in Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act and Smallpox Vaccination Compensation Fund Act... and read.

    Nobody is asking you to take anybodys word for it 'blindly'. The post was for the purpose of passing on information. The internet is a wonderful thing in that you can take the initiative to find any facts you want to look for with just a click of the wrist. All the info anyone needs to make their own decisions is there. Feel free to read the act if youre interested. Its also in the Homeland Security pdf.

    From the ANA:

    HR 1463 Defeated!

    Thank you for all the contacts you made with your members of Congress. The bill, H. R. 1463 - Smallpox Vaccination Compensation Fund Act was successfully defeated on March 31. The vote was 184 yeas to 206 nays. We hope that a new bill will be negotiated that will address all the concerns ANA has regarding the protection of nurses, their families and patients with this program. Congratulations!
    Last edit by -jt on Apr 2, '03
  9. by   -jt
    STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN JOHN D. DINGELL
    RANKING MEMBER
    COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE

    STATEMENT
    OF
    THE HONORABLE JOHN D. DINGELL
    IN OPPOSITION TO H.R. 1463

    MARCH 31, 2003

    Mr. Speaker, I join the millions of our Nation's first responders in opposition to H.R. 1463, the "Smallpox Emergency Personnel Protection Act of 2003." Right after we defeat this bill, I hope that we set about the task of crafting bipartisan legislation that all members of the House can support. The very people this bill purports to help -- nurses, EMTs, police officers, firefighters -- find this hastily crafted legislation lacking. Why? Because it fails to address their very significant concerns.

    Mr. Speaker, we are voting on smallpox vaccine injury legislation today because the Administration's current vaccine program is not working. Only a fraction of the number of first responders that the Administration has said are needed to protect us have volunteered to take the smallpox vaccine. The Administration has recommended that as many as ten million first responders be vaccinated for smallpox so that if we ever are attacked by the use of smallpox we will have a core capacity of health care and emergency personnel vaccinated and able to take appropriate action right away. The latest numbers from CDC indicate that less than 26,000 of them have been vaccinated. Why so few? Because the vaccination carries with it substantial risks, including adverse affects that could cause disability and, in some cases, death.

    Proponents of H.R. 1463 will make much of what they think that bill does. I ask you to focus on what it lacks.

    H.R. 1463 does not do enough to ensure adequate screening and education and otherwise prevent adverse events from happening in the first place. In the event that tragedy strikes and someone is injured or killed by the vaccine, H.R. 1463 does not make adequate provision for lost wages. And, what H.R. 1463 lacks is support from the people to whom it is intended to appeal.

    H.R. 1463 is opposed by the American Public Health Association, the International Union of Police Associations, the American Nurses Association, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union, and the Infectious Disease Society of America.

    Finally, Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of accounts of three deaths in the last week or so from cardiac arrest in persons who received the smallpox vaccine. Health care officials cannot positively rule out the smallpox vaccine as the cause or a contributing factor in these deaths.

    The CDC has taken swift action to revise its guidelines and has indicated that there may be further revisions. These uncertainties about the known, and I hasten to add the unknown, risks of the smallpox vaccine have greatly increased the fear factor among prospective vaccinees. We should be doing all we can to obtain and assess the relevant information on the vaccine and smallpox risks. That cannot be done by using the process by which this bill is before us today. We have had no hearings, no markups, and no opportunity to perfect this bill on the floor with amendments. All we have is the Administration's proposal and a take it or leave it procedure.

    I recommend that we listen to our first responders, vote no on H.R. 1463, and get busy writing legislation we can all support.

    Thank you.
    THE HONORABLE JOHN D. DINGELL

    (Contact: Laura Sheehan, 202-225-3641)

    Prepared by the Democratic staff of the Committee on Energy and Commerce
    ###
    http://www.house.gov/commerce_democ...ess/108st23.htm
  10. by   teeituptom
    Howdy Yall
    Well having a history of angina deferred me from being able to recieve the vaccine. which didnt hurt my feelings a bit, not due to associated risks with it. But due to the fact that I firmly belive this to be some more of the propaganda thrown at us by the Government to help justify their pursuit of their actions, re: the war in Iraq.
    Remember life is by far better if you keep the ball in the shortgrass ya'll
  11. by   liberalrn
    I have maybe a dumb question. I was born in 1962--I've HAD the darned vaccine--do I need another one? I won't get another one, I am against this mass vaccination, but isn't the median age of RN something like 46 and doesn't that mean that we all have had it? Does it "wear off" like tetanus? It's the newbies (born after 1970?) that need this, right?
  12. by   KC CHICK
    Nope. Need it again. This quote is from the CDC:
    Length of Protection
    Smallpox vaccination provides high level immunity for 3 to 5 years and decreasing immunity thereafter. If a person is vaccinated again later, immunity lasts even longer. Historically, the vaccine has been effective in preventing smallpox infection in 95% of those vaccinated. In addition, the vaccine was proven to prevent or substantially lessen infection when given within a few days of exposure. It is important to note, however, that at the time when the smallpox vaccine was used to eradicate the disease, testing was not as advanced or precise as it is today, so there may still be things to learn about the vaccine and its effectiveness and length of protection.

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