What is the effect of the Homeland Security Act on the average citizen? If the department director declares an imminent threat from smallpox due to a terrorist act, then the entire population will be vaccinated. Well, how will they do that? Set up vaccination clinics in school gyms, stadiums, and auditoriums. This all has to happen in a coordinated effort within a few days. And it requires a very compliant citizenry. There are no provisions in the Act for exemptions, but there are clear medical contraindications for vaccination. If anyone in a family has ever had eczema, then no one in the household should receive the vaccine because of the increased risk of severe adverse vaccine reactions, since the virus from a vaccination lesion can be spread to other household members.
What if you decide no thanks, not for me? Will authorities seek you out in your home and drag you kicking and screaming to a vaccination site? No. Will they find you and quarantine you in your home? How could such a policy be enforced? Children may be excluded from attendance at school, but if a significant portion of the population says no to the smallpox vaccine, then the government would have to create concentration camps to house the unvaccinated. Not a likely scenario. In the distant past, smallpox vaccination squads would physically restrain people, force them to the ground, and administer the vaccine. This happened in America, the land of the free. It is unlikely that the US judicial system would tolerate such a blatant violation of personal liberties in this day and age, though the Supreme Court ruling of 1905 requiring vaccination when the public’s safety is threatened still stands.
Shameful Corporate Favors
The Act contains a provision that exempts vaccine companies from responsibility for any damages inflicted by thimerosal, the mercury preservative in vaccines. This provision will preempt existing class-action lawsuits against Eli Lilly and Co., which charge that mercury in vaccines is responsible for the onset of childhood autism. No one is admitting to the authorship of this liability exemption, but President Bush coincidentally appointed Sidney Taurel, the CEO of Eli Lilly and Co. to his Homeland Security Council in June 2002. Bush’s Budget Director, Mitchell Daniels, is also a former top executive with Eli Lilly.
Congressmen, led by Dan Burton, are up in arms about the Bush Administration forcing this corporate favor down their throats as a last minute addition to the Act. They have exacted a promise from Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott to review this section of the law in 2003.
What Can We Do?
When congress reconvenes in 2003 we can all join with Congressman Dan Burton, Senator Joe Lieberman, the National Vaccine Information Center, and other parent advocacy groups to change the language of the law. We need to add a personal belief exemption to smallpox vaccination and remove the section that exempts vaccine manufacturers from thimerosal damage.