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This page is devoted to providing information and links regarding vaccine legislation efforts being made to "level the field" in the interests of the health, safety and welfare of pets for pet owners by requiring veterinarians to provide information as to the known risks/dangers and side effects of vaccination and over-vaccination.
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from the STATE OF MAINE:
Summary of LD 429
|LD 429 (HP 314)|
|"An Act To Require Veterinarians To Provide Vaccine Disclosure Forms"|
Sponsored by Representative Peter Rines
Maine Vaccination Legislation Bill - Initial Update - press release to follow later [and THANK YOU to those who signed the petition!]
For the dogs
By Bonnie Washuk, Staff Writer - Tuesday, March 1, 2005
AUGUSTA - A public hearing Monday on a proposal to mandate consumers be given information about the risks and benefits of vaccines turned into a face-off, with no agreement between veterinarians and pet owners.
Veterinarians staunchly opposed legislators forcing them to give pet owners information about vaccines. They're already doing that, they said. And the science about adverse health risks from vaccines is "fluid," making it impossible to give good information, veterinarians said.
Pet owners and dog breeders who jammed into the standing-room-only hearing were on the other side of L.D. 429. They questioned why veterinarians were so opposed to giving out information.
With her little dog, Minnie, in her arms, Laura Moon of Brunswick said she favors the bill. Everyone was there because they love animals, she said. "That's why I think disclosure is so important. How as an owner, as a guardian, do you know if you don't know?"
When any activity raises potential harm, precautionary measures are warranted, even if the cause and effect are not fully understood, Moon said. "How can we make an informed decision if we don't have information?"
Joan Jordan, a dog breeder and dog obedience teacher from Woolwich, said she's seen dogs "that have had a vaccine that had had lumps and died. Personally I had a dog a couple of years ago I lost." Weeks after her dog had a vaccine, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy, she said, adding that 18 months later "Sarah" died.
When humans are prescribed medicine they're given information about possible risks, Jordan said. "I see no reason why the veterinarians feel that that's a threat to their services. ... What's the problem with us just knowing what the research is saying?"
Arnold Woolf of Lewiston, a breeder and dog judge, called the bill a "safeguard for dogs and cats." Years ago he sold a Collie puppy to a couple who took that puppy to their veterinarian. That veterinarian "re-inoculated the animal," giving shots the puppy already had. The dog died within 48 hours from a vaccine overdose, Woolf said. " That's what the autopsy showed."
Veterinarians disagreed that the bill would do any good. They testified about how critical vaccines are to keeping dogs and cats disease free, how their profession is under attack with inaccurate information.
Dr. Bill Bryant of Winthrop, past president of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, said veterinarians are strong proponents of education, but they're against the bill. Vaccine protocols have changed and will continue to change, he said. Experts disagree on the science of health risks, he said. With that science "fluid," Bryant asked who would write information in disclosures, and what set of research would be used?
Legislators should not mandate disclosure forms "for what is a rapidly evolving national veterinary issue that Maine veterinarians are actively addressing," Bryant said.
Dr. Paul Wade of Manchester said polls show that veterinarians are among the most trusted professionals. Wade said he gives his clients numerous consent and information forms on many services, including vaccines, that show the benefits and side effects.
Most veterinarians are also doing that, he said. "There is no need for a state law to force us to do something we're already doing voluntarily. The bill is not a legislative issue," Wade said with a tone of annoyance. "The hidden agenda behind this bill is not for the protection of welfare for animals, but an attempt to further control an already ethical and trusted profession."
The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee will take up LD 429 in an unscheduled work session, possibly March 16, those attending the hearing were told.
some "interesting" quotes from this meeting include:
"Veterinarians disagreed that the bill would do any good. They testified about how critical vaccines are to keeping dogs and cats disease free, how their profession is under attack with inaccurate information"
"Dr. Paul Wade of Manchester said polls show that veterinarians are among the most trusted professionals."
"There is no need for a state law to force us to do something we're already doing voluntarily."
Testimony of Kris Christine
February 27, 2005
TO: The Agriculture, Conservation and Forest Committee
RE: LD 429, An Act to Require Veterinarians to Provide Vaccine Disclosure Forms
My name is Kris Christine and I live with my family in Alna, Maine. Before I begin my testimony, I’d like to advise the committee that one of the world’s leading veterinary research scientists, Dr. W. Jean Dodds, wanted to be here today to testify in support of LD429, but could not do so because of prior commitments. With her permission, in the attachments to my testimony, I have included her letter to Representative Peter Rines dated February 17, 2005 (Attachment 5) resolutely endorsing this first-in-the-nation veterinary vaccine disclosure legislation.
I am here today to respectfully urge this committee to recommend passage of LD429 – An Act to Require Veterinarians to Provide Vaccine Disclosure Forms because pet owners need the scientifically proven durations of immunity (how long vaccines are effective for) in order to make informed medical choices for their animals.
For years many Maine veterinarians have failed to inform clients that most core veterinary vaccines protect for seven or more years, and pet owners, unawaee that their animals don't need booster vaccinations more often, have unwittingly given their companions useless booster shots - taking an unnecessary toll on their finances and animals' health. The human equivalent would be physicians vaccinating patients against tetanus once every year, two years, or three years and not disclosing that the vaccines are known to be protective for 10 years.
For years veterinarians have sent pet owners annual, biennial and triennial reminders for redundant booster shots and justified it with vaccine manufacturers’ labeled recommendations.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Principles of Vaccination (Attachment 6), “..revaccination frequency recommendations found on many vaccine labels is based on historical precedent, not on scientific data … [and] does not resolve the question about average or maximum duration of immunity [Page 2] and..may fail to adequately inform practitioners about optimal use of the product…[Page 4] .” As the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital states it: “…booster vaccine recommendations for vaccines other than rabies virus have been determined arbitrarily by manufacturers.”
Dr. Ronald Schultz, Chairman of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, is at the forefront of vaccine research and is one of the world’s leading authorities on veterinary vaccines. His challenge study results form the scientific base of the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature (Attachment 7). These studies are based on science – they are not arbitrary. The public, however, cannot access this data. The American Animal Hospital Association only makes this report available to veterinarians, not private citizens, and Maine’s pet owners are unaware that the AAHA Guidelines state on Page 18 that: “We now know that booster injections are of no value in dogs already immune, and immunity from distemper infection and vaccination lasts for a minimum of 7 years based on challenge studies and up to 15 years (a lifetime) based on antibody titer.” They further state that hepatitis and parvovirus vaccines have been proven to protect for a minimum of 7 years by challenge and up to 9 and 10
Kris Christine Testimony LD 429
years based on antibody count. So, unless the Legislature passes LD429 requiring veterinarians to provide vaccine disclosure forms, dog owners who receive an annual, biennial, or triennial reminders for booster shots will not know that nationally-accepted scientific studies have demonstrated that animals are protected a minimum of 7 years after vaccination with the distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus-2 vaccines (see Page 12 AAHA 2003 Guidelines attached, and Table 1, Pages 3 and 4).
"My own pets are vaccinated once or twice as pups and kittens, then never again except for rabies,” Wall Street Journal reporter Rhonda L. Rundle quoted Dr. Ronald Schultz in a July 31, 2002 article entitled Annual Pet Vaccinations may be Unnecessary, Fatal (Attachment 2). Dr. Schultz knows something the pet-owning public doesn’t – he knows there’s no benefit in overvaccinating animals because immunity is not enhanced, but the risk of harmful adverse reactions is increased. He also knows that most core veterinary vaccines are protective for at least seven years, if not for the lifetime of the animal.
The first entry under Appendix 2 of the AAHA Guidelines (Attachment 7) “Important Vaccination ‘Do’s and Don’ts” is “Do Not Vaccinate Needlessly – Don’t revaccinate more often than is needed and only with the vaccines that prevent diseases for which that animal is at risk.” They also caution veterinarians: “Do Not Assume that Vaccines Cannot Harm a Patient – Vaccines are potent medically active agents and have the very real potential of producing adverse events.” Very few pet owners have had this disclosed to them.
The AVMA’s Principles of Vaccination (Attachment 6) states that “Unnecessary stimulation of the immune system does not result in enhanced disease resistance, and may increase the risk of adverse post-vaccination events.” (page 2) They elaborate by reporting that: “Possible adverse events include failure to immunize, anaphylaxis, immunosuppression, autoimmune disorders, transient infections, and/or long-term infected carrier states. In addition, a causal association in cats between injection sites and the subsequent development of a malignant tumor is the subject of ongoing research.”(Page 2)
Referring to adverse reactions from vaccines, the Wall Street Journal article cited above (Attachment 2) reports: “In cats there has been a large increase in hyperthyroidism and cancerous tumors between the shoulder blades where vaccines typically are injected.” With modified live virus vaccines (distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis), some animals can actually contract the same disease which they are being inoculated against. If the public knew an animal’s immunity to disease is not increased by overvaccination, they would certainly not consent to expose their pets to potential harm by giving them excessive booster shots
Veterinary vaccines are potent biologic drugs – most having proven durations of immunity much longer than the annual, biennial or triennial booster frequencies recommended by vaccine manufacturers and veterinarians. They also carry the very real risk of serious adverse side affects and should not be administered more often than necessary to maintain immunity.
The extended durations of immunity for vaccines is not “new” or “recent” science as some members of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) have claimed. AAHA reveals on Page 2 of their Guidelines that ideal reduced vaccination protocols were recommended by vaccinology experts beginning in 1978. A Veterinary Practice News article entitled “Managing Vaccine Changes” (Attachment 3)
Kris Christine Testimony LD 429
by veterinarian Dennis M. McCurnin, reports that: “Change has been discussed for the past 15 years and now has started to move across the country
According to a September 1, 2004 article in the DVM veterinary news magazine (Attachment 1), the 312 member Maine Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) “champions full disclosure of vaccine information to pet owners.” MVMA president, Dr. Bill Bryant, is quoted as stating: “Its time for something like this to come out … disclosure forms will be an important resource to have available, [and] if it goes before the Legislature, we’d likely support it.”
It is time. Pet owners have the right to know the scientifically proven durations of immunity for the veterinary vaccines given their animals, as well as the potential adverse side effects and benefits. LD 429 would make that standardized information available to all pet owners.
Kris L. Christine
Alna, ME 04535
|Hearing on Pet Vaccine Disclosure Forms Draws a Big Crowd|
|By Kay Liss|
|A hearing on a proposal to require veterinarians to provide to pet owners disclosure forms on vaccines was standing-room-only on Monday in Augusta. Comments were fairly equally divided, with citizens in support on one hand and veterinarians opposed on the other.|
The proposed act is the latest effort spearheaded by Kris Christine of Alna to correct what she views as flaws in state laws regarding the administering of vaccines to pets, dogs in particular.
She recently was successful in bringing enough attention to discrepancies in canine rabies vaccination rules, which resulted in over-vaccination of dogs in Maine for 17 years, that the law was changed, extending the administering of inoculations from two to three years. Language exempting sick dogs from the requirement is soon to be added, due to the persistence of the Alna mother and dog owner.
This new proposal, initially championed by former Senator Chris Hall of Bristol, and presently by Rep. Peter Rines (D-Wiscasset), is an important next step, Christine believes, providing pet owners with scientifically-based information on which to make decisions on other routinely-given canine vaccines, specifically the distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis booster shot, recommended annually by vets. In her research into the rabies vaccines issue, she came upon information that suggested this booster vaccine was protective for much longer than a year.
First to speak to the Agriculture, Conservation and Forest Committee at the hearing, Christine began: “Many Maine veterinarians have failed to inform clients that most core veterinary vaccines protect for seven or more years, and pet owners, unaware that their animals don’t need booster vaccinations more often, have unwittingly given their companions useless booster shots – taking an unnecessary toll on their finances and animals’ health.”
Her testimony was bolstered by information from various authoritative sources, including Dr. Ronald Schultz, a leading researcher and authority on veterinary vaccine. His studies formed the scientific basis of the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) 2003 Canine Vaccine Guidelines, Recommendations, and Supporting Literature, which stated: “We now know that booster injections are of no value in dogs already immune, and immunity from distemper infection and vaccination lasts for a minimum of 7 years based on challenge studies and up to 15 years (a lifetime) based on antibody titer.”
In the American Veterinarian Medical Association’s Principles of Vaccination literature, Christine further quoted, “Unnecessary stimulation of the immune system does not result in enhanced disease resistance, and may increase the risk of adverse post-vaccination events” including “autoimmune disorders, transient infections, and/or long-term infected carrier states. In addition, a causal association in cats between injection sites and the subsequent development of a malignant tumor is the subject of ongoing research.”
Speaking in support of the bill, a social worker from Warren, Jennifer Pearson, said she was “baffled” by the resistance of the veterinarians to the disclosure forms. Just as peoples’ rights are recognized to know the risks and benefits of drugs they take, so should the rights of pet owners be recognized in the vaccines recommended for their animals.
Arnold Woolf, a dog breeder from Lewiston and an AKC judge, testified that the disclosure forms would provide a “safeguard” to dogs and cats. He added that he didn’t see why supplying such a disclosure form should be a burden to vets, since pharmacists supply consumers a print-out of the pros and cons of drug they purchase without any trouble. Another breeder, Kay Sukforth of Sukee Kennels in Warren, commented that she thought the vets should welcome such a form, because it would protect them from possible lawsuits.
Dr. Bill Bryant, past president of the Maine Veterinarians Medical Association (MVMA), testified that vaccine protocols were in a “period of transition” and that the science is so complex and in a state of flux that it would be too difficult to provide a reliable and simple disclosure form. He said he didn’t want to turn “our profession” into managed care. He also accused the Christines of carrying on a negative campaign against the veterinarian community.
When asked by a number of legislators why he had previously said he was in favor of the disclosure form legislation, having stated in a Veterinary News magazine article “It’s time for something like this to come out … disclosure forms will be an important resource to have available, [and] if it goes before the Legislature, we’d likely support it,” Bryant appeared hardpressed to explain. He did agree a usable form might be devised but did not support it being devised by a legislative committee but by veterinarian associations.
Other veterinarians claimed they were already giving their clients information about vaccines so didn’t need to provide disclosure forms. A number claimed to be just like “James Herriot,” the well-known veterinarian and author of “All Creatures Great and Small” who has become a symbol of the ideal, trustworthy vet.
A supporter of the forms, Laura Moon of Brunswick, appeared with her Jack Russell Terrier, who had a large tumor on its side. She urged legislators to pass a law so that people would have more knowledge of vaccines, and that possible side-effects of such vaccines might be avoided.
Legislators will convene a work session on the bill in about two weeks. The act would be the first of its kind in the nation.
|From the Legislature|
|By Sen. Dana Dow|
2. Pet Vaccines: There is a great deal of interest by pet owners in supporting a bill which would require veterinarians to give dog owners vaccines information before vaccines are given. I have co-sponsored this bill with Rep. Peter Rines of Wiscasset. My only concern lies with what information would be in the required handout. I am not a scientist, but having been a chemistry and physics teacher, I am used to working and teaching about scientific data and research. At this time the on-going research leads me to believe that this is not a black and white issue, but a gray area. Whether your dog is a house dog with little contact with others or a hunting dog, your best bet is always a conversation with your local veterinarian. I found them to be very informative on this subject.
May my beloved partner ROMI rest in peace - no matter wherever her bits and pieces/frozen carcass may be held hostage.
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