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Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto

Note: also sent to The Honorable Cindy Noe and The Honorable Frank O'Bannon

February 5, 2003

The Honorable David Orentlicher
State House #336
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Dr. Orentlicher:

The Association of American Physicians (AAPS) supports HB 01973, the Model Vaccination Notification Bill.

AAPS, founded in 1943, represents thousands of physicians in all specialties nationwide.

Like many medical interventions, vaccines sometimes have adverse consequences. Both the risk and the potential benefit vary widely in individual patients and under changing circumstances. Patients should have access to full and open disclosure regarding the disease, the vaccine, and potential alternatives to the vaccine (such as exclusion from school in the event of an outbreak).

Vaccines are known to kill or cause severe lifelong disability in a small percentage of individuals. Susceptibility to serious adverse reactions may be hereditary, or associated with other medical conditions. Patients, their parents, and their personal physicians are in the best position to know whether they should decline a particular vaccine. That is why it is imperative that individuals, consulting with their own physicians, retain the right to refuse a particular vaccine or all vaccines.

Patients have the right to refuse other medical treatments. In fact, to perform a medical procedure on a patient without informed consent is in most other circumstances an assault. Exceptions for reasons of public health ordinarily require the presence of a clear, immediate, serious risk, such as a disease like active tuberculosis or smallpox that can be spread on casual contact.

Public health considerations that require isolation of individuals with a contagious condition are uncommon. When required, such isolation should be done in the least intrusive manner possible, with respect for individual rights and with care not to place patients involuntarily in dangerous environments, as by forcing unimmunized individuals into contact with patients who may be infectious. Nor should children be forcibly separated from their parents.

There has been a regrettable tendency to mandate vaccines that have not been adequately tested or that have an unacceptable rate of side effects. Sometimes this occurs at the recommendation of expert committees that may be compromised by conflicts of interest. This delays or obstructs the development of safer vaccines, discredits vaccines and public health authority in general, and in some case shocks the conscience.

The ultimate protection against error by central authorities - and potential liability for legislators - is the right of patients to make their own decisions.

Past testimony on issues related to mandatory vaccines are posted on our website, under "vaccines." I would be happy to respond to any questions that you might have.

Sincerely yours,

Jane M. Orient, M.D., F.A.C.P.