Did this man deliberately give false and misleading information to the Virginia State Assembly to support the removal of religious exemptions to vaccines in Virginia? Image from LinkedIn.
by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Stephen Weiss made a presentation on vaccines to the Virginia General Assembly’s Healthy Living Health Services Subcommittee meeting on Aug. 3, 2016 in Richmond, VA. He showed a series of slides that he used to support his position to enact legislation in 2017 to eliminate the religious vaccine exemption and restrict the medical exemption to narrow federal (CDC) vaccine contraindications.
Was the information he presented accurate?
Mr. Weiss is employed in government administration as a Senior Health Policy Analyst, according to his LinkedIn profile. His educational background is in government, and he apparently has no education or experience in practicing medicine.
Virgina Doctor Responds to Stephen Weiss’ Inaccurate Facts
Dr. Suzanne Humphries is a medical doctor, board certified in Nephrology and trained in Internal Medicine, holding active unrestricted medical licenses in Maine and Virginia. She also has a degree in physics, and spent two years in a laboratory using techniques identical to those used for vaccine manufacture and testing.
Dr. Humphries left a thriving medical practice where she was well-respected by her peers to pursue medical research, particularly research on vaccines. She wrote a book documenting her research on vaccines: Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History
As a nephrologist (kidney doctor) who formerly administered all vaccines to her patients, she saw first hand the damage that vaccines were causing some of her patients. But when she tried to address vaccine safety issues, she was attacked and ridiculed. Her story is documented in her latest book, Rising From the Dead.
Dr. Humphries has sent a response to Stephen Weiss’ slide presentation given to the Virginia Assembly, highlighting the erroneous information regarding vaccines and public health that was presented to support removing the religious exemption to vaccines in Virginia. In her introduction she wrote:
The claim by Mr. Weiss and the representative for Voices for Vaccines is that the religious exemption rate is growing, and fraudulent because the people taking the exemption are not “really sincerely religious”. This claim ignores that fact that Virginia law historically protects freedom of conscience—not just religion.
There is specific protection of freedom of thought, conscience and religion in the Act for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson and reaffirmed by the General Assembly in 2007, and those human rights are also acknowledged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the UN in 1948. Virginia law requires “no test” of religious beliefs to exercise civil rights. Any change to this law is a privacy violation.
Some highlights of Dr. Humphries’ letter to Virginia Legislators:
Stephen Weiss Misrepresents Current Virginia Vaccine Rates
Raw data from Weiss’ own slide presentation showing Virginia already has a high rate of vaccination, well above medical definitions of “herd immunity.”
While the raw data on Mr. Weiss’ slide #48 shows that Virginia already has a high rate of vaccination, well above medical definitions of “herd immunity,” Dr. Humphries shows that the following slides cherry-picked data to try and support the belief that immunization rates were low among kindergartners. She notes how Mr. Weiss selected 13 kindergartens with 1262 children, among whom only 8 had religious exemptions to try and make his point. Dr. Humphries asks:
Why are 8 children attending school with religious exemptions a problem?
Mr. Weiss appears to have arrived at the “adequately immunized” percentages by going through all the kindergartens and cherry picking the kindergartens with either the lowest student numbers and highest number of conditional enrollments, or the highest number of students without records and low numbers of students, to manipulate the data to inflate percentages to make you think there is a problem.
There is a data problem, but the problem is the way Mr. Weiss has presented the data to you.
Mr. Weiss Misrepresents Other State Vaccine Laws
Mr. Weiss highlights states that have recently enacted legislation regarding vaccine policy, and emphasizes California which recently passed legislation to remove the religious exemption to vaccines.
However, he fails to mention how many more states considered legislation to restrict vaccine exemptions or make vaccines mandatory, where such legislation was resoundingly rejected by the public. This includes: Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, among others.
California became the first state to remove the religious exemption to vaccines, joining only Mississippi and West Virginia as states that do not allow a religious exemption to vaccines (these two states apparently never had such an exemption). This bill was passed in California in spite of the fact that an overwhelming percentage of the population opposed the bill, and it is now part of a federal lawsuit.
Since the California law has just passed and there is no data to compare children health outcomes from before or after the bill went into effect, any legislator considering removing vaccine exemptions should look at the health data of children in Mississippi and West Virginia, boasting the highest rates of vaccination, and see if these are health statistics that they would like to see in their state. See:
Mr. Weiss Misrepresents the History and Science Behind Vaccines
Dr. Humphries’ letter mostly covers the history and science behind vaccines, noting that her knowledge as a medical doctor and research scientist has led her to years of research on this topic, while Mr. Weiss merely copies and pastes industry standard dogma without truly understanding the science.
Dr. Humphries points out many errors in the data of Mr. Weiss’ slide presentation, including:
- history and science behind the small pox vaccine
- vaccine manufacturing
- natural versus vaccine immunity
- placebos in vaccine research
- VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) reporting
- metals and contaminants in vaccines
- herd immunity
Dr. Humphries’ letter is a very thorough and exhaustive treatment of these subjects, well documented and backed by scientific research and graphs.
Dr. Humphries entire letter to Virginia Legislators can be read here.
Contact Virginia Legislators and Demand that they Read Dr. Humphries’ Letter
Register online (FREE) to receive updates from your state regarding protecting your right to informed consent to vaccination! Sign up for alerts from your state so you can take action when bureaucrats or health officials try to take away your rights to refuse vaccines!
But will Virginia legislators read Dr. Humphries letter before acting on legislation that will have such a huge impact on the residents of Virginia? Please contact these legislators and demand that they read Dr. Humphries’ letter.
The National Vaccine Information Center has a portal for citizens to track proposed vaccine legislation that can be accessed here.
This is their current information regarding Virginia:
Written Comments Needed Now to Save Virginia Vaccine Exemptions
|Action Alert Instructions|
Dear NVIC Virginia Advocacy Team Members and Freedom Fighter Friends,
Our strong turnout of 500 people in Richmond on August 3, sent a huge message to legislators, but our work has only begun. The Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) issued a report, “School Vaccination Requirements in the Commonwealth,” in response to legislation that was introduced and removed in the 2016 legislative session. The bill, HB 1342, would have eliminated the religious exemption and narrowly defined the medical exemption.
As informed consumers, none of us agree with the report. It is not a neutral examination of the “pros and cons” of removing the religious vaccine exemption and restricting the medical exemption in consideration of VA law or current VA vaccine exemption and vaccine coverage statistics. Instead, the report reads like a global vaccine use promotion tool because it basically follows the “party line” on vaccine effectiveness, safety and the need for “no exceptions” mandated use of government recommended vaccines.
At the end of the report there are 9 options that Delegates and Senators, who are members of the JCHC, will vote on this fall. These different options, which the JCHC is considering and will select from when making a recommendation to the legislature this fall, could very well decide whether or not Virginia legislators will choose to re-introduce another bill in January 2017. The record for public comment on the 9 options will be open until September 3, 2016.
We encourage everyone to send a strong message to the JCHC and to your own legislator to choose option 1 –TAKE NO ACTION. We need to stick to our message that freedom of religion and conscience is strongly protected in Virginia law and not get drawn into some of the other options, including the addition of a philosophical objection, which sounds tempting. You do not have to belong to an organized religion or church in Virginia to take the religious vaccine exemption because your right to hold personal religious beliefs is protected in the Commonwealth.
However, philosophical objection is not protected under the US Constitution like First Amendment rights that protect freedom of religion and conscience. A philosophical or personal belief vaccine exemption can easily be removed in the future with no legal protection for citizens (as happened in California last year).
Please take a few minutes and weigh in for your family with the JCHC and send a copy to your own legislator to keep him/her in the loop. You can find links to contact information for your legislator when you log into the NVIC Advocacy Portal http://NVICAdvocacy.org and click on your Virginia State Team page.
You do not need to be an expert on vaccine science and you do not need to rewrite the report. The legislators will not amend the report or revise it but they are interested in what you think about the law change options being considered. Again, NVIC supports Option #1 – TAKE NO ACTION (no change to the vaccine law)
Your public comment will be included in the count of how many members of the public make a comment and which option gets the most support. You can bet that pro-vaccine organizations are sending out alerts to their followers also. This is a very important count!
State legislators, who are elected to their positions, want their constituents to be happy. They know there are a lot of us who do not want ANY CHANGE to Virginia vaccine laws and exemptions. They must continue to know that we are not going to stop working to defend our civil liberties, including protecting freedom of conscience and religion in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Your written public comments on the proposed options may be submitted to the JCHC by close of business on September 3, 2016. Comments may be submitted via:
Mail: Joint Commission on Health Care
P.O. Box 1322
Richmond, VA 23218
Comments will be provided to Commission members and summarized and presented during JCHC’s September 7th meeting in Richmond.
Please forward a copy of your email and any responses you get in return to NVIC State Director for Virginia Kathi Williams at VADirector@NVICAdvocacy.org.
Write your letter, then mark your calendar for September 7, 2016. We need to be back in Richmond, in our RED shirts to defend our religious freedom in vaccination.
Barbara Loe Fisher’s referenced statement presented on Aug. 3 in Richmond can be viewed here.
A Talking Points paper is here.
The full JCHC report is posted at
with the 9 options listed on pages 58-59.
Your health, Your family, Your choice,
Kathi Williams, NVIC Co-Founder and Virginia State Director
National Vaccine Information Center
Comment on this article at VaccineImpact.com.
Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History
by Dr. Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk
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