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SB 02-206, sponsored by Senator Hernandez, would add hepatitis A vaccine to the list of required immunizations for children entering kindergarten on or after Sept. 1, 2003.  This proposal should NOT be approved by the legislature for many reasons.

·        Colorado already requires up to 36 doses of vaccine for 11 different diseases for school age children (includes 4 doses of pneumococcal vaccine). (3)  Does Colorado intend to mandate every new vaccine?

·        In children less than 6 years of age, most infections (70%) are asymptomatic; if illness does occur, it is not usually accompanied by jaundice. (1) Why vaccinate children for hepatitis A when it is so mild and most won’t even show symptoms? 

·        HAV infection is acquired primarily by the fecal-oral route by either person-to-person contact or ingestion of contaminated food or water. (1) Why vaccinate all children when hepatitis A can be prevented with good hygiene? 

·        Both Havrix and VAQTA Hepatitis A Vaccine are grown in the MRC5 human diploid cell line that originated from an aborted baby and contains DNA and residual MRC5 cellular proteins. (7)(8) Why mandate a vaccine that will cause a moral dilemma for many parents? 

·        Only 10 Colorado Counties had reported cases of hepatitis A of >20 per 100,000 people between 1987 and 1997 and 6 counties reported no cases. (6) Why a mandate for counties with zero or low reported hepatitis A cases?

·        Several studies are being conducted among infants and young children to evaluate whether simultaneous administration of hepatitis A vaccine with DTP, DTaP, Hib, hepatitis B, MMR, and oral and inactivated poliovirus vaccines affects the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of these vaccines. (1) Colorado legislators should request copies of these studies, if they have been completed, before making a decision on SB 206.

·        Two out of three children are denied federal compensation for vaccine injuries (4) and The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program does not even cover hepatitis A vaccine. (9) Does Colorado plan to take full responsibility for any damage caused to children by this vaccine?

·        More than 2,500 hepatitis A vaccine adverse events have been reported to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) since 1996 and it is estimated that less than 10 percent and possibly less than one percent of all doctors report serious health problems that follow vaccination. (4) Most parents will never know this. 

·        In populations that have expected high rates of prior HAV infection, prevaccination testing may be considered to reduce costs by not vaccinating persons who have prior immunity. (1) Will Colorado test for prior immunity before vaccinating all the children?

·        Persons at Increased Risk for Hepatitis A Virus are: Persons traveling to or working in countries that have high or intermediate endemicity of infection; men who have sex with men; illegal-drug users; persons who have occupational risk for infection; and persons who have clotting-factor disorders. (1) The Colorado Legislature should not place the burden of attempting to control another disease that primarily affects adults on Colorado children.  

·        Vaqta Hepatitis A Vaccine manufactured by Merck and Co., Inc. currently has a recall. (2) How often does this happen?


·        Even though Colorado allows exemptions for any or all vaccines for medical, religious, or personal reasons, parents are still told by individual schools that they must have all shots to register. (11) The legislature should consider a proposal to enforce the requirement that schools inform parents of their rights.

·        Pneumococcal vaccine, which was mandated in CO last May and will go into effect July 2002, was given approval by the FDA with many requirements for post-licensure study including evaluating less common adverse events in children who will receive doses of Pneumococcal 7-valent Conjugate Vaccine concomitantly with routinely recommended childhood vaccines, e.g., DTaP, HIB, IPV and hepatitis B vaccine. (10) Colorado legislators need to find out if these studies have been done and if any studies with the addition of hepatitis A vaccine to the schedule will be done.

·        In her recent testimony before the California Senate, Barbara Loe Fisher said,  “Before we go any further and mandate one more vaccine for daycare or kindergarten entry – whether it is Prevnar or hepatitis A or some other vaccine – we had better find out if the repeated manipulation of the immune system with lab altered viruses and bacteria adulterated with mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde and other toxins, which are administered to our babies from birth through the first five years of life when the brain and immune system is developing at its most rapid rate, is contributing to these skyrocketing increases in chronic illness in our children.” (4), Hepatitis A vaccine contains aluminum, phenoxyethanol, bovine albumin, and formaldehyde (7). 

·        Vaccine for Children Program and the Colorado Immunization Program makes Hepatitis A vaccine available to anyone who asks for it. According to former CO Chief Medical Officer Richard Hoffman, arrangements have been made through the VFC program to deliver Hepatitis A vaccine to indigent children in all areas of the state. (5) Why a mandate when the vaccine is already available to those who want it? 

·        It costs $45.00 to immunize a child against hepatitis A and the birth cohort times that number equals about $2.2 million per year.  This is not cost effective to prevent nine hospitalizations over the past two years at a cost of $9,000. (5) Page 16. Why require a mandate that is not cost effective when Colorado has a health insurance affordability crisis?

(1) Prevention of Hepatitis A Through Active or Passive Immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.                                     (2) (3)   (4) (5)   (6)             (7)  -  -   (8)                              (9)                                                                                    (10) Click here: CBER, Approval letter, Pneumococcal 7-valent Conjugate Vaccine (Diphtheria CM<sub>197</sub> Protein),"Prevnar," fo                                                (11) Information given out by individual schools varies.  Some schools comply with CRS 25-4-903 (4) which requires them to inform parents of their rights and some do not. 


Information compiled by Cindy Loveland,



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