Our State. Our Rights.
We have worked hard in Wisconsin to protect our right to choose what goes into our and our children’s bodies. But this battle is far from over. We MUST keep fighting for vaccine choice not only for our children, but for us as adults too.
5/27/21: AB 309 and Other Vaccine-Related Bills Get a Hearing
June 2 at 10am in 417 North (GAR Hall)
We Need YOU to Come!
There has never been a more urgent time than now to move a bill forward that prevents discrimination based on vaccination status. It is expected that the COVID-19 vaccination will receive full FDA approval sometime this summer. And with that, employers and businesses may begin mandating the COVID-19 vaccination. Two Wisconsin colleges already have announced they will require it for the start of their school year this fall. Extra-curricular sports organizations, entertainment venues, and others may also require it. And they legally would be able to UNLESS there is a law in place that prohibits that type of discrimination. The aim of AB309 is to do just that.
AB309 as well as several other vaccine-related bills (AB299, AB303, AB316, AB347) has been referred to the Committee on Constitution and Ethics and will receive a hearing on Wednesday, June 2nd at 10am. We need YOU to attend! Not just your friends. Not just your family members. Not just strangers. YOU! Even if you do not wish to speak, you can come and register in favor of these bills, and that will be recorded into the minutes.
Several of the committee members have already signed on as co-authors to bills that would protect vaccine choice and prevent vaccine discrimination, including:
- Rep. Wichgers (Chair)
- Rep. Thiesfeldt (Vice-Chair)
- Rep. Allen
- Rep. Ramthun
- Rep. Magnafici
- Rep. Murphy
However, there are three committee members who have not indicated that they support any of these bills, so we need you to reach out to them to ask that they vote in favor. This is ESPECIALLY important if you are a constituent (indicate this when contacting them). And if you are not, please pass this email along to family and friends who are. You can find your legislators here.Those committee members who need to hear from you include:
- Rep. Hebl: 608-266-7678; email@example.com
- Rep. Pope: 608-266-3520; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Cabrera: 608-266-1707; email@example.com
An additional step we encourage you to take between now and Wednesday is to start a petition in your community no matter where you live in Wisconsin in support of these bills and get as many citizens as possible to sign it. Then bring that petition to the hearing, and submit it to the clerk to be recorded into the minutes. This can be ESPECIALLY valuable if you live in the district of one of the three committee members who have not indicated whether they would support these bills.
We are expecting a high turnout on the day of the hearing, and it is possible that by the time it is your turn to speak, your testimony may feel like a repeat of what has already been said. If you wish to shorten your comments before the committee in order to save time, you may still email your full testimony to Bill Neville, the committee clerk, at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to pass your testimony on to the rest of the committee members. That way if one or more of the members are not present during your testimony or your time to speak is limited, they will still receive your full testimony.
We have included talking points below to help you draft your email and/or written testimony. Personal stories are going to mean more than any amount of statistics or facts, so please make those your focus if you have them. These might include but are not limited to:
- – Your employer indicating that they will mandate
- – Your child’s college indicating that they will mandate
- – Exclusion from sports or other extracurricular activities due to not being vaccinated
- – Discrimination already happening in your child’s classroom based on vaccination status
- – You or a family member chose to get one dose, had an adverse reaction, and decided not to get the second dose
Your testimony or email can be as brief as a couple sentences or as extensive as you’d like. The most important part is that you TAKE ACTION and remain respectful. Thank you so much for doing your part. It takes all of us! We hope to see you Wednesday!
Talking Points to Support Legislation to Prevent Discrimination and Segregation Over Vaccination and Immunity Status – AB309/SB336
It is vital for AB309/SB336 to become law in Wisconsin. This will ensure that law abiding healthy citizens are not prevented from working or participating in society. AB309/SB336 is a comprehensive bill that would prevent discrimination of any kind against persons who have chosen not to receive one or more vaccines.
The talk of vaccine passports for individuals to be permitted to participate in society are in development. Some states such as New York have already introduced a vaccine pass which would give COVID-19 vaccinated individuals special privileges. States like Oregon are demanding that businesses and places of worship check proof of vaccination status before permitting entry to people who are not wearing masks. Signs are appearing at Wisconsin businesses stating that unvaccinated people must wear masks to enter the premises. Once vaccine passports are permitted for one vaccine, it will be easy to add requirements for additional vaccines, including passports for current vaccines and even for future vaccines currently under development. While COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been the focus in recent months, it is important that protections are in place to ensure that individuals will not be discriminated against for declining any vaccine product. There are currently 20 different vaccines targeting viral and bacterial illnesses (not including the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2) on the CDC’s recommended adult vaccine schedule. These are all candidates for employers, businesses, and even insurance companies to require given the lack of current protection from such mandates.
There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will have any effect in terms of protecting people from getting the virus and spreading it. Vaccinated people are still being told to wear a mask and stay 6-feet apart from people because there is no evidence that the vaccine is capable of stopping the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Like COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines targeting pertussis, meningococcal, and other bacteria and viruses do not stop transmission, but rather, may offer only personal protection for a period of time. This means that while both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals could potentially be contagious, only unvaccinated individuals will be discriminated against, and prevented from equal access to education, services, employment and more.
Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and yet discrimination, bullying and shaming of persons who have chosen to forgo one of more vaccinations is becoming acceptable by many in the media, public health, and academia. There have been media stories calling for the addresses of unvaccinated families to be made public in order to target and shame them. Articles have included language encouraging people to “Shame and Shun “anti-vaccine” parents or asking that they be jailed if they choose not to fully vaccinate their children. Medical professionals are refusing to treat the children of parents who decide to decline, delay, or selectively vaccinate. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that it is an “acceptable option for pediatric care clinicians to dismiss families who refuse vaccines.” Anyone who questions the safety or effectiveness of a vaccine is labeled “anti-vaccine” and quickly becomes a target of bullying, shaming and discrimination.
While vaccine exemptions for medical, religious, or personal reasons are available to daycare, and K to 12 students (Chapter 252.04), and during a declared State of Emergency (Chapter 252.041), protections to prevent discrimination on the basis of a person’s vaccine status are lacking in Wisconsin. There are no employment protections, or protections to ensure access to housing, medical care, higher education, life or health insurance for persons who have chosen not to receive one or more vaccines in Wisconsin law.
There are currently no state or federal exceptions to protect employees from vaccine mandates for any of the existing vaccines recommended by the CDC for reasons of conscience objections or otherwise. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirms the legal right of an employer to exclude the employee from the workplace even if an employee cannot get vaccinated for COVID-19 or another vaccine because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief and there is no reasonable accommodation possible. The state will have to step in and protect employees’ right to delay or refuse vaccines. While the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allows employees to decline Hepatitis B Vaccines, and OSHA and many labor unions have expressed opposition to annual influenza vaccination policies that do not include religious and/or personal objection exemptions, there are far too many gaps in protection for employees to refuse vaccines for work. AB309/SB336 would ensure protection for all workers.
Individuals and parents may choose to exempt themselves or their children from vaccination for a number of reasons, which may include a previous serious reaction, vaccine injury of a loved one, or because they believe that the risk of harm outweighs any perceived benefit. They should not be banned from employment or participating in society for choosing not to receive a liability free pharmaceutical product.
All vaccines carry the risk of injury or death so there has to be informed consent and the right to refuse any vaccine without penalty. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has already paid out over $4.5 billion in damages. AB309/SB336 will ensure that individuals and families who have already been victims of vaccine injury are not unjustly discriminated against for declining to risk their life or health by receiving another vaccine product. People injured by a COVID-19 vaccine have little recourse. Vaccine manufacturers and providers are shielded from liability through the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, or PREP Act. This federal law establishes that the only option for compensation for COVID-19 vaccine victims is the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). Only eight percent of all petitioners since 2010 have been awarded compensation through the CICP. No legal or medical expert fees are covered, no pain and suffering is awarded, lost wages are capped at $50,000, and there is no judicial appeal. The fact that vaccine injuries and deaths related to vaccines are real, and persons who take them can potentially be harmed, vaccination must always be voluntary.
How You Can Get Involved
Contact Your Legislators
Your legislators can’t represent you if they don’t know what you want. Writing and calling are effective ways to communicate your desires. While it is more difficult to meet in person during this time, in-district appointments or even Zoom appointments may be possible. Don’t know who your legislators are? Enter your address here to find out!
If you are new to learning about vaccines, it can feel overwhelming trying to figure out who to trust and where to find good, reliable information. The National Vaccine Information Center is a great place to start. You will find tons of information ranging from questions to ask your doctor, benefits and risks of each vaccine, and so much more.
Tell Your Family and Friends
Many people are unaware of how they can get involved and/or wonder if their voice even matters. We are here to tell you that it absolutely does! And the more voices there are speaking up, the bigger impact we will have. We urge you to directly reach out to your family and friends who value their freedom, and help them get involved.
What We Do
We are actively involved in working with Wisconsin legislators to preserve our right as parents to choose which vaccines our children receive. Further, we aim to prevent employment, health insurance, or any other discrimination against adults who choose to forego one or more vaccinations.
Vaccine Choice Wisconsin is dedicated to ensuring that vaccination is always a choice for Wisconsinites from conception to their final heartbeat.
Become an Ally. Get Involved.
If you believe that your right to choose which vaccines get injected into your body is a fundamental freedom, it is time to step up. We can’t be silent any longer. We can’t rely on someone else to do the fighting for us. It takes every single one of us to help in whatever way we can, whether it be financially, calling, writing, or visiting your legislators, getting your family and friends involved or all of the above. The time is now Wisconsin!