ACIP: 2018-2019 Flu Vaccine 
44 Percent Effective 

By Theresa Wrangham
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research 


The February 2019 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) saw new committee members introduced and changes to public comment enacted. 

New Code of Conduct for ACIP Public Comment Sessions

ACIP changed their public comment rules for public meetings, due to the recent increase in individuals with concerns about vaccine safety and vaccine policies traveling to ACIP meetings to make a public comment. These changes include an increase to 75 minutes for public comment sessions noted on the agenda, and instituting a blind lottery when there are more individuals signed up to give comment than there is time. Written public comments will also now be published on the website.  

Influenza Vaccine Only 44 Percent Effective

CDC reported to ACIP that influenza infection activity during the U.S. 2018-2019 influenza season has been average with the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus continuing to cause most lab confirmed cases. Across many U.S. states, currently there is a very high rate of influenza-like-illness (ILI). However, typically about 80 percent of ILI during the flu season is due to respiratory infections caused by other types of viruses and bacteria. 

CDC interim estimates on the overall effectiveness of this season’s influenza vaccine is approximately 44 percent for all age groups.This means that, for the estimated 20 percent of Americans likely to become infected by type A or B influenza, the vaccine is only 44 percent effective.

NVIC In The News
Following is a selection of media articles published between Feb. 26 and Apr. 3, 2019 that include NVIC’s perspective or information.

Measles Outbreaks Lead States to Reconsider Vaccine Exemptions.
“Proponents of vaccine exemptions argue that parents should be able to make their own decisions regarding their children’s health. “We believe that stripping vaccine laws of personal belief exemptions is a violation of human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center.” The Hill Feb. 26, 2019. 

Exemption Debate.“A hundred cases of measles in a population of 320 million people does not constitute a public health emergency,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center. “[These cases] should not be used to justify eliminating the legal right to exercise informed consent to vaccination,” she told Axios. World Magazine Feb. 28, 2019.

States Move to Restrict Parents’ Refusal to Vaccinate Their Kids. “Nobody should sit in judgment of another person’s religious and spiritual beliefs,” says Barbara Loe Fisher, a spokesperson for the National Vaccine Information Center, a group that lobbies against mandatory vaccination and thinks parents should have a choice. “No person should be allowed to force someone to violate their conscience when they’re making a decision about the use of a pharmacological product that carries a risk of harm.” NPR Feb. 28, 2019.

As More Parents Join the Anti-Vax Movement, States Are Scrambling to Make It Harder to Opt Out of Vaccinating Your Child. “Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, one of the oldest and most well-established anti-vax groups, told INSIDER her organization is supporting more bills in the current legislative session than ever before – 61 out of 140 vaccine-related bills across 31 states. “There is no question there are more families than ever involved now,” she said. “This is a parental rights and human rights and civil liberties issue.” INSIDER Feb. 28, 2019.

State Lawmakers Pushing for Laxer Vaccine Rules Despite Measles Outbreaks. “Across the country, lawmakers have introduced more than 130 vaccine-related bills in over 30 states, at a pace that could set a new record, according to the National Vaccine Information Center, a vaccine-skeptical group that closely tracks vaccine legislation. The center said legislators filed 160 bills in 41 states during 2015, setting a record later broken by 2017’s 184 bills in 42 states… Barbara Loe Fisher, who founded the National Vaccine Information Center, contends the animosity about vaccines is “part of a larger culture war that’s going on in this country. It’s about the right to autonomy, the natural right to self determination. We have freedom of thought, freedom of religious belief.” Politico Mar. 3, 2019.

Even With Measles Outbreaks Across the U.S., At Least 20 States Have Proposed Anti-Vaccination Bills. “Barbara Loe Fisher is the co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, one of the leading organizations advocating for vaccination exemptions. The group tracks vaccine-related bills. And this year, there are more such bills that the center can get behind than there have been since it began closely monitoring state legislation in 2010, Fisher said. “There are a lot of legislators who are thoughtfully looking at this issue,” she said.

“The National Vaccine Information Center has lent its support to bills in Iowa and Hawaii that seek to add a conscientious belief exemption, according to its website. It’s also urging people in Arizona to support bills in the state House and Senate that would make it easier to get exemptions from vaccines and require doctors to provide information about the potential risks of vaccines…Fisher, of the National Vaccine Information Center, says her organization will keep pushing for vaccination exemption laws. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take to reform these vaccine policies and laws,” she said. “But I know that people are becoming involved, and they want to be part of vaccine policy.” CNN Mar. 6, 2019.
With Vaccine Misinformation, Libraries Walk A Fine Line.
“If Amazon is going to be leaned on by the government to censor certain kinds of information,” said Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, which advocates against mandatory vaccination, “then it could well extend at some point to cleansing the libraries of information that does not align with government policy or medical policy.” Undark Magazine Mar. 22, 2019. 

Pan’s Bill Would Further Restrict Vaccine Exemptions for Schoolkids. “Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) introduced SB 276 at a Sacramento news conference Tuesday. Pan, a pediatrician, says the bill would combat doctors fraudulently writing medical exemptions for children so they can attend schools. SB 276 opponent Barbara Loe Fisher the president and co-founder of the National Vaccine Information Center, opposes Pan’s legislation. “Under narrow federal vaccine guidelines, almost no health condition qualifies for a medical exemption. Since there is no longer a personal belief exemption allowed for children to attend school in California, the bill will pave the way for state health officials seeking a 100 percent vaccination rate to achieve that goal, but at what price?” Fisher told GV Wire via email. 
“She also expressed concern about government overreach. “Forcing physicians to violate their professional judgment and their conscience is a form of state-sponsored tyranny that should not be part of public health law in any state,” Fisher said.” GV Wire Mar. 26, 2019. 

Forcing Vaccination on Every Child Undermines Civil Liberties. In this essay, NVIC co-founder and president Barbara Loe Fisher addressed the question, “Where should society draw the line between requiring vaccinations for children and allowing parental freedom of choice?” She said, “Science is not perfect, doctors are not infallible, and medical interventions come with risks, which is why parents have the power to exercise informed consent to medical risk taking on behalf of their minor children” and added, “When parents question the risks and failures of a commercial pharmaceutical product being mandated for every child, the answer is not more force but better science and respect for the informed consent ethic.” A counterpoint view was provided by Dan Salmon, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University. Leaps Magazine Mar. 28, 2019. 

Some Lawmakers Support Vaccine Bill Amid Rockland’s Ongoing Measles Outbreak [in New York]. “The National Vaccine Information Center is a Virginia-based non-profit that supports the right for individuals to make informed, voluntary health choices for themselves and their children. NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher says the Rockland state of emergency is government overreach. “Is this the kind of public health emergency that warrants this kind of action? We’re not talking Ebola. People are not dying in the streets,” says Loe Fisher says. “This is a very serious precedent that’s being set.”   
“This is a human rights issues. It has to do with, whether or not in America we are going to have the right to autonomy, the right to exercise our conscience, our religious beliefs and our informed consent rights when it comes to using, in this case, a pharmaceutical product that is liability-free, as of 2011, and be able to make these decisions,” says Loe Fisher. “And NVIC will continue to defend civil liberties and the informed consent rights of Americans.” WAMC Radio (NPRMar. 28, 2019. 

There are nearly 400 reported cases of measles in the US. What are states doing about it? “Still, organizations like the National Vaccine Information Center can give the impression that parents are risking their kids’ lives by getting them vaccinated.President Barbara Loe Fisher said the NVIC, which she co-founded in 1982 under the name Dissatisfied Parents Together, merely advocates informed consent and does not make recommendations related to immunizations.Asked about the government’s duty to protect its citizens through public health policy, Fisher said: “Are you saying that a public health law that requires a certain minority of individuals to risk their lives, sacrifice their lives, for the rest is a moral law when they’re not given the choice of whether or not they’re going to participate in that sacrifice? That’s not a moral public-health law.”
“Fisher points out more than $4 billion has been paid out by the compensation program, but according to CDC figures, 3.4 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the U.S. from 2006 to 2017, and 4,250 compensated claims were adjudicated. That comes out to 1.25 paid claims for every million doses.
“Nevertheless, Fisher says the anti-vax movement will continue to grow, and she sees it as part of a fight for civil liberties. “Today everybody knows somebody who was healthy, got vaccinated and was never healthy again,” she said, “and that’s the reason this issue is not going to go away no matter what kind of laws and no matter what kind of censorship is applied.”
“Nate Smith, director of the Arkansas Department of Health, is among the NVIC’s many critics, calling it “an anti-vaccination group” and saying part of what makes organizations like it dangerous is they can appear to provide legitimate information. “Sometimes they present things in ways that are very reasonable, but then other times they make statements that are patently false,” Smith said. “So it’s very difficult for someone who doesn’t have a background in vaccination science or in public health to discern.” USA Today Apr. 3, 2019.

Vaccine Freedom Wall: Parent Reports Insurance Companies Bribing Pediatricians to Deny Care to Unvaccinated Kids

Post a report if you were bullied, threatened or punished by a doctor, government official or employer for making a vaccine choice on the Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall.

Following is a recent report posted on the Vaccine Freedom Wall in March 2019: 
“My children were seeing a pediatrician in Canton, MI. We had been traveling 25+ miles away because we had already been refused care at several pediatrician offices in the area, even though we have an approved state waiver for vaccinations. We had been seeing this pediatrician for over a year and the pediatrician accepted that we do not vaccinate. One day, we were at the pediatrician for a sick visit for one of my children and were told that [my children] could no longer be patients if we were not going to vaccinate. Per the pediatrician, the insurance companies were not going to pay her for the other patients if she did not have everyone in her practice vaccinated. How is that even legal? That is bribery.”

NVIC’s website provides visitors with many ways to access, report and share information about vaccination, including information about personal experiences with vaccine risks and failures. On, you can:

  •   File a vaccine reaction report describing a vaccine reaction, injury or death with NVIC’s 36-year old  Vaccine Reaction Registry.
  •   Post a vaccine reaction report describing a vaccine reaction, injury or death and include a photo or video on the online Memorial for Vaccine Victims.
  •   Post a vaccine failure report if a vaccine failed to protect you or your child from disease on the Vaccine Failure Wall.
Listen to NVIC Podcasts on
Vaccine Science, Policy & Law

You can take NVIC’s information with you and listen to commentaries on vaccine science, policy, law and informed consent at home, when exercising, commuting in your car or anywhere you have a cell phone or other electronic device that plays podcasts. The length of podcasts range from a few minutes to 75 minutes and the text of podcasts with references can be read on Download NVIC commentaries on podcast here.