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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2008 Natural Living Conference features Vaccination Topic

Date: September 3, 2008
Contact: Nancy Massotto, Ph.D., Executive Director, Holistic Moms Network
Tel: (877) HOL-MOMS

Vaccination: Featured Topic at 2008 Natural Living Conference

Event Scheduled for October 18th in Mahwah, NJ

(Caldwell, NJ) - As children head back to school this September, the debate about who should decide whether and when parents vaccinate their children continues to rage across the United States. As parents are becoming more educated about vaccines, they are increasingly concerned about the rising number of mandated vaccines - today, fully immunized children receive 69 doses of 16 vaccines by age 18. Parents are alarmed by the concurrent epidemic rates of childhood autism and learning disabilities. They are suspicious of the pharmaceutical industry's undue influence over vaccine policy, and more and more are asking tough questions of their pediatricians about vaccine safety. Some are choosing to stray from the recommended vaccination schedule and delay shots; others are opting out of vaccination altogether. According to a 2006Journal of the American Medical Association survey, the number of parents opting out of some or all of their state's required vaccines, for any stated reason, grew by 6% a year between 1991 and 2004 and rates have allegedly continued to climb since then.

This has groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) concerned. In June, the AAP met with 15 allied organizations in Illinois to discuss the growing refusal of parents to vaccinate their children. It is launching a group - the Immunization Alliance - to fight doubting parents in the media, on the internet and in pediatricians' offices. It even circulated a letter to its members encouraging them to refuse treatment to families who choose not to vaccinate.

"It is precisely because of the increasing number of mandated vaccines and strong-arming by states and groups like the AAP to force compliance with the mandates - despite rising rates of autism and side-effects after vaccination - that parents are asking more questions and wanting more choices," says Barbara Loe Fisher, President of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) - a non-profit organization advocating for vaccine safety and informed consent protections in the mass vaccination system. Fisher's oldest son was left with multiple learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder after a severe reaction to his fourth DPT shot in 1980 when he was two and a half years old.

And yet, an Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) Resolution concerning mandatory vaccines states that, "parents who exercise their freedom to refuse one or more vaccines may be subjected to penalties ranging from deprivation of the right to enroll their child in school, to threats of removing the child from parental custody and forcible vaccination."

In November 2007 in Maryland, then state attorney general Glenn Ivey issued a summons to more than 1600 parents of children who had not provided vaccination certificates. Despite having refused the hepatitis B vaccine for his own children, Ivey ordered parents to appear in Court to subject their children to on-the-spot mandated vaccines of up to 17 vaccine doses or face fines and imprisonment. AAPS's Executive Director Jane M. Orient said this procedure was "reckless [and improper medical practice that] subjected children to the risk of severe reactions."

Many doctors within the medical establishment have started to question the safety and efficacy of the current vaccination schedule. Pediatrician and TV personality Dr. Jay Gordon says, "I am very much opposed to the routine vaccination schedule in the U.S. There are too many vaccines given too early in a child's life and not enough information given to parents."

As the debate about vaccination heats up, the Holistic Moms Network – a national non-profit with 130 chapters across the country – will host NVIC Co-Founder, Barbara Loe Fisher as one of its Keynote Speakers at the Natural Living Conference. "By bringing parents and vaccine awareness professionals together at our Conference we are helping to educate parents and contribute to the debate about this important issue," says Dr. Nancy Massotto, Executive Director of the Holistic Moms Network.

The organization will hold its 5th annual Natural Living Conference and five-year anniversary celebration on Saturday, October 18th at the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel in Mahwah, New Jersey beginning at 8:30a.m. The event is expected to attract several hundred people as well as sponsors and exhibitors from across the country. With keynote presentations and breakout sessions on health and non-toxic living, and an Exhibit Hall featuring healthy and eco-friendly products and services, attendees will learn about the myriad ways in which they can improve their health and the environment. At the Conference, Fisher will discuss the issue of vaccines and their link to chronic illness.

"Knowledge is power. Parents can make educated vaccine decisions for their children by going online and getting information from the National Vaccine Information Center and the Holistic Moms Network," says Fisher. The Natural Living Conference is a great place to network with other parents who want to empower themselves and take action to protect the health and well being of their families."

Tickets to the Natural Living Conference are $100 for non-members before October 10th, and $110 at the door. Online registration is available at Lunch – with a vegetarian option – is included with the price of admission. Some Conference sponsors include Organic Valley, Happy Baby (organic baby foods), and Kiwi Magazine.

For more information, please contact HMN's Executive Director, Dr. Nancy Massotto at (877) HOL-MOMS.

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