Archive for the ‘Massachussetts’ Category

Key amendments regarding civil liberty leads up to House approval, vote 113-36


“[House Chairman] Sanchez said the House version of the bill eliminates some of the more contentious parts approved in April by the Senate including sections placing restrictions on the right to public assembly and allowing the arrest of individuals without warrant.

The Senate bill would also allow the government to mandate vaccinations or place into isolation anyone who refused to be vaccinated — a provision that was eliminated from the House version.”



BOSTON –Public health officials would have the power to isolate individuals and order quarantines to contain the outbreak of serious contagious diseases under a bill approved by the Massachusetts House on Thursday.

Supporters say that while the bill has been in the works for years, the emergence of swine flu shows the importance of having laws on the books to deal with public health crises. Critics say the bill gives the government too much power.

The bill, approved by a 113-36 vote, is designed to clarify the authority of government and the rights of citizens in the case of a public health crisis. Backers say under existing law there are few checks on the power of government once the governor declares a health emergency.

“The bill strikes that balance between protecting the community in the case of an emergency but also protecting the civil liberties of individuals,” said Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, D-Boston, House chairman of the Committee on Public Health.

Sanchez said the House version of the bill eliminates some of the more contentious parts approved in April by the Senate including sections placing restrictions on the right to public assembly and allowing the arrest of individuals without warrant.

The Senate bill would also allow the government to mandate vaccinations or place into isolation anyone who refused to be vaccinated — a provision that was eliminated from the House version.

“This bill does not change the law to force people to be vaccinated,” Sanchez said.

The bill spells out the authority of the public health commissioner once an emergency is declared — including the power to force the evacuation of public buildings and order health care facilities to provide services to those sickened.

The bill would also let the commissioner limit public access to contaminated areas, adopt measures to safely dispose of infection waste, and store and distribute antitoxins, serums, vaccines and antibiotics.

One of the most contentious parts of the bill would give public health officials the authority to force individuals or groups into isolation or quarantine when there is “reasonable cause to believe that a disease or condition dangerous to the public health exists or may exist or that there is an immediate risk of an outbreak.”

The isolation or quarantine order can be made orally as long as it is followed by a written order. The bill allows those in quarantine to appeal to a Superior Court judge. It also bars employers from firing workers because of a quarantine order.

Rep. Todd Smola, R-Palmer, said he heard from dozens of constituents worried about the Senate version of the bill.

He said there wasn’t enough time to study the changes in the House version, which he said still gives too much power to the commissioner of public health.

“People have enough concerns right now relative to government control invading in their personal space and in their personal lives,” he said.

Other parts of the bill are designed to send up early warning signs of a potential outbreak, including requiring pharmacists to report increased prescription rates or unusual types of prescriptions.

Public health officials would also be allowed to obtain medical records to try to investigate or monitor an outbreak, provided that the medical records remain confidential.

The public health emergency would end whenever the governor says it is over or 90 days after it was first declared, whichever comes first.

The compromise version of both bills must now be worked out.


BTC Exclusive
Most H1N1 flu vaccination will be made available sometime during October in the U.S.


We spoke with Bob Dwyer, a district coordinator and citizen advocate for the Liberty Preservation Association of Massachussetts (Mass LPA) to update us on the status of S.2028. The bill is currently still in the Ways and Means committee. MASS LPA is composed of grassroots citizen advocates who are confronting their local lawmakers about the Constitutionality of S.2028. We asked him about his organization’s recent actions and the effort to stop Massachussetts from becoming a precedent setting state for both pandemic tracking and mandatory administration of a flu vaccine. Dwyers group organized to confront State legislators on issues of Constitutionality. They interpret S.2028 to be a mandatory or coercive vaccination law for their state.


We learned earlier, S.2028, potentially would criminalize State citizens for not taking the flu shot with imprisonment and fines of up to $1000 a day. In addition to taking time out to speak to us about the bill and local opposition to the mandates.

Dwyer explained that the State of Massachusetts is distributing 2 types of flu shot: a seasonal flu shot which has been tested extensively and the H1N1 flu shot. The Sanofi-Pasteur Fluzone seasonal Flu shot, expected to be distributed nationally in October, contains the poisonous and damaging natural element, Mercury or mercury derivatives and the H1N1 virus itself. We will be asking the makers of these H1N1 vaccines if they have started adding a nano technology developed by VeriChip to vaccines distributed to hospitals in the United States for intended injection during flu season.

If you have taken this brand of flu vaccine and are suffering from symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome(GBS), which attacks the nervous system and afflicts basic motor functions, please call 1-800-VACCINE. GBS has no known cure, but symptoms can be lessened with treatment.

UPDATE 9/24 11:00 AM CST : The bill, sponsored by a local Senator Richard Moore, is still in the House Ways & Means Committee in Massachussetts.

According to this news report Tuesday, it appears S.2028, Massachussetts flu vaccine bill is on the Governor’s desk. The State law is considered unconstitutional by Judge Napolitano.

This report conflicts with Massachussetts ACLU, who reported the bill has not passed both chambers, Thursday 9/23.


BTC – We spoke with Boston Globe city reporter Stephen Smith yesterday to update information about current innoculation programs. The story to follow was published 11/28/08 – last year. The information, after checking with the Boston Public Health Commission’s, Ann Scales, is still current and factually sound. We are now in the process of requesting a photo from EMS of current inocculation bracelets given to those accepting voluntary swine flu shots. According to Scales, they do not have an RFID tag in them.

4:00 PM CST 9/17 UPDATE From Boston Emergency Management Services or EMS
We spoke this afternoon to Jennifer Mehigan of Boston EMS to find out more about H1N1 and the existence of permanent innoculation bracelets given to those who come for vaccines. The picture is the actual immunization record given to those who voluntarily receive the flu shot. As you can plainly see, it is not a metal “shackle” containing an RFID tag and is not required or even implied by local law to be a permanent fixture for the patient.
She mentioned that a bracelet containing an RFID tag had been up for consideration for low fatality outbreaks. The local government decided on a barcode system of data management to track a patient after they have been vaccinated. The current system is being used during flu seasons to test it’s effectiveness to track lethal pandemic outbreaks declared as federal emergencies. According to Mehigan, the H1N1 virus or swine flu does not currently possess the threat level necessary to require FEMA’s assistance in identifying vaccine recipients. FEMA has more direct understanding of federal bracelet systems and disaster readiness programs in those cases.
Simply put, when we say “patient tracking,” what we really mean is vaccination tracking. When a resident gets a flu vaccine through BPHC, they will receive a barcode number on a sticker either attached to a bracelet or a vaccination card. The barcode tracks where the vaccine has gone and tracks the patient through the number and not their name,” says Mehigan of Boston EMS Communications.

The State of Massachusetts attracted national news attention recently over legislation which has passed at least one chamber to require citizens to take the H1N1 vaccine or be fined up to $1000 a day until providing proof of inocculation. The State legislation has since drawn intense criticism since that time.

Boston.com c/o Stephen Smith

When people arrive for their shots, they will get an ID bracelet with a barcode. Next, basic information – name, age, gender, address – will be entered into the patient tracking database. There will be electronic records, too, of who gave the vaccine and whether it was injected into the right arm or the left, and time-stamped for that day.

(BOSTON)–Using technology originally developed for mass disasters, Boston disease trackers are embarking on a novel experiment – one of the first in the country – aimed at eventually creating a citywide registry of everyone who has had a flu vaccination.

The resulting vaccination map would allow swift intervention in neighborhoods left vulnerable to the fast-moving respiratory illness.

The trial starts this afternoon, when several hundred people are expected to queue up for immunizations at the headquarters of the Boston Public Health Commission. Each of them will get a bracelet printed with a unique identifier code. Information about the vaccine’s recipients, and the shot, will be entered into handheld devices similar to those used by delivery truck drivers.

Boston is believed to be the first city to embrace this particular approach to tracking vaccinations against the seasonal flu, estimated to kill 36,000 people each year in the United States, principally the elderly.

When people arrive for their shots, they will get an ID bracelet with a barcode. Next, basic information – name, age, gender, address – will be entered into the patient tracking database. There will be electronic records, too, of who gave the vaccine and whether it was injected into the right arm or the left, and time-stamped for that day.

The resulting trove of data could be used to figure out why some patients had to wait longer than others to be vaccinated. “When all is said and done,” said Jun Davantes, director of product management at EMSystems, the company that makes the technology, “Boston will be able to identify where there are certain bottlenecks in the process and hopefully improve it the next time around.”

Ultimately, city health authorities said, they envision creating a network across the city that would allow public and private providers of flu shots to add data to a registry.

But acknowledging patients’ privacy concerns, officials promised that if a citywide system were implemented, only a limited amount of information would be gathered – all sitting behind an encrypted firewall.

“I have had people say, ‘Oh, that’s so big brother,’ ” said Laura Williams, EMS deputy chief of staff. “But in truth, the unique identifier is unique to the incident. It’s not like you will go to the hospital, and they’ll say, ‘You’re the one who got the flu vaccine at 10 o’clock yesterday at the Boston Public Health Commission.’ “

Stephen Smith can be reached at stsmith@globe.com