Top 5 Myths Busted about the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act

HR 550 is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

We’ve heard the term disinformation before. The Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act, HR 550 is swimming in it. After sending out our last campaign to make people aware and activated about this bad bill, we received a ton of feedback from Advocates hearing back from lawmakers who supported the bill. The talking points were eerily the same. They also claim the opposite of plain language in this bill, like Orwellian Newspeak.

Before we dig into myth-busting this bill, it’s important to understand what the Immunization Infrastructure is. In short, it is the bones upon which a vaccine mandate could rest. An infrastructure ties together physical or digital components to create a framework and support system for an end goal. A common example would be a highway system—individual roads across states would be strengthened or built to combine into a seamless system for travel through the entire country. An infrastructure creates relationships between separate systems, like the Constitution did for our Colonies. When stakeholders like politicians and corporate philanthropists or contractors discuss the “immunization infrastructure,” as this bill is titled, they are talking about strengthening the systems already in place to get people vaccinated.

HR 550, is aiming to “modernize” already-in-place individual immunization registries, or Immunization Information Systems (IIS), as the databases are called. In this digital age, modernization calls from a federal (central) government mean standardization of tech and expansion of storage capabilities to get up to speed with the amount of data there is, how fast we want it to travel, and to where. This is why the bill explicitly states the $400 million for grants are to be given out only on the condition local IISs adopt CDC standards, including “interoperability” and “bidirectional” data transfer. This is the way the federal government makes its way into local policy and lawmaking—by conditioning federal handouts on compliance with federal policy. It’s passive aggressive bullying with our tax dollars. “Everyone gets this nice thing, except for the people who don’t do what I say.” To illustrate, the drinking age is 21 in every state, despite it being state law, because that age was tied to federal funding for highways. The federal government doesn’t have to make a law about local rules (that would be fought as overreach) if they simply give out money conditioned on compliance.

IISs are older than HIPAA. They sprung up when EHR (electronic health records) were being developed in the 70s but were adopted faster. IIS and EHR are separate systems, but they intertwine. IIS are “local” to a geographic area like a state, but they were an initiative of the CDC, along with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to address concern that children weren’t getting all the ACIP vaccinations. So, in essence, one could say, the first health metric the government worked on tracking digitally was vaccine use. The technology for a large, multi-jurisdictional centralized database wasn’t yet available, so the CDC funded states to set up their own.

Here is the CDC’s strategic plan for “local” IISs, as laid out in 2017:

IIS Vision: Real-time, consolidated immunization data and services for all ages are available for authorized clinical, administrative, and public health users and consumers, anytime and anywhere.

IISSB Mission: Maximize protection against vaccine-preventable diseases by leading the advancement of immunization information systems (IISs).[i]

Very clearly, the IISs are the data arm (infrastructure) of a federal plan to vaccinate as many people as possible.

Myth #1: This Act would NOT create a federal vaccine database or tracking system

It doesn’t have to. That infrastructure is already in place and under development. (In fact, one would wonder if instead of a centralized database, the technology might be pointing in the direction of a decentralized blockchain data system.) There is no need for a bill to create a central federal database. Instead, this bill would link everything together under CDC oversight. From the horse’s mouth: “IISs have matured individually…However, IISs are increasingly viewed as one national network of systems.”[ii]

What this bill would create is more access for CDC for your immunization data, and the need for states to follow CDC recommendations or get cut off from federal funding. Does data access have to be centralized to be an invasion of privacy and federal overreach? No. “The present pandemic is the first time near real-time vaccination data has been shared with the CDC to provide comprehensive surveillance at the federal level. These data are primarily coming from IIS.” This statement was testimony by Rebecca Coyle, Executive Director of the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA), which promotes development and implementation of IIS around the country along with close collaboration with the CDC. She continued, “The Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act, HR 550, legislation by Representatives Annie Kuster and Larry Bucshon will provide the needed national framework for IIS operations.”

The bill itself states the HHS Secretary shall support adoption of the IIS standards of the CDC. The Secretary shall enhance capabilities of IIS “to evaluate, forecast, and operationalize clinical decision support tools in alignment with the recommendations” of the ACIP, a federal advisory committee with no public accountability, which states are not mandated to follow, but would be required to “operationalize” if they receive grant money under this bill. Does this language mean if a state does not follow the ACIP childhood or adult immunization schedules, the state would be disqualified from grant money from the federal government? That isn’t explicitly stated in the bill, but it wouldn’t be prohibited either. The language of the bill as passed by the House begs that question. Since the $400M can go to either localities with IIS, or public-private contracts for implementation, for argument’s sake, let’s say that money is divided equally and 50 states could apply for $200M. That approximates $4M per state to “modernize” their IIS. (Federal grants never work this cleanly, but this is a thought exercise.) What state will turn down $4M in federal money to update health data technology, especially during a “pandemic”?

The National Adult Immunization Plan notes that “IIS have the potential to act as a centralized repository of adult vaccination records.” NAIP strategy includes “expand[ing] IIS and EHR functionality to facilitate interstate immunization data exchange through a centralized hub.” The Plan also tells us the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in HHS is working on a national “data hub” to enable “state and local IIS to exchange data with each other through a centralized model…By connecting to the central hub, jurisdictions can then connect to any other jurisdiction also connected to the centralized hub.”

HR 550 does not mention this centralized data hub. But Plans and documentation from the agencies charged with carrying out HR 550, along with stakeholders like AIRA, have been talking about it for a long time.

“Public health agencies have been using IIS for more than twenty years to consolidate a complete immunization record for the people within their jurisdictions, and to provide that data to authorized users through standardized, electronic means.”[iii]

Myth #2: This bill increases privacy of immunization records

The main sponsor of the bill, Democrat Annie Kuster from New Hampshire, introduced the bill by noting the IIS system is used “to remind patients when they are due for a recommended vaccine.”[iv] This is also a stated goal of the National Adult Immunization Plan. What kind of privacy is that?

Rebecca Coyle, Executive Director of the American Immunization Registry Association, testified in front of the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee in June 2021 that “At the point of clinical care, an IIS can provide consolidated immunization histories to determine appropriate patient vaccinations for use by a vaccination provider.” There is no way that can happen with deidentified data. The data must be linked to the individual in a multi-jurisdictional way, for the immunization history to be displayed in an electronic record for an individual who may go to different providers, move to different states, change names through things like marriage, etc. Remember, the CDC encouraged states to adopt their own IISs because they wanted more children vaccinated. How can you vaccinate more children based on collected data if you don’t know who is vaccinated (and when, and how many times) and who is not? The point of the system is to collect individualized data so government can get individuals vaccinated at the “point of clinical care,” meaning when an individual is in a doctor’s office. You don’t get much more private than that. The data collected by IIS is not simply “population level.” It is individually identifiable information. The federal government can claim they can’t or won’t access that information. Do you trust that? Why would the sponsor of the bill crow about the individualized capabilities of the system if the federal government isn’t going to have access to that?

Section (a)(1)(B)(vi) of the bill states the HHS Secretary shall support adoption of the IIS functional standards of the CDC “and the maintenance of security standards to protect individually identifiable health information as defined in section 160.103 of title 45 CFR.” States have their own privacy provisions for their own IISs, but this section tells the HHS Secretary to support adoption of federal security standards for PHI as explained in the Public Welfare Code. There, PHI is defined as “individually identifiable health information” except that which is covered by FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and “in employment records held by a covered entity in its role as employer.” So the security standards to be adopted exempt certain educational and employer records from HIPAA entities from privacy law.

Myth #3: This bill reigns in reckless Democrat spending

There are claims that this bill will reign in the distribution of $500M from the Democrat-backed American Rescue Plan allocated for upgrades to IIS, “without guardrails.” However, this bill allocates $400M for the HHS Secretary to give out at his discretion for localities to modernize (or initiate) their IIS structure, or for public-private contracts to facilitate the same. There is nothing in this bill that modifies the American Rescue Plan.

Myth #4: This bill was Republican-led

The bill was introduced by Democrat Annie Kuster from New Hampshire on January 28, 2021. Republican Larry Buschon signed on as an original cosponsor. There are 13 other cosponsors, 3 Republican. All House Democrats voted for this bill along with 80 Republicans; 130 Republicans voted against and 3 abstained. This bill is bipartisan at best. To say it is Republican-led is misleading.

It would be more accurate to say the opposition is Republican-led.

Based on a reading of the bill, and a knowledge of the history of the federal efforts for an immunization infrastructure, the Republicans who voted yes on this bill are either recklessly uninformed, or knew exactly what they were doing and are now selling the public an Orwellian bill of goods. Neither is good.

Myth #5: This bill has nothing to do with unconstitutional federal vaccine mandates or a digital health pass

This bill has everything to do with mandates and digital health passes. It is the legal infrastructure, so to speak, for the digital infrastructure. At this point, most of the immunization data collection is local. The federal government is not collecting it directly and needs to rely on localities to pass it along. The technology for mass health data collection and transfer of that information is still evolving and was certainly not in place in the 70s when the digital groundwork was being laid for IIS. Vaccine passports are still in development and one of the hurdles is access to information. At this moment, the Biden Administration is asserting they would not support digital passports, but president-Elect Biden also stated he did not think the federal government should mandate vaccines until he changed his tune in office. And if the White House changes their mind on passports as well, HR 550 is exactly the bill they would need to make it legit through the legislative process, rather than facing legal challenges for federal overreach as they are now with mask and vaccine mandates through arms like OSHA and CDC.

The CDC has been exploring “Smart Health Cards” along with AIRA and private organizations for years. Here’s an excerpt from a recent Discovery Session:

“AIRA, as well as several member and partner organizations, have signed on as VCI with the belief that IIS can and should play a significant role as issuers of digital or paper vaccine credentials, and that broader consumer access to immunization information supports health equity and empowers individuals to share their health information as they choose.”[iv]

Additional Resources

Below is a great summary of H.R.550 from Dawn Richardson’s perspective. Dawn is the Director of State Advocacy for National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) and has a show “Advocacy Lifeline,” on CHD TV, every Monday at 2:30pm. Tune in to hear her perspective of the bill starting at the 3 minute and 30 second mark.

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Steps You Can Take

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Step One: Tell your lawmaker not to pave the way for vaccine mandates and digital passports. Click below!
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Step Two: Share the information! Truth is hard to come by in these days. Shout it from the digital mountaintops! Click the links on the left side of the page to spread the good word.
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References & Sources
[i] 2018-2020 CDC Immunization Information System Strategic Plan, Oct. 1, 2017

[ii] https://hln.com/vaccine-credential-activities-redirecting-the-conversation-for-public-health-registries/

[iii] 2018-2020 CDC Immunization Information System Strategic Plan, Oct. 1, 2017

[iv] https://mustreadalaska.com/don-young-joins-bipartisan-group-to-approve-national-vaccine-database-bill-hr-550/

[v] https://repository.immregistries.org/resource/aira-discovery-session-vaccine-credentials/

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Jill Hines

Directory of Advocacy
A former banker turned homeschool mom, Jill Hines began researching alternatives to conventional medicine in 2010 and what she discovered changed the trajectory of her life. She corrected a worrisome health issue, and embraced a natural approach to wellness. Advocating for informed consent and parental rights became a full-time mission when she joined the board of the Georgia Coalition for Vaccine Choice and later became the co-director of Health Freedom Louisiana. Due to her advocacy efforts during the COVID crisis, Jill was one of 25 Louisianans selected by Central City News as “a hero of the constitutional crisis.” She was also presented the Impact Award for Outstanding Public Service from the government watchdog organization Citizens for a New Louisiana. Jill now represents hundreds of millions of Americans who experienced censorship due to the Biden administration's efforts to suppress disfavored speech as a plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit Missouri v. Biden. Jill holds a marketing degree from Louisiana Tech University and now passionately “sells” health freedom full-time. Serving as Stand for Health Freedom’s advocacy director provides an incredible opportunity to advance the growing movement to preserve the sacred right to refuse unwanted medical interventions for ourselves and our children without fear of retribution.
“We have lived through a terrifying societal, psychological, and medical experiment which afforded us a knowledge that our forefathers tried to impart and we can no longer ignore: Our freedom is tenuous. For our children’s sake, the time is now to take a stand for health freedom.”

Chrissy Scott

Executive Assistant and Social Media Manager

A labor and delivery nurse with a lifelong passion for maternal and fetal health, Chrissy Scott left her job of 19 years after learning the truth about the harms caused by the medical system. In 2009, she was mandated by her employer to receive the H1N1 vaccine during her first trimester of pregnancy with her second child. She was assured that the vaccine was “safe and effective” for pregnant women, but her son was born with a kidney defect that could have been fatal. She didn’t connect the dots to vaccine injury until several years later when the declining health of her oldest son drove her to seek answers outside of allopathic medicine.

This personal journey ignited in her a new passion for truth and transparency in health care. As SHF’s Executive Assistant, Chrissy facilitates communication and local advocacy initiatives alongside Leah Wilson for their home state of Indiana. She also manages and creates graphics for SHF’s social media accounts and the website’s swag shop.

Chrissy earned her nursing degree from Anderson University and served her entire career at her local hospital. While she’s no longer a floor nurse, her five very active boys frequently test her nursing skills! She homeschools her children and has been co-owner of a successful home décor sign business with her sister.

“Parents, being the experts on their own children, are best suited to make decisions for the well-being of their family. To do this properly, they must be given full and accurate information and be free from force or coercion.”

Ellen Chappelle

Writer/Editor

Ellen Chappelle serves as SHF’s resident wordsmith. A seasoned writer and editor, she’s enthusiastic about ensuring that our content is clear, concise, and inspiring.

Ellen is most energized by working on projects that transform lives. A truth seeker as well as a journalist, she’s disturbed by the lack of accuracy in today’s media and determined to help share fact rather than fiction. And having found greater healing with alternative approaches, she’s also passionate about preserving our freedom to make informed health choices.

Past projects include serving as regional editor of a dog magazine, color and trend specialist for a small cosmetics company, arts columnist, newspaper reporter, ghostwriter, and creator of website content for artists and small businesses.

With a degree in journalism and theatre, Ellen is also a performer. She enjoyed singing and dancing on a cruise ship and traveling with a national musical theatre tour, as well as recording industrial videos, television commercials, and radio voiceovers. She also creates handcrafted jewelry in wire, chain maille, and fused glass.

“Despite what some would have us believe, the fact remains that this nation was founded on biblical principles by people who wanted freedom to worship God and live their lives without government involvement. It’s never been more critical to fight for those rights.”

LEAH WILSON

Executive Director and Co-founder

An attorney with a background in complex litigation and advocacy, Leah Wilson is passionate about children’s health and has researched and worked on child welfare issues for more than a decade.

The overmedication of children in foster care as a form of behavior management is what compelled Leah to become an advocate and foster parent. During her time as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children, Leah witnessed the rampant use of psychiatric drugs among foster kids. She also discovered that, in addition to many extensive requirements, the state had a policy that all foster children and foster families be fully vaccinated, without exception. Through her involvement in law, health and the foster care system, it became abundantly clear to Leah that the single most important issue affecting child welfare in the United States is the practice of one-size-fits-all medicine via medical mandates. This motivated Leah to expand her advocacy beyond foster care to all children nationwide and to start Stand for Health Freedom (SHF) in 2019.

A graduate of the Saint Louis University School of Law, Leah holds dual bachelor degrees in political science and Spanish from Indiana University. In addition to her advocacy work with SHF, Leah is the owner and former operations director of MaxLiving Indy, one of the largest natural health centers in the Midwest. She is also an educator on holistic health as well as a sought-after speaker on issues ranging from religious rights to greening your home.

“Parental rights and religious freedom are God-given natural rights that cannot arbitrarily be taken away by government authorities. Parents are the single most important factor in a child’s success; I stand in full support of this sacred relationship.”

Sayer JI

Director and Co-founder

Sayer Ji is a widely recognized researcher, author, lecturer, activist, and educator on natural health modalities. Among his many roles, he is an advisor to Stand for Health Freedom, a reviewer and editor of the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, an advisory board member of the National Health Federation, a steering committee member of the Global GMO Free Coalition, and the co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed Inc., a revolutionary scientific validation framework.

Most notably, Sayer is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, the world’s most widely referenced, evidence-based natural health resource of its kind. He founded the platform in 2008 to provide an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. Today, Greenmedinfo.com has more than a million visits per month, serving as a trusted resource on myriad health and wellness topics to physicians, healthcare practitioners, clinicians, researchers and consumers worldwide.

Sayer attended Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where he studied under the notable American philosopher Dr. Bruce W. Wilshire. He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1995, with a focus on the philosophy of science. His new book, Regenerate: Unlocking Your Body’s Radical Resilience through the New Biology, was released in March 2020 and is an Amazon bestseller.

“I truly believe that education will be our greatest shield against accelerating the erosion of civil liberties, including the right to bodily sovereignty, as well as the greatest catalyst for positive change on this planet moving forward.”

Bailey Kuykendoll

Associate Director

Designer and visual marketer Bailey Kuykendoll began advocating for health and religious freedom and parental rights in 2014 after learning she was pregnant. A self-described skeptic, she’s not afraid to ask questions and do copious amounts of research to reach her own conclusions.

She’s also not afraid of hard work. As SHF’s Associate Director, Bailey truly keeps the organizational boat afloat. Working closely with our State Directors in each state, she ensures that SHF has calls-to-action for health-freedom bills and petitions on our website and across social media, spreading the word to encourage people to contact their legislators. She builds campaigns, graphics, website pages, and relationships.

Bailey earned a design degree from Harrington Institute of Design in 2008. She then served as a production assistant on several shows for HGTV, followed by working behind the scenes on the X Factor, small indie films, music videos, and documentaries. Bailey joined Health Freedom Florida after moving to the East Coast, becoming co-president of the grassroots organization in 2019. While at Health Freedom Florida, she successfully filed a state bill designed to stop discrimination based on your health status. She joined SHF in the fall of 2020.

“God placed a calling on my heart back in 2008 to be a part of something bigger for Him. Twelve years later, the opportunity came knocking to help others lean into their natural-born rights and take a stand for themselves and their families. I knew this is where I was called to be, and I have never looked back.”

Valerie Borek

POLICY ANALYST

Valerie Borek is a passionate advocate for health rights and family privacy. A mother of two with degrees in law and biochemistry, she is perfectly positioned to lead SHF advocates through complex health-rights policy. Her work is guided by a love for American values, uncovering truth, and a passion for empowering others. Valerie has served as SHF’s policy analyst since 2021.

Valerie’s understanding of the value of freedom to make one’s own health care choices is not just academic. Health freedom has kept her boys alive and thriving. Her choice to have home births jump-started her advocacy for health privacy. Her eldest son survived a rare and deadly cancer because her family was able to navigate medical care while holding onto values that were sometimes at odds with recommendations.

Before joining SHF, Valerie specialized in health and parenting rights at her boutique law firm, especially surrounding birth and vaccine rights. She advocated for informed consent in health care and transparent food labeling in her state. She helped found the Birth Rights Bar Association and was honored to present their argument to the Delaware Supreme Court that midwifery is not the practice of medicine, in support of a trailblazing midwife.

“Health is the foundation of how we show up in this world to love, serve, and create. Americans are blessed to live in a country that gets stronger the more we protect fundamental rights, like informed consent and privacy, so individuals and families can thrive.”

Mary Katherine LaCroix

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND NONPROFIT ADMINISTRATION

Mary Katherine LaCroix became involved with SHF as a volunteer in 2019 when the religious exemption for childhood vaccines was at risk in her home state of New Jersey. She believes strongly that parents have the responsibility for their children’s health, education, and faith formation and that only they have the right to make medical decisions and manage their care.

She has worked in fundraising for more than 25 years at various educational, cultural, human services, and political organizations. A graduate of the University of Scranton, she holds a degree in History and English Literature.

Mary Katherine is thrilled to have this opportunity to work with and help grow SHF, believing that together we can achieve even greater impact in protecting our rights and caring for our loved ones. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children and large extended family, as well as volunteering to support the special needs community.

“Parents are taught that they must trust the experts. That’s what we did, until we learned that the experts can be wrong and don’t always know what is best for your child. Parents should instead feel empowered by their natural, God-given ability to advocate and care for their children. SHF is here to give them the tools to do just that.”

Sheila Ealey

Political Analyst

Dr. Sheila Lewis Ealey is the founder and former director of the Creative Learning Center of Louisiana, a therapeutic day school for children who are on the autism spectrum or struggling with other nonverbal intellectual disabilities. The wife of a former U.S. Coast Guard Officer, she is also the mother of four children. Her son was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder at 18 months. He is now a young man and considered moderate and emerging.

Sheila and her twins were featured in the documentary “Vaxxed.” She has traveled extensively, advocating for medical freedom. She continues to educate disenfranchised parents about their fundamental rights to religious and philosophical exemptions, their ability to live sustainably on a limited budget, and the importance of nutrition and biomedical interventions for optimum health with autism. She also writes individual homeschool curriculums for parents of children with autism or intellectual disorders. Sheila is a trustee for the Autism Trust, USA, and on the board of directors of Children’s Health Defense.

Over the past 20 years, she has educated herself to use natural healing modalities for the body and brain. Her formal education includes degrees in communication, special education curriculum, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership in Special Education. Sheila serves as an assistant content advisor and political analyst for SHF.

“It is not the Constitution’s job to protect our liberties, as it is not a philosophical document but a legal one. Its purpose is to limit the powers and authority of our federal government in hopes of preventing an intrusion upon our unalienable rights. We are obliged to maintain our government within its limits.”

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