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Introduced by Representatives Hosford of Waitsfield, Fisher of Lincoln, Deen of Westminster, Donahue of Northfield, Haas of Rochester, Kupersmith of S. Burlington, McCullough of Williston, Mrowicki of Putney and Smith of Morristown

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Mercury; prohibited vaccines

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to prohibit the use of mercury‑containing vaccines for children and pregnant women.    


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


The general assembly finds:

(1)  People are exposed to mercury in many ways, including by eating mercury-contaminated fish, by inhaling mercury vapors, and by coming into contact with other mercury‑containing products, such as mercury-containing injections and thimerosal in vaccines.

(2)  In the 1930s, thimerosal, a mercury containing preservative, was

added to vaccines to prevent contamination of vials of vaccines that

contained multiple doses.

(3)  In 1999, at the request of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Public Health Service, vaccine manufacturers began removing

thimerosal from the vaccines that are given to children from birth to age four.

(4)  Thimerosal continues to be used in the optional flu vaccine that is

annually given to adults and children in Vermont and across the United States.

(5)  Seven states have passed legislation banning use of thimerosal vaccines for vulnerable populations.

(6)  Vaccinations and immunizations are among the most important public health innovations of the last 100 years.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed vaccinations at the top of its list of the ten greatest public health achievements of the twentieth century.

(7)  Notwithstanding assurances of the safety of the vaccine supply, where there is public concern over the safety of the vaccines, vaccination rates may be reduced to the point that deadly, vaccine‑preventable childhood diseases return.  This measure is being enacted to maintain public confidence in vaccine programs so that the public will continue to seek vaccinations, and their health benefits may continue to protect the people of Vermont. 

Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. § 1131 is added to read:


(a)  For the purposes of this section, “trace amount” shall mean one microgram of mercury per dose or less.

(b)  No child younger than 18 years old and no pregnant woman shall be vaccinated with a vaccine or injected with any product that contains or prior to dilution had contained as an additive any mercury-based product, whether at preservative or trace amount levels.  Should there be a shortage in supply of a particular vaccine, preference shall be given to providing younger children with mercury-free vaccines. 

(c)  The health department may exempt the use of a vaccine if the department finds that an actual or potential bio-terrorist incident or public health emergency requires the administration of a vaccine containing mercury.  A public health emergency may include an epidemic or shortage of supply of a vaccine at a reasonable cost that would prevent a child from receiving the needed vaccine.  The department shall:

(1)  not issue an exemption for more than 12 months, but may extend the exemption for an additional 12 months;

(2)  notify the general assembly within 48 hours of issuing an exemption or extension and include the department’s findings justifying the exemption or extension;

(3)  within seven days of the request, notify any party who has expressed interest in writing to the department that an exemption or extension has been requested; and

(4)  within seven days of granting the exemption or extension, notify a party who has expressed interest in writing to the department about any exemption or extension and the department’s findings justifying the exemption or extension.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont