This article was submitted to the Denver Post on July 3, 2016, meeting all submission criteria, and rejected by both the Opinion Editor and the Guest Column Editor:

Statewide Phishing Scam by CDPHE

While most people were observing a long weekend celebrating freedom, many Coloradans were grieving for the loss of medical freedom in Colorado. As of July 1, 2016, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has gone rogue regarding citizens’ private medical decisions and has colluded with the Colorado Department of Education in a statewide phishing scam of private medical information.

CDPHE failed to pass a bill (HB16-1164) that would have created a statewide registry for all people, children and adults, who exempt from one or more vaccines on the current US schedule of 70 doses. Since our lawmakers found this state database to be highly invasive of privacy and highly discriminatory, the bill never made it out of the House. So CDPHE is just pretending that the bill became law.

CDPHE has directed school nurses across the state to send letters telling parents that they must or should send their vaccine exemption forms to CDPHE for inclusion in their database. But Colorado law requires that parents should submit statements of exemptions to their school, not CDPHE. (Colorado State Law, C.R.S. 25-4-903) Schools must protect privacy of records in accordance with FERPA. FERPA prohibits sharing of personally identifying information (PII) with any agency without parental consent.

CDPHE’s letters and website falsely tell parents they must submit their vaccine exemptions in 2016 using a newly created online form. But Colorado law requires parents to submit a simple statement of exemption–no form required, no online submission required. Exemptions can be based on religion, personal belief, or medical contraindication.

CDPHE has created a new exemption form with compelled speech that has been struck down in Michigan and Vermont. The form’s language, requiring parents to agree with the health department’s view that utilizing a lawful vaccine exemption puts a child at risk, incriminates the parent. All pharmaceuticals have potential adverse reactions. Vaccines are only the exception in that neither doctors nor manufacturers have any liability, leaving parents to assume all risks.

The Colorado Department of Education published a June letter to clarify all this misinformation, but it was never sent to parents.