On April 30, 2019, SB 276 was slightly amended.
Here is the link to the amended bill.
Here is the short of it:
1. Precautions are added to contraindications: The amended bill adds the following language after contraindications: “or that a specific precaution regarding a particular immunization exists. . . . “
What practical effect will that have on those with current medical exemptions or parent of medical fragile children?
I’d say none. Neither the CDC, AAP, AAFP or vaccine package inserts (from which precautions are taken) recognize the concept of medical fragility. And more importantly, it’s just a vaccine-by-vaccine determination. Basically, the conventional standard of care doesn’t recognize the concept of an exemption from all vaccines for all of childhood for healthy children. That’s something that only exists in the world of the vaccine concerned and the physicians who subscribe that this minority medical view.
2. Delay of filing of current medical exemptions:
The time for current exemptions to be filed has moved from July 1, 2020, to either December 31, 2020, (based on the change to the text of the statute) or December 31, 2021 (based on the legislative counsel’s digest) 1. So basically, if you currently have a vaccine exemption, it will be good for the first part of the 2020-2021 school year (or 2021-2022 school year based on the legislative counsel’s digest), and for many, much or all of it, because it may take some time for the public health authorities to reject them. (They’ll catch the inconsistency at some point and correct it.)
3. Parent filed medical exemption requests?
Here is the new language in the bill:
“The bill would require the department, in consultation with local educational agencies and local public health officers, to develop a process for a parent or guardian to request a medical exemption and the department to approve or deny the request and communicate its decision to the school district and the parent or guardian, as specified.”
Looks to me like the bill gives parents the ability to cut-out the physician from the exemption applying process.
I’m fine with that, but the only real practical benefit to the families is that they won’t have to pay a physician to have their exemption request denied.
4. Administrative review process:
The revised bill contains the following additions:
“(3) The denial of a request for a medical exemption may be appealed to the State Public Health Officer.
(4) For purposes of filing an appeal, the physician and surgeon may submit additional information to the department within 30 days from the notification for further review by the State Public Health Officer or designee.”
So there will be some sort of review process. I take from this addition that the plan is to have local public health officials make the initial determination (read rejection of the exemption request) and then someone from the state health department will handle the appeal (read rubber-stamp the exemption rejection, but even rubber-stamping is expensive, when done by governments).
And my friends, that’s the most interesting part of the bill. I’ll explain why very soon. You’ll want to pay attention.
Rick Jaffe, Esq.