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Institute for Vaccine Safety

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

615 N. Wolfe Street

Room W5041

Baltimore, MD 21205

www.vaccinesafety.edu

 

 

 

Draft Exemption

proposed by:
The Institute for Vaccine Safety, The Johns Hopkins Center for Law and the Public's Health, and The Arkansas Medical Society

 

written by:
Daniel A. Salmon, PhD, MPH, Jason W. Sapsin, JD, MPH, Stephen Teret, JD, MPH, Richard F. Jacobs, MD, FAAP, Joseph W. Thompson, MD, Kevin Ryan, JD, MA, and Neal A. Halsey, MD

 

(Education Title of Code)

6-18-702  Immunization

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, no infant or child shall be admitted to a public or private school . . . who has not been appropriately immunized . . . as evidenced by a [Certificate of Immunization issued by an Arkansas health officer or physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas pursuant to x-xx-xxx].

(c)(2)(A)  Regarding kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12), the State Board of Education [shall promulgate appropriate rules and regulations for the enforcement of this section by school boards, superintendents, and principals in accordance with guidelines developed by the State Board of Health].

(d) [Infants or children may be admitted to public or private schools or child care facilities of this state notwithstanding a failure to provide a Certificate of Immunization pursuant to 6-18-702 upon presentation of a Certificate of Exemption from Immunization issued by an Arkansas public health department pursuant to x-xx-xxx.  An infant or child admitted to a public or private school or child care facility pursuant to this subsection shall temporarily be removed from school in compliance with a notice issued pursuant to x-xx-xxx(g).]

(d)(2) REPEALED

(d)(3) REPEALED

__________________

 [An Act Relating to Medical and Non-Medical Exemptions from School Vaccination Requirements]

 (Health Title of Code)

 x-xx-xxx  Certificates of Immunization

 (a)  An Arkansas health officer or physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas may provide a “Certificate of Immunization” for any child who has been age appropriately immunized against, or demonstrates serologic or other evidence sufficient in the opinion of the Department of Health to establish immunity from, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, red (rubeola) measles, rubella, and any other diseases as designated by the State Board of Health.  The Certificate shall be witnessed and identify the child, the vaccines administered, the dates of vaccine administration, the name and address of the health officer or physician so certifying and the name, address and signature of at least one witness.   

x-xx-xxx  Certificates of Exemption from Immunization

 (a)  A public health department may, upon application of a parent or guardian of a minor child, grant a Certificate of Exemption from Immunization (a “certificate of exemption”) for any minor child:

             (1) who, in the opinion of a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas, suffers from a physical condition recognized in pediatric practice as a contra-indication for the administration of a vaccine and is, in his or her professional judgment, at increased risk from serious complications from the administration of the vaccine relative to a typical or healthy child for whom the vaccination protocol has been established; or

             (2) whose legal parent(s) or guardian(s) firmly hold a bona fide belief that a vaccine or immunization is inappropriate for the child.

 (b)  In determining whether the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a minor child firmly hold a bona fide belief that a vaccine or immunization is inappropriate for the child, the public health department shall take the following into consideration:

             (1) whether the parent(s) or guardian(s) presents signed documentation from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Arkansas or other individual designated by the Department of Health that the parent(s) or guardian(s) has received individual counseling concerning the risks and benefits of vaccination to the child and to public health; and

            (2) whether the parent(s) or guardian(s) furnishes a signed, personal statement explaining the reasons for requesting the certificate of exemption, setting forth the strength and duration of his or her belief that a vaccination or immunization is inappropriate for the child, demonstrating his or her understanding of the risks and benefits of vaccination to the child and to public health and acknowledging that the child may be removed from school in the event of the occurrence of any communicable disease or condition, or threat of communicable disease or condition, which in the opinion of the public health department requires the removal of unvaccinated children from school.

 (c)  Upon failure to fulfill any one of the criteria set forth in x-xx-xxx(b), the public health department shall decline to issue a certificate of exemption pursuant to x-xx-xxx(a)(2).

 (d)  Before issuing a certificate of exemption pursuant to x-xx-xxx(a)(2), a public health department shall also consider

(1) applicable vaccination rates;

(2) the community’s vulnerability to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease; and

(3) the prevalence of vaccine-preventable disease circulating within the jurisdiction;

and may decline to issue a certificate of exemption for the protection of the child’s or the public’s health. 

(e)  A Certificate of Exemption from Vaccination shall expire 12 months from its date of issuance, but may be renewed in accordance with the provisions of this section.  In the event of a change in the circumstances underlying the department’s issuance of a certificate the certificate may be revoked.

(f)  The public health department annually shall provide to the superintendent of schools, at the start of each school year, a registry of the children who have received Certificates of Exemption from Vaccination.  This registry shall be updated as certificates expire, are revoked or are issued.

(g)  The public health department shall also provide to the superintendent of schools a notice upon the occurrence of any communicable disease or condition, or threat of communicable disease or condition, which in the opinion of the department requires the removal of unvaccinated children from school, directing the superintendent of schools to remove unvaccinated children from school for the period of time necessary to protect their health and that of the public.

(h)  The State Board of Health may promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this section. 

 

This page was last updated on February 12, 2014

2005 Institute for Vaccine Safety