STATES CHRONICLE – State seeks longer child immunization laws as representatives are proposing shortening the “provisional period” families have to get their children vaccinated. The new proposal launched by the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education is asking for stricter regulations when it comes to immunizations for schoolchildren in this state.
If the proposal is passed, it will limit the provisional period families have at their disposal to make sure that their children are vaccinated to five days. With the way the immunization laws are in the state at the moment, children are allowed to attend school as long as they have received the first dose of a multi-dose vaccine. They then have up to eight months to get the rest of the required doses.
But this proposal aims to limit that time to five days and to make sure that those who have not received the first dose of a multi-dose vaccine and/or a single dose vaccine will not be permitted to attend school.
Nancy Kaminski, legislative chair for the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners explained in a press release that at the moment doctors and nurses are waiting for children to be brought in for vaccination for a very long amount of time. They have to keep sending the families reminders and notes in order to ensure that the children come in for the vaccinations over a time span of eight months.
The new proposal would cut down on that time, according to Kaminski, and would insure that the regulations are followed and treated more seriously by families as they would become well aware that, unless their children are not inoculated within the 5 days, they might be excluded from school.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has provided records showing that only 91 percent of children who were entering kindergarten were up to date with their necessary vaccinations. By comparison, more than half of the other states reported a number of 95 percent or higher for the same category.
The final regulations contained in the proposal could be approved as early as 9 months from now or as late as 2 year from now and they are set to go into effect at the beginning of the school year following their approval.
Health Secretary Karen Murphy and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera have drafted the new proposal together and Murphy has explained that the purpose of the new regulations is to increase the immunization rates of children in the state so as not to expose kids in schools to contagious diseases unnecessarily.
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