State Health Department issues emergency regulations to strengthen school vaccine requirements

Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 17:03:47-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The State Department of Health and Office of Children and Family Services are issuing emergency regulations to help re-enforce the medical exemption process for school vaccinations.

According to the state, these emergency regulations will further strengthen and clarify the process by which doctors can grant medical exemptions. New state law repealed all non-medical exemptions for children attending school or child care.

Effective immediately, physicians who issue medical exemptions will be required to complete a specific medical exemption form approved by the state health department. Physicians will need to outline the specific medical reason(s) a child cannot be vaccinated. In addition, these regulations will require doctors to spell out specific justifications for each required vaccination in order to grant an exemption. Under previous guidelines, a physician was allowed to submit a signed statement without having to document on an approved form stating why the vaccine could be harmful to a child's health.

These new regulations apply to all children statewide and officials believe they will help prevent medical exemptions from being used inappropriately.

In June, Governor Cuomo signed legislation removing all non-medical exemptions from school vaccine requirements. Under the new law, children not previously vaccinated will have 14 days from the first day of school to receive the first age appropriate dose of each vaccine and 30 days from the first day of school to schedule follow-up appointments.

For a full list of all required childhood vaccines, click here.