Tricounty News

Changes in immunization rules

Proposed changes in immunization rules for schools, child care would require Hepatitis A and meningococcal vaccinations

Tdap also added to secondary school schedule; hepatitis B expanded to child care

The Minnesota Department of Health is proposing to make changes in the state’s school immunization rules that would bring the law up to date with current recommendations and practices.

The proposed changes to immunization requirements for children in child care and grades pre-K-12 would:

• Require Hepatitis A and B vaccination for children enrolling in child care or school-based early childhood programs.

• Replace the current seventh-grade tetanus-diphtheria (Td) requirement with a vaccine that also includes pertussis (Tdap).

• Require secondary students to have meningococcal vaccination beginning in seventh grade.

If approved, the proposed changes would take effect beginning in September 2014. They do not change the medical exemption or the option for parents to decline any or all vaccines for conscientious reasons.

The department plans to adopt the changes through its rulemaking authority without a public hearing. If, however, 25 or more people submit a written request for a hearing on the rules by
4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 31, the department will hold a public hearing. Information on how to request a hearing or comment on the rules can be found at: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/immrule/public.
html. If a hearing is held, it will be conducted by Administrative Law Judge Eric L. Lipman, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27, in room B144 Orville L. Freeman Building, 625 N. Robert St.,
St. Paul, MN 55155. A Notice of Intent to Adopt was published in the State Register on April 29.

Some additional proposed changes to the school and child care immunization rules make modifications in the timing of certain doses of required vaccines to match current medically acceptable standards and put early childhood programs that meet regularly for six weeks or more under the immunization rule. More details on the proposed changes are on the MDH immunizations website at: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/immrule/changes.html.

The changes being proposed are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) as well as other professional groups.

“These changes bring Minnesota’s immunization requirements up to date with current, evidence-based national immunizations recommendations,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases for MDH. “Our ultimate goal is to make sure all children in Minnesota have the opportunity to be protected from these diseases that can cause serious illness or even death – but that can be prevented through simple vaccination.”