New Regs Issued for Vaccination Exemptions

August 28, 2019 | Ada Kozicz | Legislation and Public Policy

On August 16, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced the issuance of emergency regulations regarding medical exemptions for school vaccinations. The new regulations went into effect immediately upon their issuance.

Historically, New York State provided two exemptions for state-mandated vaccinations, one for religious considerations and the other for medical reasons. In June 2019, the religious exemption was repealed, as discussed here. As a result, there was a concern that parents who wished to avoid vaccinating their children might seek unjustified medical exemptions. In order to reduce the risk of this occurring, while ensuring that students who truly need medical exemptions from vaccinations remain protected, the DOH has imposed stricter requirements for issuing medical exemptions.

Under the new regulations, physicians who issue medical exemptions must complete a DOH form listing the specific medical reason for each vaccination for which an exemption is sought. Physicians must clearly document how the exempted vaccination would be detrimental to the child’s health. This imposes a higher burden on physicians than the prior regulations, which required physicians only to sign a statement approving a medical exemption without detailing the reasons for it.

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