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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 30, 2019 08:50 AM
From: Representative Dan Frankel
To: All House members
Subject: Well Informed Vaccine Choices
Measles in New York and Washington. Mumps in Philadelphia. While vaccines exist to protect against these sicknesses, when people aren’t up to date on vaccinations, or go without entirely, it can create a public health crisis. Families are choosing not to seek disease immunity for their children, leading to outbreaks across the United States. It’s a choice that endangers their own children, but also puts at risk those babies and children too sick to get vaccinated themselves.

Current Pennsylvania law requires that in order for children to enter school each year, they must get a medical form showing that they’ve received their vaccines, or that they can’t get them for medical reasons. That is, unless they are seeking an exemption for religious or philosophical reasons. In that case, they sign a form – once.

In short, for a Pennsylvania family sending their child to school it’s easier to get an exemption from immunization than it is to actually protect a child from disease.

Legislation forthcoming addresses this imbalance, requiring those parents seeking a religious or philosophical exemption to get an annual medical consultation to understand the existing threats to children’s health from communicable diseases, and to get briefed on potentials for school exclusion and quarantine, in the case of outbreaks.

The choice to forego immunity protections is a serious one. As children grow, new options for disease resistance become available, and more outbreaks occur, parents should continuously educate themselves about the implications of refusing immunizations.

Introduced as HB1771