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06/17/2021 06:57 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=35516
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 28, 2021 12:40 PM
From: Representative Dan Frankel and Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski
To: All House members
Subject: Protecting Children from Disease Outbreaks
 
While the routine childhood vaccination rates of young children have almost rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, that of older children has lagged behind making them more susceptible to outbreaks as schools continue to reopen. As we have seen during the pandemic and through measles and mumps outbreaks in recent years, the threat of a disease may seem minimal until it is too late.

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.