The bill codifies a definition of "nonmedical exemption" to mean an immunization exemption based upon a religious belief whose teachings are opposed to immunizations or a personal belief that is opposed to immunizations.
Under current law, each student must submit to a school, as defined in section 25-4-901, either a certificate of immunization, a certificate of medical exemption, or a statement of nonmedical exemption for an immunization for a religious or personal belief. The bill requires the department of public health and environment (department) to develop standardized forms and a submission process for persons who want to claim a nonmedical exemption for an immunization for a religious or personal belief. A person who wants to claim a nonmedical exemption for an immunization for a religious or personal belief can do so by submitting to the school either:
- A certificate of completion of the online education module; or
- A certificate of nonmedical exemption.
The bill requires the department to annually evaluate the state's immunization practices, including an examination of best practices and guidelines recommended by the advisory committee on immunization practices. The state board of health may update the state's immunization practices pursuant to the annual evaluation.
The bill creates a vaccine-protected children standard, whereby the immunization rate goal for every school is 95% of the student population to be vaccinated. The bill requires the department to amend an immunization document it currently publishes annually to include information about the vaccine-protected children standard. Every school shall publish its immunization rate and exemption rate on the document and annually distribute it to the parents, legal guardians, and students of the school.
The bill requires, as applicable, a practitioner who is a licensed physician, physician assistant, advanced practice nurse, or person authorized pursuant to title 12 to administer immunizations within their scope of practice to students and to submit immunization, medical, or nonmedical exemption data to the immunization tracking system. The practitioner is not subject to a regulatory sanction for noncompliance.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)