States tighten rules on vaccinations to bolster immunization rates

New policies in three Midwestern states have the goals of boosting immunization rates among young people and preventing the spread of disease.

In Illinois, a health care provider will have to sign a “certificate of exemption” in order for children not to be vaccinated on religious grounds. SB 1410 was signed into law in August. Before signing the certificate, a health care provider must provide education to parents about the benefits of immunizations and the health risks of not vaccinating students.

Every state in the Midwest allows for religious and medical exemptions to the vaccine mandate. Some states (Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin in this region) also allow opt-outs based on philosophical beliefs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Michigan, though, has tightened some of its rules this year, reports. Prior to opting out, parents must be educated by a local health worker and sign a form acknowledging that they may be putting their children and others at risk.
A new law in Ohio, meanwhile, requires children attending day care or preschool to be vaccinated (with exemptions). According to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio had been the only state without this vaccine-coverage law.
Stateline Midwest: September 20153.87 MB