Judge Rules in Favor of Immunization Law Changes

[MMA News Now, Aug. 29, 2013] The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) determined Aug. 28 that the Minnesota Department of Health has the statutory authority to adopt revisions to Minnesota’s school and child care immunization law. The OAH also said that the proposed rules are needed and reasonable.

The changes, which take effect in September 2014, will involve school-age children (grades K-12) and children in child care and school-based early childhood programs.  

The changes include:
•    requiring children enrolling in child care and school-based early childhood programs to get a vaccination for hepatitis A and B;
•    requiring secondary students to get a meningococcal vaccination beginning in seventh grade; and
•    replacing the current seventh-grade tetanus-diphtheria vaccine with one that also includes pertussis (Tdap).  
•    In addition, the timing of the polio vaccine and DTaP vaccine would be changed to match currently medically acceptable standards, and the age for the first varicella (chickenpox) immunization would be changed from 18 months to 15 months for children enrolling in child care and school-based early childhood programs.

MDH said these new vaccines will bring Minnesota up to speed with the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations.

Two MMA member physicians testified before an administrative law judge on June 27 in favor of the proposed changes.

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4 comments on article "Judge Rules in Favor of Immunization Law Changes"


Janell Haiwick

8/29/2013 4:12 PM

These changes are great--I hope that next there is work on getting ALL children immunized by making it more difficult for parents to opt out of immunizations and still attend school & daycare. Many parents who do immunize that I see in practice have no idea that their children are coming into contact every day with kids that aren't.. Most are under the assumption that one can't attend school or daycare without immunizations--which ideally would be the case. Good luck with this challenge!


Jeff Taber, MD

8/29/2013 5:30 PM

I only wished the CDC provided a much better medically founded, evidence-based discussion regarding its vaccine recommendations.

Loss of time in the work place, for an example, is not a reason to mandate an immunization.

Herd immunity, while a legitimate group benefit concept in general, does not equate to literally treating human being as animals (veterinary medicine), providing vaccines based upon one's locale and/or current availability (when you have them in the chute).

Respect for parents must not be pushed off to the side, as if all children are wards of the state. Parents deserve to know the actual likelihood / risk of their child contracting Hep B, for example, during ages "newborn" through age 12 years. Or, Hep A for that matter,...during like time course.

What are the actual statistics regarding these two infectious diseases in rural MN?

Is anyone to make informed decisions bases upon their personal situation(s) and / or life decisions, in order that they make then provide informed consent?

I'm not at all against vaccines and immunization concepts, but I am somewhat hesitant and/or mildly irritated regarding our top down, mandatory, even in your face (at times) approach.


Chris Foley MD

8/29/2013 10:54 PM

There is no hard evidence that there is any benefit to HBIg in low risk students such as rural (and even suburban) Minnesota children. Nor is there ANY compelling data for the same in the administration of meningococcal vaccine to people under 18 in low risk populations. A community wide vitamin D

campaign would do as much or more. Just as there is little evidence that the herd immunity argument applies to influenza vaccine, so too is the data lacking here for several of these new mandates. I hope this is tested in the courts and that the next judge chooses to hear both sides and is a bit less gullible.


Lee Kurisko MD

8/30/2013 7:55 AM

But Dr. Foley, if mandates are not enforced Big Pharma cannot profit. A vitamin D campaign does not benefit any special interest, politically connected group. We can't do that!

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