(May 14, 2014) — Two Ohio legislators introduced a bill that would require immunizations for children entering licensed child care or preschool facilities.
Representatives Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from Lakewood, and Ryan Smith, a Bidwell Republican, introduced House Bill 536 during a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse. They were joined by Ohio AAP Executive Director Melissa Wervey Arnold and Ohio AAP board member Jonathan Thackeray, MD, FAAP.
The bill would require that children enrolled in licensed child care facilities be immunized in accordance with a schedule that is based on the schedule recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC. The bill includes exemptions for medical and parental reasons.
Ohio is the only state that does not require the immunizations for children entering child care or preschool. Currently, state-licensed child care centers are asked by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to have parents fill out the immunization form every 12 months. On that form, vaccines are listed as “recommended.” The legislation would change that language to “required.” That means the responsibility would be on the child’s physician, who would have to fill out the medical form and certify that the child is either up-to-date, or working to be, on his or her shots.
Ohio is seeing a dramatic rise in vaccine-preventable diseases — with current outbreaks of the mumps and measles. The Ohio AAP wants the thousands of children in child care settings each day protected.
This legislation is supported by a number of other medical professionals’ organizations. The legislation provides further protection for child care operators that already require vaccinations. It only applies to state-licensed child care settings and exemptions for religious or medical reasons, similar to the Ohio kindergarten mandate, are included.
Click here to view the ACIP Birth-18 years-old immunization schedule.
Click here to read House Bill 536.