Ohio Immunization Process Improvement Bill

The Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics is proud to announce the introduction of legislation to strengthen Ohio’s immunization laws. The bill, known as the Ohio Immunization Process Improvement Plan, was introduced by co-sponsors Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) and Al Landis (R-Dove) and would make two important changes to Ohio’s current immunization laws that will strike a better balance between parental rights and the overall health and well-being of Ohio’s children.

STANDARDIZE OPT-OUT PROCESSING. Establishes a standard form for all school districts to use and requires that a physician or other licensed healthcare provider sign the form for all required immunizations for Kindergarten, school entry, and grades 7 and 12.

Conversations with a healthcare provider are essential to ensure that parents have all the appropriate medical and scientific information prior to making health care decisions, such as immunizing their child. The Ohio Immunization Process Improvement Plan establishes a process identical to how immunization entry forms are handled for state licensed childcare centers. States that have standardized their process have seen a 35% decrease in opt-outs of vaccines in just one year.

STRENGTHEN REPORTING OF IMMUNIZATION OPT-OUTS. Streamlines how data regarding immunizations is handled and reported so public health officials, parents of immunocomprised children, and other stakeholders will know the opt-out rate at each school building.

As noted in numerous recent media reports, Ohio does not currently have reliable data regarding the number of children who have been exempted from immunization requirements at the school district and school building level. As a result, the ability to effectively respond to a disease outbreak is jeopardized. Much of this breakdown is due to inconsistent handling of immunization forms and the transfer of information between school districts, local health departments, and the state.