Health Department Changes Immunization Form Following Complaints

Nov 30, 2012

The Vermont Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules held a hearing Thursday on new rules that will be implemented regarding immunization opt out rules for parents following new regulations passed by the state.

Vermont Act 157 passed last year with new rules regarding immunization, including a new form that parents must complete if they want to exempt their children from immunizations. Critics say the original form implied that they agree with the health department's assessment of vaccines' risks and benefits.  Jennifer Stella is co-founder and President of the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice.

Attorney Mitch Pearl attended hearings and submitted comments regarding the original wording of the immunization form.  Pearl says he doesn’t have a position on the merits of immunization, but he was concerned about potential compelled speech issues.

Deputy Health Commissioner Tracy Dolan says the original phrasing is being changed.

The Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules must accept any rules changes made by the Health Department and they held a hearing Thursday. Representative Richard J. Marek chairs the committee.

Again, Jennifer Stella of the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice.