2002 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) White (29th)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 41-23-37, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT A PARENT OR GUARDIAN MAY OBJECT TO THE IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS OF HIS OR HER CHILD BECAUSE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR MEDICAL CONTRAINDICATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI.
SECTION 1. Section 41-23-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is
amended as follows:
41-23-37. Whenever indicated, the State Health Officer shall specify such immunization practices as may be considered best for the control of vaccine preventable diseases. A listing shall be promulgated annually or more often, if necessary.
Except as provided hereinafter, it shall be unlawful for any child to attend any school, kindergarten or similar type facility intended for the instruction of children (hereinafter called "schools"), either public or private, with the exception of any legitimate home instruction program as defined in Section 37-13-91, Mississippi Code of 1972, for ten (10) or less children who are related within the third degree computed according to the civil law to the operator, unless they shall first have been vaccinated against those diseases specified by the State Health Officer.
The requirement for vaccination shall not apply to any child if one or more parent or guardian objects in writing, to his or her school administrator, against the vaccination of the child because of religious beliefs or medical contraindications. A certificate of exemption from vaccination for medical contraindications may be offered on behalf of a child by a duly licensed physician to the school administrator and shall be accepted by the local health officer when, in his opinion, such exemption will not cause undue risk to the community.
Certificates of vaccination shall be issued by local health officers or physicians on forms specified by the Mississippi State Board of Health. These forms shall be the only acceptable means for showing compliance with these immunization requirements, and the responsible school officials shall file the form with the child's record.
If a child shall offer to enroll at a school without having completed the required vaccinations, the local health officer shall grant a period of time up to ninety (90) days for such completion when, in the opinion of the health officer, such delay will not cause undue risk to the child, the school or the community. No child shall be enrolled without having had at least one (1) dose of each specified vaccine.
Within thirty (30) days after the opening of the fall term of school (on or before October 1 of each year) the person in charge of each school shall report to the county or local health officer, on forms provided by the Mississippi State Board of Health, the number of children enrolled by age or grade or both, the number fully vaccinated, the number in process of completing vaccination requirements, and the number exempt from vaccination by reason for such exemption.
Within one hundred twenty (120) days after the opening of the fall term (on or before December 31), the person in charge of each school shall certify to the local or county health officer that all children enrolled are in compliance with immunization requirements.
For the purpose of assisting in supervising the immunization status of the children the local health officer, or his designee, may inspect the children's records or be furnished certificates of immunization compliance by the school.
It shall be the responsibility of the person in charge of each school to enforce the requirements for immunization. Any child not in compliance at the end of ninety (90) days from the opening of the fall term must be suspended until in compliance, unless the health officer shall attribute the delay to lack of supply of vaccine or some other such factor clearly making compliance impossible.
Failure to enforce provisions of this act shall constitute a
misdemeanor and upon conviction be punishable by fine or
imprisonment or both.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.