2004 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Human Services
By: Representative Fillingane
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 41-23-37, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT A CHILD WILL BE EXEMPT FROM THE REQUIREMENT FOR HAVING ANY SPECIFIC VACCINATION IN ORDER TO ATTEND A SCHOOL, IF THE CHILD OR THE CHILD'S PARENT OR GUARDIAN SUBMITS A CERTIFICATE FROM A PHYSICIAN STATING THAT THE REQUIRED VACCINATION WOULD BE INJURIOUS TO THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF THE CHILD; TO AUTHORIZE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, IF THERE IS AN OUTBREAK OF A VACCINE-PREVENTABLE DISEASE AT A SCHOOL, TO EXCLUDE FROM ATTENDANCE ANY CHILD WHO IS NOT VACCINATED AGAINST THAT DISEASE UNTIL THE DISEASE INCUBATION PERIOD HAS EXPIRED OR THE UNVACCINATED CHILD PRESENTS EVIDENCE OF VACCINATION; 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. (1) 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.
(2) 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, * * * for ten (10) or fewer children who are related within the third degree computed according to the civil law to the operator, unless they * * * first have been vaccinated against those diseases specified by the State Health Officer.
(3) (a) No child seeking to attend any school shall be required to comply with the requirements of subsection (2) of this section for any specific vaccination in order to attend the school, if the child or the child's parent or guardian submits to the school an affidavit or a certificate signed by a physician who is duly licensed to practice medicine in the United States, in which it is stated that, in the physician's medical judgment and opinion, the required vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the child, whether the injury would be chronic or acute.
(b) If there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease at a school, the administrators of the school, upon the recommendation of the State Health Officer or the local health officer, may exclude from attendance any child who is not vaccinated against that disease until the disease incubation period has expired or the unvaccinated child presents evidence of vaccination.
(4) 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.
(5) If a child * * * offers to enroll at a school without having completed the required vaccinations, the local health officer may grant a period of time up to ninety (90) days for that completion when, in the opinion of the health officer, the 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.
(6) 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 the exemption.
(7) 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.
(8) 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.
(9) 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 * * * attributes the delay to lack of supply of vaccine or some other such factor clearly making compliance impossible.
(10) Failure to enforce provisions of this section 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, 2004.