By CHEC Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
For all those who attended the CHEC conference, thank you! I enjoyed speaking with those who stopped by the CHEC booth.
Update on Immunization Exemption Forms
At the end of June, the Board of Health (BOH) held a rulemaking meeting at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). They revised the rules (6 CCR 1009-2) covering nonmedical immunization exemption forms. Although a bill to clarify the requirements for the nonmedical exemption statement failed this past session, the BOH did remove the egregious word “official” from their rules.
The following is the updated language found in the rules: “Official school immunizations records shall include … A nonmedical exemption form with the date, type of exemption taken and the vaccines exempted from.” Despite this change, there remains some confusion about whether a particular form is required. A particular form is not required; the law clearly stipulates that a statement is all that is needed:
“25-4-903(b) By submitting to the student’s school a statement of exemption signed by one parent or guardian or the emancipated student or student eighteen years of age or older that the parent, guardian, or student is an adherent to a religious belief whose teachings are opposed to immunizations or that the parent or guardian or the emancipated student or student eighteen years of age or older has a personal belief that is opposed to immunizations.”
The CDPHE has acknowledged (read here) that only a statement from a parent is required, but they continue to encourage the use of their form. It is important that you know what the actual law states and keep the appropriate records in your files. If your child attends a summer camp, they may ask you for the CDPHE form – kindly direct them to the CDPHE web page on exemptions.
CHEC will continue to follow this issue. At least one senator on the Senate floor this past session lamented over the state even allowing exemptions. We will continue the fight to uphold the rights of parents to control the care, upbringing, and education of their children.
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Legislative Liaison