The School Entry Immunization Act (HB78-1089) was enacted in 1978. The law has not significantly changed since its enactment. It is the role of local schools to accept and maintain student’s records on immunizations.
In 2007, the Immunization Registry Act (HB07-1347) was enacted to expand usage of the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS). Parents have the right to opt-out. Concerns over data privacy continue to plague the system.
Note: Applies to CHEC Independent School.
“Students shall not attend any school in the state of Colorado…unless he or she has presented the following to the appropriate school official:
- An up-to-date certificate of immunization from a licensed physician…
- Certification from a licensed physician…that one or more specified immunizations would endanger his or her life or health or is medically contraindicated due to other medical conditions;
- A statement of exemption signed by one parent…that the parent, guardian, or student is an adherent to a religious belief whose teachings are opposed to immunizations or…has a personal belief that is opposed to immunizations.”
(Taken from CRS 25-4-902 and 903)
“The records of each child participating in a nonpublic home-based educational program shall be maintained on a permanent basis by the parent in charge and in control of said program. The records shall include, but need not be limited to, attendance data, test and evaluation results, and immunization records, as required by sections 25-4-901, 25-4-902, and 25-4-903, C.R.S.”
(Taken from CRS 22-33-104.5 (3) (g))
Timeline of Vaccine Law History
SB88-056 Home Educational Programs for Children gave parents the legal ability to home educate their children in Colorado.
HB07-1347 Immunization Registry Act establishes within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment a digital tracking system for immunization data.
HB14-1288 Student Immunizations Prior To School Attendance introduced. Final bill added the following to the law:
- CDPHE authorized to make immunization information including exemption rates available, as well as research and an online education module.
- Schools are to provide immunization and exemption rates available to the public upon request.
- CDPHE directed to provide assistance to schools with analyzing and interpreting the immunization data.
- CDPHE was to determine the “frequency of submission of exemption forms.”
- CDPHE was to make a joint policy with other state departments on the data collection and sharing of immunization data.
CDPHE rulemaking 6 CCR 1009-2 hearing. Prior to these rules, the certificate of immunization provided by the CDPHE included a line for parents to sign if they wanted to exempt out of vaccinations. With the new rules adopted here, the certificate of immunization was separated and new forms for medical and nonmedical exemptions were created. CDPHE interprets the additional authority granted to determine the “frequency of submission of exemption forms” to give them the authority to require an “official” exemption form created by them. The rules also designate that schools must submit immunization data into CIIS. While the original version of the bill from 2014 would have given them the additional authority to do both those things, the final bill that passed did not.
HB16-1164 Transfer Immunization Exemption Duties to CDPHE as introduced the bill would have authorized CDPHE to create a standardized department form, require it to be submitted to the CDPHE, and all data submitted put into CIIS. Homeschoolers were exempted from CIIS through the amendment process during the House committee hearing. The bill passed the House but never got brought up in the Senate.
Note: Before the bill is introduced and despite the bill’s demise, the CDPHE website mandates the usage of their online “official” form for all exemptions (medical and nonmedical).
CDPHE rulemaking 6 CCR 1009-2 hearing. “Official” medical and nonmedical exemption forms are still mandated and CIIS submission by schools required.
“Official” Nonmedical exemption form contains viewpoint discrimination and compelled speech. Most egregious statement: “By signing this form,…I understand the following: Failure to follow the advice of a physician, registered nurse, physician’s assistant, or public health official who has recommended vaccines may endanger my child’s/my health or life and others who come into contact with my child/me.”
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) threatens lawsuit citing the following problems with the newly required form:
- Requiring an “official” form goes against the law which only requires a signed statement, and
- Requires parents to affirm statements that constitute compelled speech and viewpoint discrimination.
CDPHE continues to require an “official” exemption forms but removes the most egregious compelled speech.
SB17-250 Student Exemption from Immunization Requirements introduced. Bill would have made it clear that an “official” form was not needed for exemptions. Specified a letter was sufficient. Bill died on the Senate floor.
CDPHE rulemaking 6 CCR 1009-2 hearing. Finally, reference to an “official” nonmedical exemption form is removed from the rules. Mention of schools being required to enter data into CIIS is also removed from the rules.
HB19-1312 School Immunization Requirements introduced. Bill would make all exemptions more difficult (by requiring a visit to the local health department), mandates standardized forms, expands vaccine schedule, and forces the use of CIIS. Battle over this bill began in January and lasted until the last day of session. Hundreds of people testified against this bill. Ultimately, the bill passed the House and was never brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
Governor Polis issues an Executive Order (EO B 2019 006) concerning immunizations. Requires the CDPHE to improve immunization rates across Colorado by increasing access to vaccines, increasing the usage of the department’s standardized medical and nonmedical form, more widely disseminating immunization and exemption rates, and pushing vaccine education developed by CDPHE.
Senator Marble and Representative Saine host three Vaccine & Health Choice Summits. No legislators who supported HB19-1312 were present. Information on vaccine efficacy, hesitancy, and rates of injury were presented along with talks on informed consent, ethical concerns, and the history of CDPHE’s governmental overreach.