The state’s health department is considering updates to its immunization policy for school kids from preschool through college. The proposals would require flu shots for kids up to age five and the HPV vaccine for kids entering ninth grade.
Students are already required to get several immunizations over the course of their schooling. And now, proposed changes would not only require that kids ages six months to five years old get a seasonal flu vaccine, they would also require that unvaccinated kids stay home from school during vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. Also under consideration is a requirement that all three doses of the human papilloma virus – or HPV – vaccine be given to students before they start ninth grade. The state would grant exemptions for documented medical or religious reasons.
The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the proposed rules would curb parents’ ability to make medical decisions for their children.
A public hearing on the proposed changes to the regulations took place on January 16, 2014.
- Proposed rule changes: http://sos.ri.gov/documents/archives/regdocs/holding/DOH/Immunzation_HearingNotice_16January%202014.pdf