SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Beginning July 1, parents who are registering children for school may notice the rules have changed when it comes to vaccinations in Utah.
The changes come as part of House Bill 308, signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert in 2017. Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, students not vaccinated will be admitted to school only on a conditional enrollment status for 21 calendar days after the student and his or her parents have been put on notice. After the 21 days, if the vaccinations are not done or a valid exemption is not presented, the student could be suspended.
Parents seeking an exemption for personal, medical or religious reasons will have to complete an online education module detailing the effects of non-vaccination as well as the side effects of immunization. The online module is not completed yet, but will be live July 1. Health officials said the course will take about 20 minutes to complete. Parents who decline the module will be required to have an in-person consultation with a public health official.
Granite School District lead nurse Cescilee Rall said she is excited for the new process because it will allow parents to make more educated decisions about immunization.
“Don’t ever guess,” said Rall. “Don’t ever take it for granted your child will be OK without getting vaccinated. Really get the facts.”
Health officials say the new 21 calendar day conditional enrollment period is an effort to let parents have more time to get children immunized; that way, they won’t feel the need to rush for an exemption just so their son or daughter can be enrolled in school.
“We want you to be able to finish that [immunization] series so that your child can have full immunity,” said Rich Lakin, Immunization Program Director for the Utah Dept. of Health.
The online education module and the new rules will go into effect July 1.
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