Vaccine Exemption Bill Dies in Committee

JACKSON, MISS– A bill that would prevent the state health department from overriding a pediatrician’s suggestion to not vaccinate a child has died in committee. 

Today is the deadline for bills to make it out of committee and onto the House or Senate floor or those bills are dead for the remainder of this session.

The bill would have taken the state department of health out of the equation when it came to obtaining a medical exemption for vaccine requirements for your child.

No exemptions based on ideology are not allowed in Mississippi. For a child to be exempt from a vaccine, he or she must have an allergy or conflicting medical issue that could be aggravated by the injection. The doctor can’t grant the exemption before consulting the state department of health.

On March 2, Representative Mark Formby presented the bill to the House with heated passion, urging lawmakers to sympathize with parents who have children that could be harmed due to vaccinations required by school. He urged members to pass a bill that would allow for a doctor who has examined the child could request that they be exempt from vaccinations.

As he continued, tensions rose, and questions rose from other members regarding what constituted as an examination from the doctor, would this include doctors in state and out of state, would telemedicine services be considered for an examination.

Formby said that the bill would only enforce laws already in place. You can currently apply for a medical exemption through the State Department of Health if you wish to avoid vaccinations for your child.

Formby was then questioned by Rep. Blackmon on whether parents would be informed about children who attend their child’s school and are not vaccinated. Formby compared sharing that medical information with sharing the HIV status of students, it just wouldn’t happen.

After the questions were over Rep. Gipson shared a personal testimony about how not being vaccinated potentially saved his life after a bite from a fire ant.

Rep. Holland, who opposed the bill, said that Mississippi leads the nation in child vaccinations. He says this bill could hurt that record and be detrimental to schools by taking the State Health department out of these exemption decisions.

While the House passed that bill, it died today in Senate committee.