Minnesota proposes changes to school immunization requirements

The Minnesota Department of Health proposed changes to the existing rules on immunization of schoolchildren on Monday that require three additional immunizations to meet Center of Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices recommendations.

The proposed changes would include mandatory Hepatitis A & B immunization for all children in childcare or early childhood education programs and a mandatory tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis and meningococcal vaccine for seventh graders. These changes reflect ACIP recommendations to thwart cases of preventable diseases in children.

The MDH also proposed additional changes, including altering the frequency of required vaccinations to meet medically-acceptable standards and holding short-term childcare programs to the same standard. The proposal does not affect parents' rights to refuse to immunize their children or medical exemptions and it can be protested by May 31.

"These changes bring Minnesota's immunization requirements up to date with current, evidence-based national immunizations recommendations," said Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases for MDH. "Our ultimate goal is to make sure all children in Minnesota have the opportunity to be protected from these diseases that can cause serious illness or even death - but that can be prevented through simple vaccination."