State Sen. Judy Schwank (D-11) has introduced a bill to make it more difficult for parents of students in Pennsylvania’s government schools to opt their children out of immunization requirements.
Under current law, parents simply need to provide a written objection to opt out of government mandated vaccines in public schools. Schwank’s proposed bill would introduce more hurdles to parents opting out.
Senate Bill 390, entitled “An Act amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known as the Public School Code of 1949, in pupils and attendance, further providing for immunization required and penalty,” could potentially apply to certain private and parochial schools.
The current act states that provisions of the immunization requirements and penalties “shall not apply in the case of any child whose parent or guardian objects in writing to such immunization on religious grounds.” Schwank is proposing a modification of that language that would force parents to receive government certification concerning their decision.
The proposed bill requires parents to use a government form and mandates that “a person authorized to administer immunizations within this Commonwealth” certify the form, acknowledging that the parent has been briefed on “scientifically accepted information prescribed by the Department of Health on the benefits and risks of immunization.”
The bill was referred to the Education Committee on Feb. 21.