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Immunization Exemption Bill Passes in House Committee

House Bill 221, sponsored by Democratic Representative Carol Spackman Moss, preserves parents’ rights to exempt their children from immunizations. 

The bill that was passed Tuesday would require local health departments to develop an immunization exemption form and also develop an educational video for parents. Representative Moss says this bill will give the parents the option to either choose to immunize their children or exempt them.

“The bill requires a parent who gets an exemption, they go to the health department first, which they already do. But before they do that, they have to watch an online education module no more than 20 minutes that will created by the department of health to tell them what they’re going to have to do to protect their unvaccinated child in the event of an outbreak.”

Gayle Rusika, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, disagrees with parts the bill. She says they would approve of the bill if Moss removes the requirement that makes parents drive to the health department to pick up the exemption. She believes it is unnecessary.

“We have asked that they remove that requirement of driving to the health department, and in the rural areas that is especially a problem because some have to drive an a hour to an hour and a half. That is definitely an undue burden and absolutely ridiculous that in today’s world we still have to do that. ”

Beth Luthy, a nurse practitioner from Utah County, says the bill is there for parents to get information about vaccinations.

“It’s just an information bill. It’s not about forcing parents to do anything.”

Hear the full interview on Thursday's Access Utah here