Directs schools to provide information on meningococcal disease immunization to students and parents of students in seventh grade, and requires such schools to maintain record of responses as to whether such students have received such immunization.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to raising the level of immunity of children against meningococcal disease
PURPOSE: Current law requires boarding schools, private and public colleges, and certain summer overnight camps to provide information to students about immunization against meningococcal meningitis, and require students to notify the institution whether they have decided to receive the vaccination. This legislation would clarify that the same educational materials and opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of being vaccinated should apply to all students entering seventh grade.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Consistent with the requirement in current law that boarding schools, colleges and overnight summer camps, distribute written information about meningococcal meningitis and meningitis immunization to all students attending the institution, this legislation would require that the same information be distributed to all students entering the seventh grade. The information that is currently provided, and would be required to be disseminated to all seventh graders, includes: 1) a description of the disease and means of transmission; 2) the benefits, risks and effectiveness of immunization; and 3) the availability and cost of immunization. Additionally, current law requires that the student, parent or guardian, indicate whether the student has received the meningitis vaccination or whether the student has chosen not to receive the immunization. This legislation would clarify that all seventh graders would be required to provide same information to the school. Notably, each school must maintain a record of the students' responses, but is not required to maintain the actual response form.
This bill would not prohibit schools from adopting or maintaining more stringent policies regarding immunization against meningococcal meningitis.
JUSTIFICATION: Meningococcal meningitis is an air-borne disease, transmitted through droplets of respiratory secretions and from direct contact with persons infected with the disease. This serious disease-can lead to death with-in only a few hours. Survivors may be left with a severe disability such as loss of limb, cognitive deficits, paralysis, deafness, or seizures. Notably, meningitis can be hard to detect because of its flu-like symptoms -- severe headache, high fever, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. Some of the distinct symptoms of meningitis are a stiff neck or back, confusion or agitation and rashes. These symptoms, however, do not necessarily occur and the disease can get worse very quickly, sometimes in the matter of hours, if not treated with antibiotics. Meningococcal outbreaks can cause severe disruption of classes, school life, and alarm among students and faculty. The Center for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that in adolescents ages 16 through 21 years have the highest rates of meningococcal disease. As a result, in order to reduce the risk of adolescents becoming infected, the CDC recommends a younger cohort of adolescents (typically seventh graders) should be vaccinated with meningococcal conjugate vaccine.
This bill simply requires that educational materials regarding the meningococcal vaccine be made available to seventh graders, and that the student or parent then inform the school whether the student has opted to received the meningitis vaccination. A basic record is important to be maintained in the event that there is a confirm case of meningococcal disease, individuals who have not been vaccinated may be notified of the confirmed case as soon as possible. Due to the devastation that the disease could cause, this legislation is an important public health policy that would improve education regarding this disease, but still provide parents and students with the opportunity to make a determination of whether to obtain the vaccine.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New 2012: S.5069-D died in Finance 2011: S.5069-A died on Senate Calendar
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: This bill will have no fiscal impact. Notably, the Department of Health has already created the template form and educational materials to meet the requirement of the 2003 statute. If enacted, this bill would only require minor modifications to those documents.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2070 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 10, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. HANNON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to raising the level of immunity of children against meningococcal disease THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 2167 of the public health law, as added by chapter 165 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows: S 2167. Immunization against meningococcal meningitis. 1. As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise: a. The term "student" means
[a]ANY person WHO IS IN SEVENTH GRADE OR A COMPARABLE AGE LEVEL SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM WITH AN UNASSIGNED GRADE AT A SCHOOL, OR attending an institution and, in the case of a student attending college, "student" means a person who is registered to attend or who attends classes at an institution, who is enrolled for at least six semester hours or the equivalent per semester, or at least four semester hours per quarter. b. The term "institution" means an academy or college, as defined in section two of the education law, or a children's overnight camp as defined in section one thousand three hundred ninety-two of this chap- ter, where the person attending such camp remains overnight for a period of not fewer than seven days. c. The term "immunization" means an adequate dose or doses of an immunizing agent against meningococcal meningitis which meets the stand- ards approved by the United States public health service for such biological products and which is approved by the department under such conditions as may be specified by the public health AND HEALTH PLANNING council. D. THE TERM "SCHOOL" MEANS ANY PUBLIC, PRIVATE OR PAROCHIAL INTERME- DIATE OR SECONDARY SCHOOL.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD02573-01-3 S. 2070 2
2. Each institution AND SCHOOL shall distribute, in a form provided or approved by the commissioner, written information about meningococcal meningitis and meningitis immunization to all students. The information provided by the institution OR SCHOOL shall include, but not be limited to, the following: a. a description of the disease and means of transmission; b. the benefits, risks, and effectiveness of immunization; c. the availability and cost of immunization, including an indication of whether or not the institution OR SCHOOL offers meningococcal mening- itis immunization services. 3. Each institution AND SCHOOL shall also distribute, in a form provided or approved by the commissioner
[of health], a response form, to be completed by the student or, where the student is under the age of eighteen years, such student's parent or guardian, which shall include the following: a. The student, or if under the age of eighteen years the parent or guardian of the student, certifies that the student has already received immunization against meningococcal meningitis within the ten years preceding the date of the response form; b. The student, or if under the age of eighteen years the parent or guardian of such student, has received and reviewed the information provided by the institution OR SCHOOL, understands the risks of meningo- coccal meningitis and the benefits of immunization, and has decided that the student shall not obtain immunization against meningococcal meningi- tis. The student, or if under the age of eighteen years the parent or guar- dian of such student, shall indicate his or her decision in a box or space placed appropriately on the form and shall return the completed form to the institution OR SCHOOL. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit an institution OR SCHOOL from incorporating the form required by this subdivision into another health certificate or form required by the institution OR SCHOOL. 4. Each institution AND SCHOOL shall maintain [completed]A RECORD OF THE response [forms]. 5. No institution shall permit any student to attend the institution in excess of thirty days without complying with this section; provided, however, that such thirty day period may be extended to not more than sixty days if a student can show a good faith effort to comply with this section. 6. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit institutions AND SCHOOLS from adopting or maintaining more stringent policies regard- ing immunization against meningococcal meningitis. S 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014; provided, that, effec- tive immediately, any actions necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be completed on or before such date.