SB 346 Would Repeal Religious Exemptions for Immunizations in NC

A bill to "Enact Stricter Immunization Requirements."

Update: April 6 - Action Alert: Tell NC Senators to try again on immunization bill.

Update: April 1 (unfortunately not an April Fools joke) - This bill is dead.

Update: March 27 - Here is our op-ed on this issue:

Senate Bill 346 was filed in the NC Senate on March 19. Sponsored by Sens. Jeff Tarte R-Mecklenburg, Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, and Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, SB 364 would repeal the religious exemption for vaccinations, require that all students be screened for severe combined immunodefficiency prior to immunization, and add influenza B, polio, and other vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to the list of required vaccinations for school enrollment in NC, with the exception of the HPV vaccine (WRAL). The latest HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) has the potential to prevent approximately 90 percent of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers according to the FDA.

As currently written, the bill also does not do anything to address the "home school loophole" (News & Observer). Public health officials don’t verify whether the state’s 98,000 home-schooled students receive mandatory immunization (The Sylva Herald). Of the 60,950 registered home schools in North Carolina, 62 percent classify themselves as religious based (Charlotte Observer). According to NC's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about 1% of students entering kindergarden statewide in 2013/14 had a religious exemption to vaccines, compared to 0.14% who were not vaccinated for medical reasons (Asheville Citizen Times). Buncombe County has the highest rate of unvaccinated public shool children (5.06 %), with one in 20 students starting kindergarten in the 2014-15 school year who had opted out from immunization - up from one in 25 a year ago (Asheville Citizen Times).

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