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Bill would end school-day clinics for all vaccines


Bill would end school-day clinics for all vaccines

Feb 06, 2023 | 11:00 am ET
By Annmarie Timmins
Bill would end school-day clinics for all vaccines
The legislation will come before the House Education Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. (Fiona Goodall | Getty Images)

Public schools would not be allowed to offer vaccination clinics during the school day under a bill before the House Education Committee Tuesday. Clinics, such as those for the flu vaccine, could be held outside of school hours only and would require a parent to attend with their child. 

Bill would end school-day clinics for all vaccines
Rep. Jim Kofalt, a Wilton Republican, addresses legislation at a 2022 House session. (Screenshot)

Rep. Jim Kofalt, a Wilton Republican, said he sponsored House Bill 539 after learning of two instances in New Hampshire and Vermont where schools mistakenly gave children a COVID-19 vaccine without a parent’s permission. Schools require parental permission to vaccinate a child, but school officials erred in those cases, believing the parents had consented to the vaccine.

One involved an elementary student in Nashua, Kofalt said in an interview.

“Fortunately in this case, the girl was not allergic and there were no medical contraindications to her being vaccinated,” he said. “But there could have been, and had there been, that could have been a really horrible situation.”

Kofalt said the Department of Health and Human Services has tightened the process for confirming a student has a parent’s permission to be vaccinated but only for COVID-19. Kofalt’s bill would apply to all vaccines. Public elementary or secondary schools and chartered public schools would be prohibited from holding a vaccine clinic within two hours before or after school, under the bill.

The testimony submitted to the committee ahead of Tuesday’s hearing shows significant support for banning school-day clinics, with 72 people urging the committee to pass the bill and 16 to defeat it.

Supporters include Amy Spillane of Manchester. 

“Please keep vaccine administration out of schools,” she wrote. “I believe schools should be focused on education alone and leave vaccine medical decisions for parents to have with their children’s doctors who are familiar with the medical needs of the particular child.”

Jim Verschueren of Dover is among the bill’s opponents.

“As a member of the generation saved from polio by in-school vaccinations in the 1950s, I can hardly express how appalled I am by this bill,” he wrote. “Please do not restrict our ability to save lives by quick and effective preventive services when the next pandemic hits. This is another of those bills that has no purpose. We do not have a problem of forced in-school vaccinations in this country.”

The committee is accepting testimony online via an email link and in person at Tuesday’s public hearing, set for 1:45 p.m. in rooms 205-207 of the Legislative Office Building.