COMMUNITY

IMMUNITY ACT

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal tremendous gaps in Massachusetts' public health infrastructure, many of which predated this crisis. The Community Immunity Act is a comprehensive legislative solution to achieving localized herd immunity statewide against deadly yet preventable diseases and reducing vaccine hesitancy in Massachusetts. This bill achieves this mission through standardizing immunizations policy in our Commonwealth's educational institutions; facilitating robust data collection to assess gaps in statewide vaccine delivery; and supporting local interventions in communities lacking herd immunity against deadly yet preventable disease.

Jump to:

THE PROBLEM IN MASSACHUSETTS

Untitled design (15).png

MA does not have localized herd immunity across the state for many immunizable diseases.

Untitled design (15).png

The Department of Public Health (DPH) lacks complete data on immunization rates in daycare centers, K-12 schools, summer camps, and colleges because data reporting is neither standardized nor mandatory.

Untitled design (15).png

Currently, overburdened school administrators are charged with processing vaccine exemption requests, a process that should be managed and monitored by public health professionals.

Untitled design (15).png

There is no requirement to notify parents and guardians if immunization rates drop low enough at a school or program to put their children at increased risk of contracting disease.

*MASSACHUSETTS BY THE NUMBERS

Untitled%20design%20(14)_edited.png

Of the kindergarten programs that submitted data to DPH in 2019-20,

145

119
71

kindergarten programs are below herd immunity rates for measles.

kindergarten programs are below herd immunity rates for pertussis.

programs reported at least 10% of students are missing one or more vaccines required for school, without an approved exemption.

In the 2019-2020 school year,

451

520
1,677

middle schools

kindergarten programs, and

daycares/preschools 

failed to report any immunization data to the MA DPH.

*Currently, data reporting to the Department of Public Health (DPH) on immunization rates at daycare centers, schools, colleges, and summer camps is inconsistent statewide and entirely voluntary. As a result, we do not even know the full landscape of immunization rates across the state.

COMPONENTS OF THE COMMUNITY IMMUNITY ACT

 

1. SUPPORT STUDENT HEALTH

Consistent immunization policy across MA schools

  • Provides Massachusetts' schools, daycares, and camps with a standardized immunizations exemptions process, administered through the Department of Public Health (DPH)

  • Puts religious and medical exemption management in the hands of public health professionals instead of overburdened school administrators

  • Allows for private schools, daycares, and camps to set more stringent requirements for immunization exemption criteria

2. DATA COLLECTION FOR IMPROVED PUBLIC HEALTH

Identify local gaps in vaccination rates to inform

targeted community interventions

  • Authorizes DPH to collect and share immunization rate data during any public health emergency

  • Fills gaps in vaccination rate data currently missing from over 2,600 Massachusetts programs

3. FAMILY NOTIFICATION AND OUTREACH

Help every Massachusetts community reduce vaccine

hesitancy and achieve localized herd immunity

  • Authorizes DPH to conduct culturally relevant outreach in communities lacking herd immunity against deadly yet preventable diseases

  • Supports the families of immunocompromised children in selecting the safest programs for their kids

covid-classrooms (1).jpg
covid-classrooms (1).jpg

COMMUNITY

IMMUNITY ACT

S.1517 / H.2271

Sponsored by Senator Becca Rausch, Rep. Paul Donato, and Rep. Andy Vargas

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal tremendous gaps in Massachusetts' public health infrastructure, many of which predated this crisis. The Community Immunity Act is a comprehensive legislative solution to achieving localized herd immunity statewide against deadly yet preventable diseases and reducing vaccine hesitancy in Massachusetts. This bill achieves this mission through standardizing immunizations policy in our Commonwealth's educational institutions; facilitating robust data collection to assess gaps in statewide vaccine delivery; and supporting local interventions in communities lacking herd immunity against deadly yet preventable disease.

Jump to:

THE PROBLEM IN MASSACHUSETTS

Untitled design (15).png

MA does not have localized herd immunity across the state for many vaccine preventable diseases.

Untitled design (15).png

The Department of Public Health (DPH) lacks complete data on immunization rates in daycare centers, K-12 schools, summer camps, and colleges because data reporting is neither standardized nor mandatory.

Untitled design (15).png

Currently, overburdened school administrators are charged with processing vaccine exemption requests, a process that should be managed and monitored by public health professionals.

Untitled design (15).png

There is no requirement to notify parents and guardians if immunization rates drop low enough at a school or program to put their children at increased risk of contracting disease.

MASSACHUSETTS BY THE NUMBERS*

Untitled%20design%20(14)_edited.png

Of the kindergarten programs that submitted data to DPH in 2019-20,

145

119
71

kindergarten programs are below herd immunity rates for measles.

kindergarten programs are below herd immunity rates for pertussis.

programs reported at least 10% of students are missing one or more vaccines required for school, without an approved exemption.

In the 2019-2020 school year,

451

520
1,677

middle schools

kindergarten programs, and

daycares/preschools 

failed to report any immunization data to the MA Department of Public Health.

*Currently, data reporting to the Department of Public Health (DPH) on immunization rates at daycare centers, schools, colleges, and summer camps is inconsistent statewide and entirely voluntary. As a result, we do not even know the full landscape of immunization rates across the state.

COMPONENTS OF THE COMMUNITY IMMUNITY ACT

This bill will promote and support localized herd immunity statewide through

the following public health measures:

1. SUPPORT STUDENT HEALTH:

Consistent immunization policy across MA schools​

  • Provides Massachusetts' schools, daycares, and camps with a standardized immunizations exemptions process, administered through the Department of Public Health (DPH)

  • Puts religious and medical exemption management in the hands of public health professionals instead of overburdened school administrators

  • Allows for private schools, daycares, and camps to set more stringent requirements for immunization exemption criteria

  • Allows mature minors, capable of consenting to medical treatment, to access routine and safe preventative medical procedures, such as vaccination

2. DATA COLLECTION FOR IMPROVED PUBLIC HEALTH:

Identify local gaps in vaccination rates to inform targeted community interventions

  • Authorizes DPH to collect and share immunization rate data during any public health emergency

  • Fills gaps in vaccination rate data currently missing from over 2,600 Massachusetts programs

3. FAMILY NOTIFICATION AND OUTREACH:

Help every Massachusetts community reduce vaccine hesitancy and achieve localized herd immunity

  • Authorizes DPH to conduct culturally relevant outreach in communities lacking herd immunity against deadly yet preventable diseases

  • Supports the families of immunocompromised children in selecting the safest programs for their kids

IMG_0494.jpg

MEDIA CENTER

Click on the images below to explore the related media content: