The Community Immunity Act
In September 2019, Senator Rausch and Leader Paul Donato filed legislation to reduce the threat of serious yet preventable diseases by creating standardized and centralized immunizations requirements and exemption processes for child care centers, all K-12 schools, summer camps, and colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth.
The Community Immunity Act is supported by a broad coalition of groups, including the Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, the Massachusetts School Based Health Alliance, the Massachusetts Association of Health Offices, the Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Mass General Brigham, the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, the Massachusetts Infectious Diseases Society, and the National Association of Social Workers – MA Chapter.
Community Immunity Act
The bill makes four structural changes:
1. STANDARDIZE: Authorize DPH to set a standard immunization schedule for all child care centers, K-12 schools, summer camps, and colleges/universities.
2. CENTRALIZE: Generate consistency in the immunization exemptions process through consolidation within the Department of Public Health (DPH), relieving individual schools/districts from the burden of managing the process.
3. MONITOR: Provide DPH with statutory authority to collect immunization data statewide.
4. NOTIFY: Mandate that covered programs notify families whenever they fall below protective rates of herd immunity and provide DPH with the responsibility to conduct outreach to parents and guardians to improve immunization rates.
Immunization Rates Map
The 2018-2019 Immunization Rates Map displays the number of Massachusetts kindergarten and 7th grade programs in which 3% or more of children lack one or more scheduled vaccinations, as well as all the schools that failed to report any immunization data. This map was derived from Massachusetts Department of Public Health data, located here.
Community Immunity Act FAQ
NEW: Do you have questions about the Community Immunity Act? Learn more about what it means for religious exemptions, medical exemptions, and your family here.