Priority Notice: Public Comment Period for Rulemaking Required in Response to P.L. 2019, Ch. 154 Now Open

10-144 CMR, Chapter 261: Immunization Requirements for School Children (DHHS) / 05-071 CMR, Chapter 126: Immunization Requirements for School Children (DOE)

BRIEF SUMMARY: The Department of Health and Human Services – Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (DHHS) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE) are jointly proposing these routine technical rule changes to implement P. L. 2019, Ch. 154: An Act to Protect Maine Children and Students from Preventable Disease by Repealing Certain Exemptions from the Laws Governing Immunization Requirements (the “Act”)

The proposed rules can be reviewed, here.

The Act prohibits the rule from including any provision governing medical exemptions and repeals the exemption from required immunization for school students who object, based solely on a sincere religious belief or philosophical reason, effective September 1, 2021, with exemptions for certain students.

Those students who may have declined immunizations based on religious or philosophical objection and are otherwise not eligible for exemptions permitted under Maine’s immunization laws, including those attending elementary or secondary schools for pre-kindergarten instruction, will be subject to current immunization requirements for the certain specified diseases. This rule proposes to require schools to include in their annual report any stricter immunization requirements that may be adopted by ordinance or policy, in addition to the immunization status of all students, including immune students, exempt and non-immunized excluded students.

Additionally, these proposed rule changes include new and revised definitions; add a vaccine schedule for pre-kindergarten students; clarify existing authority and responsibility to dismiss or exclude a child from school when there is a public health threat (20-A MRS § 6301; 22 MRS ch. 250); and clarify superintendent and school authority and responsibility. Finally, changes are proposed to the format of the rule for conformity with Maine CDC rulemaking standards.

As required by law, a public hearing for the proposed rule will be held as a Virtual Public Hearing on July 26, 2021 at 9:00 am, and can be accessed, here.
Meeting ID: 864 0432 7981
Passcode: XeNRq!D2

Comments may be submitted to DOE Legislative Affairs Team member Jaci Holmes, State House Station #23, Augusta, Maine 04333; 207-831-3168 or `until 5:00 pm August 5, 2021.