DENVER – The Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee passed a bill that aims to increase vaccination rates in Colorado children in an early morning vote Tuesday.
House Bill 19-1312 passed out of committee on a 7-4 vote following a marathon session of testimony Monday night.
If the bill is signed into law, parents wanting to exempt their children for personal or medical reasons would need to fill out a form in person and turn it into a state or local public health agency and then submit it to a school. If that form is not submitted, the child would not be allowed to attend any school in the state of Colorado.
The bill would also direct the department of public health and environment to develop “educational materials regarding the benefits of immunizations” for Colorado healthcare providers to display.
Additionally, the Department of Public Health and Environment would be required to present data regarding rates of immunization and vaccination exemptions to state lawmakers in its annual presentation to lawmakers.
The state will track that data using its existing system tracking exemptions and immunizations, but this bill is designed to encourage participation in that system by gathering data from licensed physicians and physician assistants.
As the bill is currently written, parents who claim an exemption would be able to exclude their child’s immunization information from the tracking system, however, information about whether an exemption was filed would still be submitted to the database.
Currently, CDPHE estimates about 45,000 students and childcare participants claim a non-medical exemption for vaccinations every year.
The bill will now be referred to the entire Colorado House of Representatives for consideration.