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Bill that will increase vaccine requirements for Virginia children passes House, Senate

A controversial bill that will increase vaccine requirements for Virginia children has passed the General Assembly.
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Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 17:51:21-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A controversial bill that will increase vaccine requirements for Virginia children has passed the General Assembly.

HB1090, introduced by Del. Patrick Hope (D - 47th), will require Virginia's immunization requirements to match the recommendations listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, the list is reviewed and altered by Virginia legislators.

“The CDC puts out these scheduled vaccines, that are life-saving vaccines, that Virginia has in our code. We list them individually. We have not amended that section of the code since 2008 and in that time period, four life-saving vaccines have been added to the CDC’s list that are not included in on what our kids should get. Hepatitis, meningitis, rotavirus, and HPV for boys and anytime you want to update that list you have to bring in the vaccine one-by-one to edit,” said Hope.

If signed by the Governor, it will require Virginia children to receive a 2nd dose of the chickenpox vaccine and four new vaccines – Hepatitis A, Meningococcal, HPV for boys, and Rotavirus.

On Wednesday, an amended version of the bill passed in the Senate. And on Thursday, a final version passed in the House.

Opponents of the bill said it gives away too much state power to a federal agency.

“As a Virginia voter, we want our constituents to keep the laws of Virginia within Virginia and not follow federal guidelines and be able to establish our own state guidelines based on the interest of Virginians,” said Kathleen Medaries with Virginia Freedom Keepers. “The problem with this bill is that it not only updates our vaccine schedule with an addition of four vaccines, but it also allows the CDC to mandate any of the 260 vaccines that are currently in the pipeline without question and debate in the state of Virginia among our health professionals.”

Religious and medical exemptions for vaccine requirements still apply, as do HPV Vaccine opt-outs.

The amended bill will now go to the Governor for his signature.