Vaccine-related bills target exemptions, disclosures, and flu shot age restrictions

Vaccine-related bills target exemptions, disclosures, and flu shot age restrictions
Legislators in La. filed several proposals to address vaccination and disclosure requirements in the state that can be considered at the upcoming legislative session.

(WAFB) - One vaccine-related bill, House Bill 467, filed by Rep. Beryl Amedee, requires healthcare providers who vaccinate Louisianans and facilities where vaccines are administered to, at minimum, disclose certain information to patients: side effects associated with vaccines, what the vaccine is meant to treat, how effective the vaccine is, its ingredients, and instructions to file a federal report for health issues caused by the vaccine.

A second bill by Amedee, House Bill 642, prevents employers from requiring Louisianans to prove they’re vaccinated, on the condition that the staffer presents a doctor’s note or the staffer objects to the vaccination in a written dissent.

Amedee’s third bill, House Bill 468, adds to current law which requires coroners to report cases where an infant’s cause of death is suspected to be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to the director of the parish health unit within 48 hours.

Amedee’s proposal would require coroners to also file a federal report for health issues caused by the vaccinations when the cause of death is suspected to be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or when the infant dies within 30 days of their last vaccination.

A fourth bill from Amedee, House Bill 667, bans health insurers from offering financial incentives or imposing penalties as a way to influence healthcare providers to administer vaccines.

Amedee leads the charge for vaccine-related bills to be considered in the upcoming legislative session.

She’s followed by Senator Regina Barrow.

Barrow’s proposal, Senate Bill 296, removes age restrictions that require children to be at least 7 years old to get a flu shot from pharmacists. It also adds certain guidelines for pharmacists who administer vaccines, and removes requirements for pharmacists to tell patients that a flu shot doesn’t replace an annual checkup.

A second proposal from Barrow makes technical changes to current law.

Also in the mix is Rep. Kathy Edmonston.

Edmonston’s proposal, House Bill 308, requires school officials to notify parents that first-time students can be exempted from being required to prove they’re vaccinated, on the condition that the student presents a doctor’s note or the student’s parent objects to the vaccination in a written dissent.

Attempts to file vaccination-related bills in previous sessions have led to strong reactions from members of the medical community.

Amedee, in 2019, filed a bill similar to House Bill 467 that was lobbied against by several health groups and ultimately deferred.

A more explosive moment came as Sen. John Milkovich, in 2019, declared on the floor of the state Senate that “autism did not exist” when he was growing up and could be linked to vaccines. He also claimed that “tissue from aborted babies is now used in vaccines.”

Milkovich’s statements brought him under fire from the Louisiana Department of Health, national health advocates, and even U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy who admonished the lawmaker for bringing up a claim the medical community says has been proven to be untrue.

The bill which prompted Milkovich’s statement, House Bill 192, proposed by Rep. Barrow, ultimately passed and was signed by the governor.

It allows state residents to securely view, download, and print official copies of their immunization records on demand. These printed records are accepted by schools, employers, state agencies and other organizations that require proof of immunization.

The legislative session begins Monday, March 9 and ends on June 1.

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