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For Release:
June 15, 2009

Heather Howard
Commissioner

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(609) 984-7160


 
DHSS Proposes Amendments at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4, Governing Immunization of Pupils in School


 

The Communicable Disease Service of the Division of Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health in the Public Health Services Branch of the Department of Health and Senior Services (Department) is proposing amendments at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4, governing Immunization of Pupils in School.  The notice of proposal appears in the June 15, 2009 issue of the New Jersey Register.  LexisNexis® provides free on-line public access to the New Jersey Administrative Code and the New Jersey Register at http://lexisnexis.com/njoal.

 

          N.J.A.C. 8:57-4, also known as Chapter 14 of the State Sanitary Code, establishes uniform immunization requirements applicable to children attending schools, preschools, and child care facilities in New Jersey.  The purpose of the subchapter is to ensure that those children have been immunized against specific vaccine-preventable diseases with recommended vaccines in order to prevent the transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases, collect data on the immunization status of those children, identify areas of the State where immunization rates are not adequate, and determine appropriate intervention.

 

          The Department proposes both technical and substantive amendments at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.  The substantive amendments include the following:

 

          • An amendment at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.4(a) to revise the existing text in order to more clearly articulate the requirements for obtaining a religious exemption from immunizations and dispel confusion about when it is appropriate to grant a religious exemption.  The proposed amendment at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.4(a) would include a citation to N.J.S.A. 26:1A-9.1, which sets forth the specific statutory requirements that a parent or guardian of a child attending a New Jersey school, preschool or child care center must comply with to receive a religious exemption from immunizations on “the ground that the immunization interferes with the free exercise of the pupil's religious rights.”  

          • Amendments at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.10(j) and 4.20(b) to clarify that the Tdap vaccine and meningococcal vaccine requirements, respectively, only apply to children in Grade Six or a higher grade level. 

          • Amendments at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.10(j) and 4.20(b) to establish that the vaccines apply to children that are “attending or” transferring into a New Jersey school that meet the age and grade requirements set forth the in the rules.  

 

          The proposed amendments would not add any new vaccines to the existing required vaccines at N.J.A.C. 8:57-4.

 

          The Department will convene a public hearing on the proposed amendments between 10:00 A.M. and 11:00 A.M., or until completion of testimony from persons on the list of speakers, whichever is later, on Friday, August 14, 2009 at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, First Floor Auditorium, Health and Agriculture Building, 369 South Warren Street (at Market Street), Trenton, NJ 08608.  Persons wishing to comment on the proposal at the public hearing who wish to be placed on the list of speakers are requested to telephone Ms. Chari Otero at 609-588-7512 by August 7, 2009 and to bring an extra written copy of their remarks for submission to the public record.

 

          The public has until August 14, 2009 to comment on the notice of proposal.  Persons wishing to comment on the proposal must submit their comments in writing through regular mail to Ruth Charbonneau, Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Health and Senior Services, PO Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360.  Written comments on the proposal must be postmarked on or before August 14, 2009, which is the close of the 60-day public comment period.

 

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