Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Legislation Requires Immunization Policies for Child Care Facilities

“The nearly 50,000 child care workers employed in Texas are in close contact with our children on a daily basis,” Keller pediatrician and chair of Texas Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health Jason V. Terk, MD, told legislators at a public hearing today. “Requiring licensed child care facilities to create a vaccination policy for their employees is important to protecting Texas’ children from dangerous and preventable diseases.”

Senate Bill 64 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R- Flower Mound) and Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), would require licensed child care facilities to develop and implement an immunization policy for their employees to protect the children in their care from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Dr. Terk said the bill would raise awareness of the need for vaccination among adults with close contact with children, and be another step toward improving accountability and strengthening Texas’ public health system. Legislators passed a similar bill last session requiring hospitals to have a health care worker vaccination policy.

“Like health care workers, these adults experience high exposure to bacteria and viruses. At the same time, unvaccinated child care workers pose a risk to the children in their care,” said Dr. Terk. “[The bill] is a balanced and fair approach that does not encroach on anyone’s personal liberty but rather encourages the best protection of children.”

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