A half-dozen families are suing the state Department of Health and Human Resources because they say the department is illegally requiring school children to receive certain vaccines.And:
If successful, the lawsuit could block vaccination requirements for middle and high school students that are in effect this fall for the first time.
The lawsuit was filed late last week with the state Supreme Court. The suit accuses DHHR of improperly adding vaccines to a list of state-mandated vaccines for public school students.
Lane said the lawsuit is not about immunizations in general, but instead about DHHR overstepping its authority. He said DHHR is requiring the vaccine in a rule but that DHHR can't require vaccines without legislative approval.It's about the vaccines; at least be honest about that. Previously, the West Virginia DHHS required the recommended series of IPV (inactivated polio virus vaccine), DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Hepatitis B and Varicella. West Virginia does not allow for religious nor philosophical vaccine exemptions. The DHHS has added:
"I guess, on their own initiative, the agency has attempted to bypass the Legislature and, in our view, illegally add these other compulsory immunization requirements," Lane said. "And the rest of that is if parents do not comply with these additional requirements - the five additional - then their child cannot go to school in West Virginia."
A recent rule change requires incoming seventh graders in the state to show proof they received one dose of meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines starting in the 2012-2013 school year. Incoming high school seniors must prove they received booster doses after the age of 16. Without vaccination proof from before or shortly after the beginning of the school year, students cannot attend school, Associated Press reports.That is a booster of Tdap or TD if the child is pertussis exempt for medical reasons and a meningitis (MPSV4 or MCV4) vaccine series of two. I don't see how Mr. Lane claims it is five additional requirements.
Mr. Lane also refers to a State Code that requires the DHHS to obtain legislative approval for changes in school vaccine requirements. I cannot find any State Code which specifies this but I am also not a lawyer. I did find this document which seems to contradict Mr. Lane's claim that the DHHS must acquire State Legislative approval first:
Commissioner’s Authority to Change Immunization Requirements for New School
The Commissioner may, by Order filed with the Secretary of State, modify, add or delete vaccines to be required for new school enterers. The Commissioner’s Orders shall be made after consultation with the State Health Officer and shall be consistent with the immunization schedules referenced in section 3 of this rule. The Commissioner’s Orders shall not exceed those recommendations.In any event, it will be interesting to see what the ruling(s) on this suit will be.