NJ Vaccination Choice Legislative Recap 2012/2013 – One Major Victory and a Few Minor Victories

Any of these bills can be accessed by going to the NJ legislative website. You will have to click on the 2012-2013 year and type in the bill number. You can see the whole voting history and how each legislator voted. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/

Click Here for the new bill numbers and legislation for 2014

trenton_legislationThe legislative session that ended in January 2014, was fraught with multiple, simultaneous battles.

1. S1759 sought to severely restrict the religious exemption to vaccination for New Jersey children.
Happily, due to the ongoing efforts of the NJ Coalition for Vaccination Choice, and due to the numerous calls, emails and faxes from others who read this site and answered the calls to action, we were able to keep the bill from being passed. This was a major victory, and everyone who engaged their legislators is directly responsible for stopping a very detrimental bill. Thank you, everyone! Another bill to restrict the religious exemption A1931 has been introduced for the 2014-2015 legislative session.
2. A2172/S1464, Requires certain health care facilities to offer, and health care workers to receive, annual influenza vaccination.
This bill is sitting on Governor Christie’s desk right now. It was altered slightly, for the better, due to the efforts of the Coalition and others who testified before the Assembly and Senate Health Committees, and those who called their legislators. Language was inserted protecting currently employed health care workers. They cannot be discharged or face a reduction in pay for refusing a flu shot. There are a few things that remain concerning about this bill. The bill does not contain any provisions protecting contract workers, new hires, or visiting medical students with direct patient care duties. Another problem stems from its wording that,

“g. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a health care facility from taking measures to protect its patients in the event that a health care worker declines to receive an influenza vaccination, which measures may include, but are not limited to, relocation or change of assignment of a health care worker.2”

Also, the bill’s title is very misleading as to the right of refusal. This bill was pocket vetoed by the Governor. It has been reintroduced as A1936 for the 2014-2015 legislative session.

3. S2567/A3251, Permits pharmacists to administer influenza vaccines to children seven years of age or older.
This bill was made substantially better due to the efforts of everyone who made calls, wrote, and testified. The bill changed from permitting pharmacists to vaccinate children with non-specific vaccines (which could have included Gardasil, DTaP, Menactra, and Flu shots) to limiting it to flu shot administration only. Parental permission and prescriptions were added in, and the prescription must be renewed annually. This bill was signed into law by the Governor.
4. S2832/A3978, requires hospitals and birthing facilities to provide new mothers with information about pertussis vaccines for adults.
This bill does not include any requirement that hospitals and birthing centers provide information on the side effects and risks of pertussis vaccination, and could lead to pressure and coercion of new parents to receive a vaccine that could put themselves and their infant at risk. This bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate, and it is sitting on Governor Christie’s desk for approval, veto, or pocket veto. This bill was signed into law by the Governor.

5. Several bills that were introduced to expand New Jersey’s exemptions to include a conscientious exemption to vaccination sat in committee and were never voted on. The Coalition will continue meeting with legislators this 2014-2015 session.

2014 will be a year of great hope and determination for all of us, as we will work harder and more efficiently toward achieving new and greater victories. Our Coalition has strengthened greatly, and due to the efforts of all of you who read this website, respond to our calls of action, and who otherwise participate actively with your state representatives, we will work more effectively and efficiently in this new legislative session. We have the power, collectively, to make whatever we want happen, if we continuously engage our elected representatives and maintain our level of concerted determination to achieve our goals and preserve the rights of everyone to make informed vaccination choices and decisions.

Click Here for the new bill numbers and legislation for 2014