Are childcare workers required to be vaccinated prior to working with children?
In the American vaccination landscape, many wrongfully believe that only children are subject to the mandates of the “standard” inoculation schedule. However, as lawmakers in California recently decided, adults employed in certain industries are also required to submit to the state’s predetermined routine. In other words, their employment depends upon meeting the vaccination requirement.
Pursuant to a bill drafted by State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), all staff and volunteers working in licensed childcare centers would be required to show proof of immunization against diseases including influenza, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles. If passed, the bill would take effect in September, 2016, and workers would be required to submit annual paperwork showing proof of continued compliance and regular flu shot vaccinations.
As with most vaccination-imposition laws, there are several narrow exceptions that apply to childcare workers wishing to forgo the requirement. For one thing, a worker could provide a written statement from his or her physician explaining that the worker is immune from the condition in question. In other cases, a childcare staff member may be exempt if, due to an underlying health condition, the vaccination would present a medical risk. While a staff member may lawfully decline the influenza vaccination and still remain within the bounds of the statute, there is no exemption for measles or pertussis inoculation.
In a statement issued by the bill’s sponsor, “[C]hildren who are too young to be vaccinated rely on those around them to be immunized to prevent the spread of disease….This bill will protect children in day care by requiring those who care for them to maintain immunity.”