March 15, 2018
Cara M. Christ MD
Arizona Department of Health Services
150 N 18th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85007
RE: Vaccination Rulemaking
Dear Director Christ:
I write on behalf of the Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA) – one of Arizona’s oldest and largest membership organizations dedicated to improving the health of Arizona citizens and communities. An affiliate of the American Public Health Association, our members include health care professionals, state and county health employees, health educators, community advocates, doctors, nurses and students.
The AzPHA has examined the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) proposed Rulemaking to revise the rules in 9 A.A.C. 6, Article 7, Required Immunizations for Child Care or School Entry. We are generally supportive of the rule package as it appears to clarify and improve the requirements for personal, medical and religious exemptions, makes the rules more consistent with standard medical practices, and better allows for electronic records and record-keeping.
However, we believe that the Department is missing an opportunity to update the child care and school vaccine requirements so that they are consistent with the CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations. As you know, rulemaking packages are resource intensive and time consuming, and this may be the only opportunity for many years to update the Department’s vaccine requirements.
We urge the ADHS to update the requirements so that they (over time) are consistent with ACIP recommendations by adding a 2nd Varicella vaccine, the PCV 13 series, Rotavirus, and 2 Hepatitis A doses to the child care requirements. We also urge you to add a 2nd Meningococcal vaccine, and the Meningococcal B at 16 years old to the school requirements. We recognize that ARS 36-672 (C) prevents you from being able to add the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine to the vaccine requirements.
We understand that the requirements may need to be phased in so that pediatricians and families have the time needed to become compliant with the new requirements.
For example, the ADHS could write the final Rule such that the vaccines with the highest current coverage levels (as reported in ASIIS) are phased in over the next 18 months. Vaccines with lower current coverage levels could be phased in at later dates.
This approach would allow the Department to responsibly phase the vaccine requirements using coverage projections while being a good steward of future Department Rulemaking resources and at the same time secure a healthier future for Arizona children and families.
Will Humble, MPH
Arizona Public Health Association