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State holds public virtual hearing for school vaccination amendments

The hearing lasted just over an hour and included many comments against mandated vaccinations.
Credit: AP
A Seattle public school student receives a chickenpox (also known as varicella) vaccine at a free immunization clinic Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Seattle. The school district provided the vaccination clinic ahead of the "exclusion date" of Jan. 8, 2020, when student records must reflect updated immunization status or students cannot attend school. Students will be excluded from school until they are fully vaccinated, are in the process of completing immunizations or have a Certificate of Exemption. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control and the Maine Department of Education held a virtual meeting, open for public testimony, on Monday to discuss amendments for vaccination requirements for students in Maine schools. 

This comes as changes to the state's school immunization laws, as voted on and passed by Mainers, take effect on September 1.

LD 798 eliminates religious and philosophical exemptions for receiving the immunizations required by schools and daycares.

The state is proposing what it calls "routine technical rules changes" to the requirements.

These include creating a vaccination schedule for pre-kindergarten students and clarifying who has the authority to dismiss or exclude a child from school when they don't meet requirements. 

They are also proposing to require that schools include information about stricter communication policies that have been adopted locally in an annual report.

There seemed to be confusion from the public about the reason for the meeting. Many voiced their feelings about mandating vaccines even though the meeting was set to hear about procedural requirements regarding the new law. 

"The law is what the law is and it's passed. People speaking out now isn't going to change the law.' commented one person named Cindy. 

The state-mandated vaccines do not include COVID-19 or flu vaccines for the 2021-2022 school year. 

According to Bridget Bagley, policy analyst for the Maine CDC, adding those vaccines would require legislative review. 

To get more information about the state's vaccination requirements click here.

Watch the meeting here:

NEWS CENTER Maine Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine story YouTube playlist