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Summary: SB 64 would require child care facilities licensed by the Department of State Health Services to develop and implement policies to protect child patients from vaccine-preventable diseases. Among other things, each facility would have to require its employee to get vaccines based on their risk of exposure to children. Facilities would have to exempt employees if they have conditions, stipulated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which make vaccines harmful. SB 64 would require facilities to create procedures for exempt employees that mitigate their risk to children, such as wearing gloves and masks. Policies adopted must prohibit retaliation against non-immunized employees and each facility must operate a data base that shows which vaccinations employees have or have not obtained, and each policy must state the punishments for employees that do not conform to a facility’s vaccination policy. Policies must contain provisions that allow for employees objecting based on reasons of conscience, such as religion, to be exempted from vaccination and SB 64 gives the Executive Commissioner of Health and Human Services Commission to implement SB 64’s provisions.
Analysis: SB 64 would increase regulations on licensed child care facilities and employees. SB 64 does have provisions that allow employees to refuse vaccination for medical or conscientious reasons, but it still requires facilities to compensate with other policies. Children attending child care in Texas are already required to have age appropriate immunizations. The committee bill analysis offered no evidence that vaccination for child care workers will significantly prevent vaccine-preventable diseases, or that there is an epidemic of vaccine-preventable diseases being transmitted at child care facilities. Furthermore, numerous professions throughout Texas employ people who have contact with children but are not required to be vaccinated. We do not oppose vaccination; however we do oppose expanding government's regulatory power over private enterprise. We oppose this legislation.