Ohio Lawmakers Propose Vaccine Requirements for Children to Attend Daycare


With the outbreak of both Measles and Mumps, lawmakers have proposed vaccinations for all children enrolled in a licensed childcare center.

The state representatives who proposed the bill said the recent Mumps and Measles outbreaks show the necessity of this legislation, but others say it's just a reactionary policy.

Two state lawmakers said they want to correct, what they call, a gap in state law.

“Ohio is actually the only state in the nation that doesn't require immunization for children to attend licensed childcare centers or preschools,” Ohio State Representative Nickie Antonio said.

On Wednesday, state representatives Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) announced their proposal to require all children to be vaccinated before they walk through the doors of any childcare center licensed through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Those backing the bill said it's a matter of public health and education.

Jonathan Thackeray of the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “Parents are scared to vaccinate their children and their fears are based on old science that has been shown to be poor and inaccurate.”

Right now, all licensed childcare providers in Ohio require a medical form to be signed by a physician, but vaccinations are only listed as recommended. Under the proposal, they would be required.

Ohio State Representative Ryan Smith said, “The parent continues to take the form to the child care center and the center incurs no new duties.”

Like the state's current law requiring students who attend public school to be vaccinated, the bill does have exemptions, including for medical reasons or reasons of conscience, including religion.

J.R. McMillan is an opponent of the vaccination requirements. He said the proposal is going too far.

“I will have daycare centers that go largely unregulated because they decide the licensure is not worth it, in order to be able to accept this growing population of children who have a medical contraindication whose parents have legitimate safety concerns with the effectively”

 The current proposal doesn't outline any potential penalties for childcare providers who don't abide by the requirements.