Bill to ban immunization requirements in higher education advances

January 25, 2012

Universities and community colleges in Arizona would not be allowed to require their students be immunized, under a bill that won the approval of a state House committee Wednesday.  From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Mark Brodie reports.

Arizona Capitol A bill regarding immunization requirements for institutions of higher education in Arizona won approval from a House committee Wednesday. (Photo by Mark Brodie - KJZZ)

MARK BRODIE: The state’s three public universities all generally require students to show they’ve been vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. That does not apply to community college students, except in some areas of study, like those that involve health care. State Representative Eddie Farnsworth, a Gilbert Republican, says he decided to sponsor the bill after a constituent told him a community college would not let him take classes to get trained as a certified nursing assistant, because he hadn’t been immunized.

EDDIE FARNSWORTH: This just says if somebody wants to enroll in college or university, the fact that they don’t have immunization is not sufficient to keep them from enrolling.

BRODIE: Farnsworth says his measure would not apply to outside entities, like hospitals, so students whose classes involve time at those places would still have to follow their immunization requirements. And, it would not stop schools from collecting information about vaccinations. But Flagstaff Democrat Tom Chabin says the proposal could cause health problems.

TOM CHABIN: I ask you to look at the list of those who oppose this bill, and consider their credibility in the context of public health.

BRODIE: That list included the Arizona Medical Association, Public Health Association, Nurses Association and Academy of Family Physicians. Despite that opposition, the House panel approved the bill Wednesday. It now moves on for debate in the full chamber.

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