Chapter 76 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 15 and inserting in place thereof the following new section:-
Section 15: Vaccination and immunization
Section 15. No child shall, except as hereinafter provided, be admitted to school except upon presentation of a physician's certificate that the child has been successfully immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles and poliomyelitis and such other communicable diseases as may be specified from time to time by the department of public health.
A child shall be admitted to school upon certification (a “Medical Certification”) by a physician that the physician has personally examined the child and that in the physician's opinion the totality of the child’s medical circumstances is such that the child's health would be endangered by such vaccination or by any of such immunizations. Such opinion may be based upon such factors as are deemed relevant by the physician in the physician's independent medical judgment including, among other factors, concerns regarding an increased risk of adverse events, family history, or exacerbation of pre-existing medical conditions relating to the child. The Medical Certification shall be submitted at the beginning of each school year to the physician in charge of the school health program.
In the absence of an emergency or epidemic of disease declared by the department of public health, no child whose parent or guardian states in writing that vaccination or immunization conflicts with the parent or guardian's sincere religious beliefs shall be required to present said physician's certificate in order to be admitted to school.
Medical Certifications shall be confidential, shall not be disclosed to any person outside of the school health program, and shall not be admissible as evidence in any action of any kind before any court, tribunal or agency without express, written consent of the child’s parent or guardian.
In the absence of manifest bad faith, a physician who provides a Medical Certification shall not be subject to disciplinary action by any governing or licensing authority. Medical Certifications may not be used to change or negatively affect a physician’s rating or standing with an employer, insurer, hospital affiliation or academic affiliation.
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