Rockland mandates MMR vaccine for kids, workers at summer camps

MONSEY, Rockland County (WABC) -- Rockland County on Tuesday announced mandated vaccines for all children attending summer camp and for all camp staff.

County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert is notifying parents and camp staff of the mandatory vaccination order, which include day camps, traveling summer day camps, and children's overnight camps.

As of June 4, there are 255 confirmed reported cases of measles in the county since the outbreak began in October 2018. There have been no fatalities in the current outbreak, and only three measles-related deaths in the U.S. in the past two decades.

"For all the families who have already had their children vaccinated, this should be as simple as getting a document from your doctor," County Executive Ed Day said. "Camp operators and directors were notified by letter in mid-May that Commissioner's Orders would be coming, and we're now sharing that information so everyone is prepared for camp this summer."

Officials say children's summer camps must comply with the following or be subject to a fine:

Mandatory vaccinations for campers

--Prior to the start of children's camp, all campers age 4 and older must provide documentation that they have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, or laboratory evidence of immunity to the measles, mumps and rubella. Children between the ages of 12 months and age 4 must provide documentation that they have received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine or laboratory evidence of immunity to the measles, mumps and rubella. Documentation of vaccination must be signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant.

--The only exception that will be allowed for this requirement is if a camper is unable to receive a vaccination due to a medical reason that is documented in a signed letter from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant.

--Although Public Health Law requires religious exemptions to be accepted for schools, there are no such requirements for children's camps, and there will be no allowance for such exemptions under this Commissioner's Order.

--Non-immune children who are undervaccinated or unvaccinated due to a medical reason and non-immune children up to age 4 who are either undervaccinated or unvaccinated shall be excluded from camp if a measles case is identified at your facility. If a measles case is identified at your facility, you must notify the RCDOH immediately, and a new Commissioner's Order will be issued with further instructions.

--Campers over age 4 who have not had the required doses of the MMR vaccine must be instructed to begin receiving immunizations immediately. There is a 28-day wait between receiving the first and second dose of the MMR vaccine. Those who intend to attend a children's camp at the beginning of the season could be delayed if they do not start receiving immunizations promptly.

Mandatory vaccinations for camp staff

-- Prior to the start of children's camp, all camp staff born on or after January 1, 1957 must provide documentation that they have received two doses of the MMR vaccine, or laboratory evidence of immunity to the measles, mumps and rubella. Documentation of vaccination must be signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant.

--The only exception that will be allowed for this requirement is if a camp staff member is unable to receive a vaccination due to a medical reason that is documented in a signed letter from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant.

--Although Public Health Law requires religious exemptions to be accepted for schools, there are no such requirements for children's camps, and there will be no allowance for such exemptions under this Commissioner's Order.

--Non-immune camp staff who are undervaccinated or unvaccinated due to a medical reason shall be excluded from camp if a measles case is identified at your facility. If a measles case is identified at your facility, you must notify the RCDOH immediately, and a new Commissioner's Order will be issued with further instructions.

--Camp staff who have not had both doses of the MMR vaccine must be instructed to begin receiving immunizations immediately. There is a 28-day wait between receiving the first and second doses of the MMR vaccine. Those who intend to work at a children's camp at the beginning of the season could be delayed if they do not start receiving immunizations promptly.

In addition, there is mandatory record-keeping and reporting of vaccination status that camps must follow:

--Children's camps must maintain up to date vaccination records for all campers and all staff for the MMR vaccine and all other statutorily required vaccinations. Compliance with this requirement must be demonstrated during pre-operational inspections before permits to operate will be granted.

--Children's camps must maintain and report a separate and complete list of vaccination status for all campers and all staff. As enrollment typically changes on a week to week basis, the list must be maintained for each week of children's camp. The list shall include each camper's and staff member's (i) name, (ii) date of birth and (iii) dates of first and second MMR vaccines. In lieu of (iii), the list shall indicate there is laboratory evidence of immunity to the measles, mumps and rubella or that there is a medical reason for lack of vaccinations documented by a signed letter from a physician, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant.

--The lists must be kept current and available onsite for inspection.

--Copies of the lists must be submitted to RCDOH by the close of business on the Tuesday following each week of children's camp. The lists must be faxed to (845) 364-2567.

Free MMR vaccines are available at the Rockland County Department of Health, Building A, Exhibition Hall (lobby area), located at 50 Sanatorium Road in Pomona at the following dates and times. No appointments are needed.
--Friday, June 7, from 9:00 am - 11:30 am

--Monday, June 10, from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Free MMR vaccines are also available at the Rockland County Department of Health, Building A, second floor clinic area, located at 50 Sanatorium Road in Pomona at the following dates and times. No appointments are needed.
--Monday, June 17 and June 24 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
--Tuesday, June 11, June 18, and June 25 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
--Wednesday, June 19 and June 26 from 9:00 am -11:30 am
--Thursday, June 13, June 20, and June 27 from 9:00 am - 11:30 am
--Friday, June 21 and June 28 from 9:00 am -11:30 am

"With 22,301 MMR vaccines given, since our outbreak began, we are clearly making progress against this dangerous disease," Day said. "These Orders are the next necessary step in protecting county residents and visitors from measles."

CLICK HERE for more information about measles, or call the New York State Department of Health toll free Measles Information Line at (888) 364-4837.

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