This week parents across the state started receiving letters like the one to the right from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) addressed to “The Parents” of their soon to be kindergartners. In short, the form discusses how protecting Hoosier children from vaccine preventable diseases is of highest importance of public health and to ensure this measure is carried out certain vaccinations are required* for the child to begin Kindergarten in the fall. Utilizing a religious exemption nullifies the required vaccines. If you have questions about the available exemptions, please check out our blog post HERE.
I have received a few concerned phone calls and text messages about the meaning of these letters. Certainly, a letter like this would frighten Hoosiers who have declined one or more of the vaccines listed on the form. To clarify, all this letter means is that ISDH is reminding you to take your child in for the remainder of the vaccinations required* for school. Simple as that.
Many might wonder what steps to take next. Some families may opt to call their provider to double check vaccination status, verifying what their child may need, and work with the provider accordingly. Alternatively, some families may object to the missing vaccinations and not want to pursue scheduling them. For the later of you, you will just need to submit an exemption form to the school which is found in the blog post mentioned above.
Parents may also be concerned about how the ISDH was able to obtain the individual records. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to delve a little further into “CHIRP” or the Children & Hoosiers Immunization Registry Program. This program is run by the state board of health and allows physicians and other health care providers to enter the immunization records of patients. Previously, I had believed that this was something an individual must agree to, however in reviewing the exclusion form that is not correct. Providers and other authorized users, like school nurses, may submit immunization records without consent of the individual, parent, or guardian. You can read more on CHIRP HERE or HERE.
While CHIRP may be helpful for tracking immunizations across multiple providers some may feel it is a violation of privacy. It IS possible to remove an individual from the registry. I have found two different forms to do so. The first was at the CHIRP homepage, if you scroll down you will see “File downloads” on the right hand side. About half way down you will see “User Removal Form.” You can print the form out and submit as directed on the form.
The second and perhaps more comprehensive option is on the ISDH website. You will find the same form as above in the first section titled “Forms and Reference Guides for Providers.” In the next section “Forms for Parents and Patients” you will find a form titled “Immunization Registry Data Exclusion Request.”
For a government form, this is pretty easy to follow. Fill out the information at the top and then select the exemption type in section B. Most likely you will want to complete both types. You may wish to fill out the form and make copies. Keep one copy for yourself, submit another to the address on the form, and then to any additional to providers.
Prior to removing an individual from the registry I strongly recommend collecting all data, printing it off, and storing it in a secure location. You never know if you will need this information in the future and it is better to be safe than sorry. Please see section D of the Immunization Registry Data Exclusion Request for details.
Once removed from the registry the ISDH and the public-school systems will not have access to records and you will no longer receive letters as mentioned above. I hope this has answered all your questions about the letter and what your options are. Please feel free to message us with any further questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today we will talk about vaccine exemptions!
This will be one of the most sought-after blog posts I ever write! Before we get to the details there are a few things you should know. Unfortunately, as you will see below these exemptions do NOT cover all Hoosiers nor do they provide adult protection against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. We sincerely hope that you will take a few moments and complete our petition HERE to protect Hoosiers should vaccines be mandated by employers. This is a very real issue and cannot wait any longer. The team here at Hoosiers for Medical Liberty is working diligently to protect your rights and we cannot do it without you so be sure to sign the petition and share it with your friends.
Once you have completed the petition you will be directed to a membership page where you can become a member for only $10 a year. This membership keeps you up to date on our work, educational events, activities, and funds everything we do! If you can afford more than $10 please consider donating more. We have tried to make membership affordable to all Hoosiers. However, as we continue to work, our costs will surpass the funds we collect through basic membership. Thank you and we hope these exemptions bring you peace of mind!
AS PROMISED: VACCINE EXEMPTIONS!
I was once in your position. Frantically searching to find out how I would be able to work without getting the flu shot or send my kids to daycare or to school without all of the “required” vaccinations. It is TERRIFYING to think that you could potentially be denied work, daycare, or school. Unfortunately, we are not alone. We frequently receive messages about vaccine exemptions and this issue causes great distress for many families across Indiana.
To help alleviate that stress we have tried our best to make this process as simple as possible for you. All you need to do is: download the form relevant to your situation, complete it on a pdf editor or simply print and fill in by hand. By law you are not required to submit anything other than what is included in these forms unless indicated. We do want to be clear in stating that we are NOT a legal firm. We do not offer legal advice or representation.
What is on the form?
Each form will have a place for the date, your name or your child’s name, the requirements for the available exemptions, your signature, and the corresponding Indiana State code at the bottom for reference.
What should I expect when turning in an exemption for daycare/preschool, k-12, or higher education?
If you are filling out an exemption for a daycare, school, or higher education designation you can expect some push back. That is ok. Be polite, firm, and remind them they can review the Indiana state code, which is conveniently located on the form, or they can look it up themselves. Often, parents are asked to fill out a form that the school has, you are not LEGALLY obligated to do so. Some parents will complete it to remain in better graces with the school nurse, others simply decline. Some families like to email the exemption form to the school nurse or other responsible party, this allows for written acknowledgment of receipt upon response and can reduce discomfort for those who are nonconfrontational.
You will be required to complete and turn in a new exemption each year so don’t be surprised when this happens. Sometimes schools will send home a letter with threatening language similar to: “your child is missing some of the required vaccines. You have until *date* to complete the vaccinations or your child will not be allowed to attend school.” When this occurs, you need to turn in another religious exemption form for that year or remind the staff that you had submitted a religious exemption at the beginning of the year. Another common occurrence is the request for CHIRP authorization. While this doesn’t fall under the exemption, you have the right to revoke participation in the CHIRP system. Read more about how to remove an individual from CHIRP HERE.
Each code can be found here:
What should I expect when completing a Healthcare Worker Influenza exemption?
As a nurse, I had no idea Indiana code providing exemptions for healthcare workers existed, and I am sure many of you will be amazed to learn this as well. Healthcare workers across the state have endured significant harassment and bullying over flu vaccines and we are excited to provide some education on this exemption.
There are a few stipulations you need to be aware of and we encourage everyone to exercise their rights in accordance with this code. You are ultimately responsible for the interactions with your employer. Again, we are NOT a legal firm. We do not offer legal advice or representation. Nothing in this section must be taken as legal advice, we encourage you to seek out legal counsel if you have any questions or concerns prior to turning in this exemption.
Indiana code 16-28-14.5 offers four (4) exemption options for the influenza vaccine to employees of a “comprehensive care facility” who “have direct contact with a patient or resident of the health facility.” According to IC 16-28-2.5-3 a “comprehensive care facility” is defined as “a health facility that provides, nursing care, room, food, laundry, administration of medications, special diets, treatments, and that may provide rehabilitative and restorative therapies under the order of an attending physician.” Essentially this covers most hospitals, long term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities and other inpatient rehab facilities. Below you will see the four options you have to choose from.
We have heard countless stories of hospital employees who are being coerced into receiving a flu vaccine and know it is imperative to get this information out as soon as possible. We have had reports of health facilities administering “religion tests” for those submitting exemptions or denying an exemption entirely. I am sure if you are seeking this form for yourself you are already aware that you can anticipate some push back, but again, be firm yet polite and remind them that they can review the Indiana state code conveniently provided on the bottom of the form. If you are fearful of retribution or confrontation at the time of returning this form you may decide to email your exemption form through your work platform to Employee Health Services or to Human Resources. Keeping communication regarding your exemption through email provides you written documentation of the receipt and response to your exemption. It may be advisable to print out communications at the time they are received and save hard copies.
Patient Influenza/Pneumococcal vaccine exemption
This is another exemption I was unaware of even though I would often send patients to health care facilities that “require” influenza (flu) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines prior to admission. I don’t remember ever having a patient object; however, it was always presented as a prerequisite to being admitted. You may consider providing this exemption letter after you or your loved one has been accepted as a patient to the facility of your choice. It may be considered discrimination if a patient has previously been accepted to a facility prior to receiving an exemption form, and then is denied admission after. In many cases vaccinations are given on the day prior to discharge from a hospital and this may help you. Much like the healthcare worker exemption IC 16-28-14 offers four (4) exemption options as listed below.
I think that concludes the post and should help you achieve your desired outcome. Please email us at email@example.com with your success stories! Alternatively, we will start collecting stories from those of you who have faced discrimination or harassment due to vaccination status soon. Keep an eye on the blog for info!
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to sign the petition and join as a member!
I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for submitting your petitions. We have decided to streamline this process this process for you! You no longer need to use the PDF in the previous post. All you have to do is click HERE.
Wednesday we will be having another important meeting in attempts to get the Worker Protection Act to be heard in the upcoming session, so keep them coming! Please continue to share this with your fellow Hoosiers!
Ashley Grogg RN-MSN sharing insights, tips, and updates on Medical Liberty throughout the Hoosier state.