Maine Medicine Weekly Update
August 06, 2021

In This Issue
Weekly Headline
New Maine Immunization Law for Schools Takes Effect Sep 1
Annual Membership Meeting
Registration Open for MMA’s 168th Annual Membership Meeting (Sep 10-12)
COVID-19 Pandemic Updates, Guidance & News
Resources & News: COVID Vaccination Mandates Dominate Recent Pandemic Discussion
Connecting Providers and Schools for COVID-19 Administration
Maine CDC Health Action Alerts
Maine CDC Investigates Four Recent Cases of Legionella in Bangor Area
Maine CDC Health Alert Network: Varicella (Chickenpox)
Maine CDC Immunizations
Maine CDC Makes New Vaccine Products Available Through Maine Immunization Program (MIP)
Maine CDC Vaccine Provider Training
Independent Physician Practices
JAMA: The Increasing Role of Physician Practices as Bill Collectors—Destined for Failure
AMA Drafts CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule Summary
This Week’s Top Articles from JAMA Network
AMA: What Doctors Wish Patients Knew Series
More News
SUPPORT for ME: Strengthening Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Services for MaineCare Members
Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership’s Renowned Physician Executive Leadership Institute – The Advanced Course
Maine Community Action Partnership: Did You Know?
MMA Mary Cushman, MD Award for Humanitarian Service - 7/30 Nomination Deadline
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)
SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance Initiative
Working with Children & Adolescents? Maine Pediatric & Behavioral Health Partnership (MPBHP) Webinar Series (August thru December 2nd Wednesday of month)
Nurse Practitioner
Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Richmond Area Health Center
Help educate new physicians – join our accredited Family Medicine Residency Program as faculty
Join our region-leading Neuroscience/Stroke Center
Contract Clinical Advisor - Healthcare Coalition of Maine
Medical Director
Northern Light Health is seeking board-eligible/board-certified Cardiologists

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Weekly Headline

New Maine Immunization Law for Schools Takes Effect Sep 1

This is a reminder that a new law removing religious and philosophical exemptions for childhood immunizations to attend school in Maine is set to be implemented this school year, on September 1, 2021.

Students enrolled in grades PreK through 12 are required to be immunized against:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Polio
  • Varicella

* Immunization requirements for preschool students: 4 DTap, 3 Polio, 1 MMR, 1 Varicella

All students enrolled in grades 7-12 also must be immunized against meningococcal disease.

Beginning September 1, 2021, philosophical exemptions and religious exemptions will no longer be allowed as exceptions from immunization requirements.

Medical exemptions are still allowed and are to be provided by the parent/student and in the form of a written statement from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

Those with an IEP who elected a philosophical or religious exemption prior to Sept 01, 2021, may continue to attend school under an existing exemption with a statement from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant confirming consultation that the parent or guardian has been made aware of the risks and benefits associated with the choice to immunize.

Individualized Education Plans (IEP)

Individualized Education Plans are covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Federal laws take priority over any conflicting rules of state law.

Students’ rights under IDEA supersede state law, local school board and school district policies. States cannot enact laws that provide less protection than guaranteed by federal law. Federal IDEA, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH or special education court) and the 9th District Circuit Court explicitly provide for children with IEP’s to be excluded from school immunization requirements.

***Important Note: 504 plans are not covered by IDEA and are therefore not exempt.

According to a Maine DOE sample letter to parents/guardians, “Beginning September 1, 2021 no child will be permitted to attend school without evidence of immunization or proof of immunity against disease.”

However, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the following memo this week.

Preparing Students for 2021-2022 School Year (PDF)

The document lists the various circumstances where exceptions apply, including a one-time written assurance from a parent or guardian that the child will be immunized by private effort within 90 days of enrollment (officially registering) in school or of the child first attending, whichever date is the earliest.

Vax to School Maine

Vax to School Maine is a partnership between the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Maine Immunization Coalition, and Maine Families for Vaccines. The website includes public service announcements on the new law and the following information to help Mainers learn more.

  • Required Vaccines
  • Immunization Schedules for Providers
  • Immunization Schedules for Parents
  • A link to read the new law
  • An FAQ page

More Helpful Links

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