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Vast Majority of Reston Students Have Required Vaccinations

by Karen Goff February 4, 2015 at 4:20 pm 2,001 26 Comments

MMR vaccine/file photoWhile no cases of measles have been diagnosed in Fairfax County recently, the discussion of state-mandated vaccines is a hot topic this week.

More than 100 people have been diagnosed with the disease in the last month. At least 90 of the cases were believed to have begun when a person contagious with the disease visited Disneyland.

The measles vaccine has been commonplace since the mid-1960s. Prior to the 1960s, nearly 4 million Americans under age 15 contracted the disease annually, says the United States Centers for Disease Control. The CDC had considered measles in the U.S. eradicated in 2000.

But last year the CDC reported 54 people in the U.S. have reported being infected with measles in January and February alone. 

While most people recover well, measles can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death, says the CDC.

Nearly 95 percent of kindergartners nationwide were vaccinated against measles, according to the CDC. However, 48 states allow for exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

Mississippi and West Virginia, the two states that allow only medical exemptions to vaccination, have had no measles cases this year.

Virginia is among the states that allow for medical or religious exemptions.

In Fairfax County, students are required to have a long list of vaccinations, including measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, Hepatitis B, tetanus and whooping cough, among others.

Students must show vaccination proof to enter kindergarten and again to enter sixth grade, unless they opt out for religious or medical reasons. There is also a small number of “conditionally enrolled” students whose records are in the process of being obtained.

In 2011, the medical journal Pediatrics said that one in 10 parents don’t vaccinate within a vaccine schedule recommended by the CDC. About 13 percent either delayed, skipped or made up their own vaccine schedule.

In Fairfax County, the majority follow the vaccination guidelines, said an FCPS spokesman. The Virginia Department of Health has a tool to break down immunization records by school.

Here is how Reston schools stack up with overall vaccinations, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Reston students vaccinations/Credit: Virginia Department of Health

  • HIPAA

    Do you really think its appropriate to post this information for schools with such a small 6th grade population? Most of these communities are small enough that people can guess who the 1 religious exemption is. This is private information that can be obtained if the right correlations are found. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/administrative/privacyrule/ RestonNow should remove this image.

    • sickofpoliticalcorrectness

      If they haven’t had treatment then that information isn’t covered under HIPAA, additionally if someone has the potential of becoming a medical risk (such as AIDS carriers are required) that risk should be provided. I clearly don’t know details about every religion, but what religion does a vaccination go against.

    • MaggieSays
      • Chuck Morningwood

        Wow, Maggie. So I can call up my local school and request your child’s medical records?

        • MaggieSays

          Did you read the information? FERPA still protects the child’s information, but this sort of reporting doesn’t violate either HIPAA or FERPA. For what it’s worth you have the freedom to try and call the school and request anyone’s records, just as they have the right to say no. 🙂

    • MaggieSays

      1. Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule apply to an elementary or secondary school?
      Generally, no. In most cases, the HIPAA Privacy Rule does not apply to an elementary or
      secondary school because the school either: (1) is not a HIPAA covered entity or (2) is a HIPAA
      covered entity but maintains health information only on students in records that are by definition
      “education records” under FERPA and, therefore, is not subject to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
      • The school is not a HIPAA covered entity. The HIPAA Privacy Rule only applies to health
      plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that transmit health
      information electronically in connection with certain administrative and financial
      transactions (“covered transactions”). See 45 CFR § 160.102. Covered transactions are
      those for which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has adopted a standard,
      such as health care claims submitted to a health plan. See the definition of “transaction” at
      45 CFR § 160.103 and 45 CFR Part 162, Subparts K–R. Thus, even though a school
      employs school nurses, physicians, psychologists, or other health care providers, the school
      is not generally a HIPAA covered entity because the providers do not engage in any of the
      covered transactions, such as billing a health plan electronically for their services. It is
      expected that most elementary and secondary schools fall into this category.
      • The school is a HIPAA covered entity but does not have “protected health information.”
      Where a school does employ a health care provider that conducts one or more covered
      transactions electronically, such as electronically transmitting health care claims to a health
      plan for payment, the school is a HIPAA covered entity and must comply with the HIPAA
      Transactions and Code Sets and Identifier Rules with respect to such transactions. However,
      even in this case, many schools would not be required to comply with the HIPAA Privacy
      Rule because the school maintains health information only in student health records that are
      “education records” under FERPA and, thus, not “protected health information” under
      3HIPAA. Because student health information in education records is protected by FERPA,
      the HIPAA Privacy Rule excludes such information from its coverage. See the exception at
      paragraph (2)(i) to the definition of “protected health information” in the HIPAA Privacy
      Rule at 45 CFR § 160.103. For example, if a public high school employs a health care
      provider that bills Medicaid electronically for services provided to a student under the IDEA,
      the school is a HIPAA covered entity and would be subject to the HIPAA requirements
      concerning transactions. However, if the school’s provider maintains health information
      only in what are education records under FERPA, the school is not required to comply with
      the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Rather, the school would have to comply with FERPA’s privacy
      requirements with respect to its education records, including the requirement to obtain
      parental consent (34 CFR § 99.30) in order to disclose to Medicaid billing information about
      a service provided to a student.
      2. How does FERPA apply to health records on students maintained by elementary or
      secondary schools?
      At the elementary or secondary school level, students’ immunization and other health records that
      are maintained by a school district or individual school, including a school-operated health clinic,
      that receives funds under any program administered by the U.S. Department of Education are
      “education records” subject to FERPA, including health and medical records maintained by a school
      nurse who is employed by or under contract with a school or school district. Some schools may
      receive a grant from a foundation or government agency to hire a nurse. Notwithstanding the
      source of the funding, if the nurse is hired as a school official (or contractor), the records maintained
      by the nurse or clinic are “education records” subject to FERPA.
      Parents have a right under FERPA to inspect and review these health and medical records because
      they are “education records” under FERPA. See 34 CFR §§ 99.10 – 99.12. In addition, these
      records may not be shared with third parties without written parental consent unless the disclosure
      meets one of the exceptions to FERPA’s general consent requirement. For instance, one of these
      exceptions allows schools to disclose a student’s health and medical information and other
      “education records” to teachers and other school officials, without written consent, if these school
      officials have “legitimate educational interests” in accordance with school policy. See 34 CFR §
      99.31(a)(1). Another exception permits the disclosure of education records, without consent, to
      appropriate parties in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of the information is necessary
      to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. See 34 CFR §§ 99.31(a)(10) and
      99.36.

    • FERPA

      Publishing the exemption details provides no service to the general public. Lack of vaccination does not put those that are vaccinated at risk. There is no need to call out those who chose not to vaccinate to the public.

      • Karen Goff

        I am calling out a number. Not a name. There is a big difference. This will also help to calm fears of public school parents who may be under the impression there are hundreds of students unvaccinated in the public schools. There are not.

        • Chuck Morningwood

          You’re missing the point, Karen. The numbers in the classroom are small enough that one could likely correctly guess which child is unvaccinated and, therefore, subject them to ridicule from their peers or the parent’s of the peers.

          If you doubt this, just look at some of the venom that the holier-than-thou Vaxxers spill towards ANYBODY who takes exception with the CDC vaccination schedule.

          • Karen Goff

            I get the point. I highly, highly doubt that will happen. A story with facts from the state dept of health is not a witch hunt. People are entitled to take the FCPS exception. They can also opt out of the pledge of allegiance and being in photos for privacy reasons. They can also take the day off for Rosh Hashanah. Personal decisions, but hardly private information.

          • Adrian Havill

            Really a dumb argument, Most of us have better things to do than to try and spot the child in the classroom and people in Reston actually respect the tiny minority that cannot inoculate a child for medical or religious reasons if it’s genuine/

          • HP

            Who gives a sh*t. Vaccinate your friggin kids!

          • Duncan Idaho

            Calling “vaxxers” holier than thou sounds pretty venomous.

      • wildcatmack

        these are statistics, not names.

      • Concerned Scientist

        Vaccines do have a 3% fail rate, and outbreaks are caused by having enough non-vaccinated to vaccinated in an area. If herd immunity were to fail and a full scale outbreak were to happen, then that greatly increases the odds that someone who’s vaccine was ineffective will get sick. So, yes, they could be at risk. Everyone being vaccinated protects the population from infection when there are insignificant numbers of people without the vaccine or who’s vaccine fails. The more people who don’t vaccinate, the greater the risk to everyone.

        A 3% risk is too much when you are talking about these types of diseases. People have a right to know when a situation exists where their children could be at an unnecessary risk due to poor and uninformed/illogical decisions.

      • Adrian Havill

        Nobody is being called out. No names are given.

    • Karen Goff

      Not at all. I am not IDing them by name. This info is public on the VA dept of health website and therefore available for news use.

  • HmmmmmmDC

    As a parent of two students who attend the schools in the story, I’m relieved to know there are only a few students that are not Immunized. Thanks for publishing valuable information.

    • Karen Goff

      You are welcome. Thank you for seeing the point I am not calling anyone out. Just showing that the vast majority are immunized.

      • Gregory Toland

        Karen — Coming from someone who has worked in the HIPAA world for over 10 years you did not break any rules, even if HIPAA did apply which in this case it did not. Those that say you did break some rule are surely not a HIPAA Compliance Officer or anyone who deals with HIPAA data on an every day basis. As to picking out the child in the classroom Karen posted at the school level, not the classroom level. If you think you can pick the 1 student out of 90 at Aldrin or the 3 out of 51 at Armstrong I have a lottery ticket I want you to pick the winning numbers on.

  • Mom

    This is the kind of local reporting I have come to expect and appreciate from RestonNow. I am happy to know that my children’s elementary school is well vaccinated.

    • Karen Goff

      Thank you

  • LC

    I was very happy to see this chart because my husband and I were just discussing our interest in knowing the vaccine rates at the schools our children will be attending in a few years.

  • Molly

    “Mississippi and West Virginia, the two states that allow only medical exemptions to vaccination, have had no measles cases this year.” Should also be noted that the same goes for the other 30 states that allow religious and medical exemptions.

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