Improvements Needed Before New Camp Regulations

Proposed local vaccination law needs more work

November 18, 2019

On November 13, I led an effort to table a vote on resolution 418 so that the proposed local law can be improved. The law would require camps to document staff and counselor vaccinations and it needs the following improvements.

1. Collaborate with Stakeholders

To date, the writers and supporters of the local law have not adequately consulted with the people who will be most directly impacted by the local law. The local law seeks to require camps to document vaccinations for youth attendees and counselors. However, the Hudson Youth Department, which runs the very important Oakdale Summer Camp, was not consulted on the local law and has not had a chance to provide feedback. Moreover, the resolution’s supporters did not provide any evidence that any camp, camp staff, or camp attendee has been consulted. Camp staff have expressed concern that this law would limit their ability to hire staff and recruit volunteers to run programs. Consider that many volunteers or prospective employees will find it very difficult to provide proof that they have the chickenpox or Pneumococcal vaccine. The County Public Health Department and Youth Bureau should meet with camp operators, counselors, and families to build consensus.

2. Create Equity

Many adults don’t have documentation of their vaccinations and immunities, especially those that haven’t had regular health insurance. Rather than create barriers for underinsured workers to access job opportunities, the local law needs to help workers access safe and healthy work opportunities.

3. Use Science

The resolution calls for a list of requirements significantly more stringent than the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. The CDC varies its recommendations based on age group. However, the resolution does not contain this level of nuance. The resolution should use the best available science as the framework for its requirements.

4. Be Transparent

The proposed local law is not available to the public and was only made available to me one hour before our vote. The proposed law should be published on the county website and should be updated as it is revised.

5. Use Evidence and Case Studies

The resolution’s supporters did not provide any evidence that the new regulations will have a positive impact nor did they provide any examples of other counties that have enacted similar laws. We should use best practices to guide our public health policy.

Contact your supervisor and share your support for a more collaborative vaccination policy.