Recently, OKHPR was made aware that the former link to find vaccine exemptions on the State Department of Health website was now gone. We made sure a copy was available on our website and then got to work to find out what was going on.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health has made a number of changes to the vaccine exemption form. The biggest change is that now, instead of a parent turning in the exemption form into their school and then the school sending this form to the State Department of Health, parents are being told to send this form themselves to the State Department of Health who will then send it to the schools after it has been approved or denied.
Above is a copy of the 2nd page of the newly updated 2023 exemption form. To view this form full screen, please click here.
Additionally, we recently found out that the Immunization Department had a backlog of exemptions and as a result one school in eastern Oklahoma did not get approval for two students so they DID NOT allow those students to attend and thus the students were suspended due to excessive absences. We are calling on Governor Stitt, who is head of this agency and the Oklahoma Legislature to take action on the exemption process which has been a part of state law since 1970.
Contact Governor Stitt and your State Legislators to ensure they are aware of these problems! Ask Governor Stitt and your State Legislator to go back to the more streamlined process of parents turning in the exemption to schools, and school submitting it to the Oklahoma Department of Health and allow students to attend school while awaiting “approval”.
OKHPR has already begun working on legislation ideas to streamline this process and make it nondiscriminatory. Make sure you are paying attention to future OKHPR newsletters and are signed up to receive OKHPR text alerts by texting #S(your district number) to 405-251-8915. For example, if you live in senate district 3 you would text #S3.