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Mercury-Free Vaccine Act
Exemption Notification to the General Assembly


January 3, 2006

Honorable Emil Jones, Jr.
President
Illinois Senate
Room 327
State House
Springfield , IL 62706

Honorable Michael J. Madigan
Speaker
Illinois House of Representatives
Room 300
State House
Springfield , IL 62706

Dear President Jones and Speaker Madigan:

As you are aware, Public Act 94-0614, Mercury-Free Vaccine Act, becomes effective on January 1, 2006. This Act requires vaccines to be mercury-free except for trace amounts, but provides in the statute a means for the Department to evaluate and assess the needs of Illinois citizens to have access to vaccines.

Section 10 paragraph (3), requires that upon issuing an exemption, the Illinois Department of Public Health shall, within 48 hours, notify the legislature about any exemption and about the Department’s findings justifying the exemptions approval. The Illinois Department of Public Health hereby notifies the General Assembly that it has filed a statewide Declaration of Exemption on behalf of public and private health care providers for the following vaccines affected by the Act: Influenza, Japanese Encephalitis, combined Tetanus-Diphtheria, and Meningococcal vaccines. The Declaration of Exemption and requisite justification are attached for your information.

The Illinois Department of Public Health supports efforts to ensure vaccine safety. It has been committed to using preservative-free vaccines for its Vaccines for Children programs, beginning in 1999. However, for the reasons cited in the attached exemption, it is imperative that the people of Illinois continue to have access to life-saving vaccines when necessary, without potential compromise to health and safety. If you have questions about this Declaration of Exemption, please contact Marilyn Thomas, Chief Counsel (Acting), 217-782-2043 or TTY (for hearing impaired use only) 800-547-0466

Sincerely,

Eric E. Whitaker, M.D., M.P.H.
Director

cc: Senator Don Harmon
Marilyn Thomas
Denise Gaines





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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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