2013 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 19a - Public Health and Well-Being
Chapter 368a - Department of Public Health
Section 19a-131e - Orders of vaccination. Appeal of order. Hearing.
(a) In the event of a public health emergency declared by the Governor under section 19a-131a, the commissioner, as authorized by the Governor pursuant to section 19a-131a, may issue an order for the vaccination of such individuals or individuals present within a geographic area as the commissioner deems reasonable and necessary in order to prevent the introduction or arrest the progress of the communicable disease or contamination that caused the declaration of such public health emergency. The commissioner shall inform individuals subject to such vaccination order of the benefits and risks of the vaccine and an individual’s option to refuse to be vaccinated for any reason, including, but not limited to, health, religious or conscientious objections. No individual shall be vaccinated unless such individual or, if such individual is a minor, such individual’s parent or guardian has provided written consent for such vaccination.
(b) The commissioner may issue an order pursuant to section 19a-131b to quarantine or isolate, as the case may be, any individual or group of individuals who is unable or unwilling for any reason, including, but not limited to, health, religion or conscience to undergo vaccination pursuant to this section. A parent or legal guardian may refuse such vaccination on behalf of a minor in the case where an order of vaccination requires a minor to be vaccinated. For purposes of this subsection, a minor is any person under the age of eighteen. Refusal of such vaccination shall not be grounds for quarantine or isolation without a reasonable belief that the individual or group of individuals is infected with a communicable disease or is contaminated, or may be exposed to a communicable disease or contamination, or may have been exposed to a communicable disease or to contamination, or is at reasonable risk of having a communicable disease or having been contaminated, and poses a reasonable threat to the public health.
(c) Any individual subject to vaccination pursuant to this section may appeal to the probate court for the district in which such individual has been ordered vaccinated, and, if such individual or such individual’s representative asks the court, in writing, including, but not limited to, by means of first class mail, facsimile machine or the Internet, for a hearing, notwithstanding the form of such request, the court shall hold a hearing not later than seventy-two hours after receipt of such request, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. Such request shall be received by the Probate Court not later than forty-eight hours after the individual receives the order. The commissioner may make application to the court to extend the time for a hearing based on extraordinary circumstances. Court fees for such hearing shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Judicial Department, but if funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such purpose, such fees shall be waived by the court. In considering whether to grant such extension, the court shall give due regard to the rights of affected individuals, the protection of the public’s health, the severity of the need and available witnesses and evidence. If such individual cannot appear personally before the court, a hearing shall be conducted only if his or her representative is present. The commissioner shall be a party to the proceedings. The hearing may be held via any means that allow all parties to fully participate in the event an individual may infect or contaminate others.
(d) Notice of the hearing shall be given to the respondent and shall inform the respondent that such respondent or his or her representative has a right to be present at the hearing; that the respondent has a right to counsel; that the respondent has the right to present testimony from a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, as defined in section 20-1; that court fees shall be waived; that the respondent, if indigent or otherwise unable to pay for or obtain counsel, has a right to have counsel appointed to represent the respondent; and that the respondent has a right to cross-examine witnesses testifying at the hearing. If the court finds such respondent is indigent or otherwise unable to pay for or obtain counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for such respondent, unless such respondent refuses counsel and the court finds that the respondent understands the nature of his or her refusal. The court shall provide such respondent a reasonable opportunity to select such respondent’s own counsel to be appointed by the court. If the respondent does not select counsel or if counsel selected by the respondent refuses to represent such respondent or is not available for such representation, the court shall appoint counsel for the respondent from a panel of attorneys admitted to practice in this state provided by the Probate Court Administrator. If the order of vaccination applies to individuals present in a described geographic area, the court may appoint one or more attorneys to represent all the individuals present within the described geographic area where there is a commonality of interests of such individuals, except that an individual may choose to be represented by his or her own attorney on an individual basis. The reasonable compensation of appointed counsel shall be established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, the Judicial Department, but, if funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such purposes, such compensation shall be established by the Probate Court Administrator and paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund.
(e) Prior to such hearing, the Probate Court, such respondent or such respondent’s counsel or the commissioner shall be afforded access to all records including, but not limited to, hospital records if such respondent is hospitalized, and shall be entitled to take notes therefrom. If such respondent is hospitalized at the time of the hearing, the hospital, upon order of the Probate Court, shall make available at such hearing for use by the respondent or his or her counsel all records in its possession relating to the condition of the respondent. All records relating to the condition of the respondent shall be admissible at the request of any party or the Probate Court at the hearing. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent timely objection to the admissibility of evidence in accordance with the rules of civil procedure.
(f) The court shall cause a recording of the testimony at such hearing to be made, to be transcribed only in the event of an appeal from the order rendered. A copy of such transcript shall be furnished without charge to any appellant whom the Probate Court finds unable to pay for the same. The cost of such transcript shall be paid from the funds appropriated by the Judicial Department, but, if funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such purposes, the cost of such transcription shall be established by the Probate Court Administrator and paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund.
(g) At such hearing, the commissioner shall have the burden of showing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the conditions of subsection (a) of this section are met. If the court, at such hearing, finds that vaccination of the respondent is necessary and the least restrictive alternative to protect and preserve the public health, the court shall order the respondent to undergo vaccination, provided the court may order the isolation or quarantine of any respondent who is unable or unwilling for reasons of health, religion or conscience to undergo vaccination, for a period of time sufficient to ensure such respondent is not able to infect or contaminate others.
(h) If the court, at such hearing, fails to find that the conditions required for an order for vaccination under subsection (a) of this section have been proven, it shall vacate the order of vaccination.
(i) Any person aggrieved by an order of the Probate Court under this section may appeal to the Superior Court. The appeal shall be confined to the record, which shall consist of the transcript of the hearing and all evidence received or considered by the Probate Court.
(P.A. 03-236, S. 6.)
History: P.A. 03-236 effective July 9, 2003.
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