State Health Department Issues Unprecedented $300K Penalty to Midwife for Falsifying Vaccine Records

Roughly 1,500 School-Aged Children Affected Across New York State

Children Are Required to Receive Vaccines Prior to Returning to School

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 17, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health has issued a $300,000 penalty as part of a Stipulation and Order signed by a Nassau County midwife who created false immunization records. Roughly 1,500 school-aged children from throughout the State are affected by the vaccine scheme, which has resulted in their immunization records being voided. All affected children must be fully up to date with all age-appropriate immunizations, or be in the process of receiving their missing vaccinations, before they can return to school.

"Misrepresenting or falsifying vaccine records puts lives in jeopardy and undermines the system that exists to protect public health," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Let it be clear, the New York State Department of Health takes this issue seriously and will investigate and use all enforcement tools at its disposal against those who have been found to have committed such violations."

After an investigation by the Department of Health's Bureau of Investigations, Jeanette Breen, a licensed midwife who operated Baldwin Midwifery in Nassau County, was found to have violated the Immunization Registry Law. The scheme included children from throughout New York State, with the majority being from Long Island, and includes children from as far away as Erie County.

In New York, the practice of midwifery is defined as the management of normal pregnancies, child birth and postpartum care as well as primary preventive reproductive health care of essentially healthy women, and shall include newborn evaluation, resuscitation and referral for infants. Licensed midwives may become certified by the New York State Education Department (SED) to prescribe medications and to order diagnostic tests within their scope of practice and consistent with their practice. SED, which licenses midwives, has the authority to pursue charges of professional misconduct against Breen's license. However, pursuant to law, all case information is strictly confidential.

State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said: "By intentionally falsifying immunization records for students, this licensed health care professional not only endangered the health and safety of our school communities but also undermined public trust. We are pleased to have worked with our partners in government to bring this wrongdoer to justice. We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of health and well-being within our educational institutions."

The vaccination scheme began at the start of the 2019-2020 school year, just three months after the June 2019 elimination of non-medical exemptions for required school immunizations. Breen supplied patients with the "Real Immunity Homeoprophylaxis Program," a series of oral pellets marketed by an out-of-state homeopath as an alternative to vaccination. The homeopathic pellets are not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Department as an immunizing agent against any disease.

Breen was found to have administered 12,449 fake immunizations to roughly 1,500 school-aged patients as pretext for submitting false information to the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS).

It should be noted that these actions began prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not include the COVID vaccine. The immunizations that were part of the scheme included: diphtheria, tetanus toxoid-containing and pertussis vaccine (DTaP or Tdap); hepatitis B vaccine; measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR); polio vaccine; varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine; meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY); booster doses of MenACWY; and the Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine (HiB) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) required for day care and pre-k only. Although not required for school enrollment and attendance, the scheme also included vaccines for flu and hepatitis A. Here are the immunizations required by New York State for enrollment and attendance in schools.

In New York State, children attending day care and pre-k through Grade 12 must receive all required doses of vaccines according to the New York State Immunization Requirements for School Entrance/Attendance to attend or remain in school. This includes all public, private, and religious schools. A medical exemption is allowed when a child has a medical condition that prevents them from receiving a vaccine. Effective June 13, 2019, PHL § 2164 only allows for medical exemptions to school immunization requirements. Non-medical or religious exemptions no longer exist in New York State.

The agreed-upon settlement reached between the Department and Breen is the first of its kind addressing a scheme to create false immunization records. It includes a $300,000 monetary penalty and requires that Breen never again administer a vaccination that must be reported to NYSIIS. In addition, Breen is permanently excluded from accessing NYSIIS under any circumstances.

Director of Investigations Joseph Giovannetti said: "This enforcement action is the culmination of a first-of-its-kind investigation in which the Department's Bureau of Investigations, Division of Legal Affairs, worked with the Department's subject-matter experts to uncover a widespread scheme to falsify required school vaccinations. Our thanks to the New York State Education Department for its assistance. Anyone involved in immunization fraud is on notice: Rooting out, combating, and preventing all forms of vaccination fraud is a top priority for the Bureau of Investigations, and we will continue to bring enforcement action against any offender who endangers the health of our communities and abuses our public health systems with this type of illegal activity."

As part of the settlement, Breen has paid $150,000 of the $300,000 monetary penalty. The remainder of the penalty is suspended contingent upon Breen achieving and maintaining full compliance with the Public Health Law, associated regulations, and all terms in the Stipulation and Order, which include:

  • Permanent exclusion from NYSIIS both directly or through anyone acting on her behalf.
  • Permanently refraining from administering any immunization that must be reported to NYSIIS.
  • Not participating in any scheme or attempt to misrepresent any individual as having received immunization that the individual in fact has not received.
  • Prohibition from using Department of Health Immunization Record and Signature Cards and any similar documents generally intended to record immunization. Any information provided to patients by Breen regarding Real Immunity or any other product or treatment intended or alleged to effect immunity must include a clear disclaimer as to the nature of the product and the fact that it is not recognized by the government as an alternative to conventional vaccination.

The Department has deleted all false immunization information that Breen submitted to NYSIIS and is in the process of contacting all parents/guardians of affected children informing them that their child's records of vaccinations are no longer valid and do not satisfy New York's requirements for school entrance/attendance. These parents must ensure their children receive all age-appropriate vaccinations so that they may return to school.

In collaboration with SED, the Department is also in the process of identifying and contacting all affected schools to inform them of this matter, their required role, and next steps. The Department contacted approximately 300 affected schools earlier this morning. Schools must notify the parent/guardian that the child is being excluded from school until the parent/guardian can provide proof that the child is in compliance. To be in compliance, children must be fully up to date with all age-appropriate immunizations or be in the process of receiving their missing vaccinations. To be considered "in process," children must have received at least the first dose of all required vaccine series and must receive subsequent vaccines within no more than 14 days of when they are due for the next dose in each immunization series (pursuant to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) dosing recommendations). Children who are more than 14 days past due for the subsequent dose of any required vaccine are NOT considered in process and must be excluded. Once proof is provided that children are "in process," they can be allowed back in school. In addition, schools must submit a report of exclusion and the name and address of each excluded child to the local health department.

The State Health Department continues to partner with, engage, educate, and support school officials, local health departments, law enforcement, and other stakeholders statewide around increased awareness, detection, reporting, and enforcement of vaccination fraud. A vaccination-fraud fact sheet may be accessed on the Department's website to recognize red flags on immunization records.

The U.S. has the most effective vaccine supply in its history with systems in place that ensure vaccines are safe. Vaccination is the best protection from preventable serious diseases. Learn more about vaccine safety, here.

Find more information on New York's Immunization Laws and Regulations, here.

New Yorkers can report vaccine fraud by calling 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) or emailing

View the full Stipulation & Order here.