State Health Department Issues Penalty to Rochester-Area Nurse for Falsifying Pediatric Vaccine Records

116 Children from Across New York State Require Immunizations Before Returning to School

Nurse Owns a 'Natural Wellness Center,' Known for Spreading Vaccine Misinformation on Social Media

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 7, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health has issued a $55,000 penalty as part of a Stipulation and Order signed by a Monroe County nurse who created false immunization records. Roughly 116 children from throughout the State, all school-aged or younger, are affected by the vaccination scheme, which has resulted in their falsified immunization records being voided. All of the unvaccinated and under vaccinated children must be fully up to date with age-appropriate immunizations, or be in the process of receiving missing vaccinations, before they may return to school or day care.

"Falsifying school-aged children's vaccine records endangers both the child and their peers, as vaccination is the best protection against preventable disease," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Furthermore, this is an example of how the spread of vaccine misinformation undermines the entire system that exists to protect the public's health. The New York State Department of Health will continue to investigate those who falsify vaccine records and use all available enforcement tools against those who have been found to have committed such violations."

After an investigation by the Department of Health's Bureau of Investigations, Sandra Miceli, a licensed nurse practitioner who operated Surviving Naturally, a so-called "natural wellness center" in the Rochester suburb of Webster, NY, was found to have repeatedly violated the Immunization Registry Law. The false vaccination scheme involved children from throughout New York State. The majority live and attend school in Monroe County and elsewhere in Western New York, but a few were from as far away as New York City.

The New York State Education Department (SED), which licenses nurses and is assisting the Department of Health in mitigating the public-health concerns caused by the falsification of nearly 550 vaccination records, has the authority to pursue charges of professional misconduct against Micheli. However, pursuant to law, professional disciplinary action by SED is confidential.

Through its investigation, the Department of Health determined that Miceli has a long history of promoting misinformation about vaccines and vocally opposing immunization requirements. In posting anti-vaccination propaganda on social media, Miceli spread dangerous public-health falsehoods and sowed fear about vaccines at the same time that she claimed, as a licensed nurse, to be protecting public health by administering immunizations required for enrollment in schools and day cares.

Miceli's vaccination fraud scheme began less than one month after the June 2019 elimination of non-medical exemptions for required school immunizations. She falsely reported that her pediatric patients had received required immunizations when they in fact had not.

Miceli was found to have falsely reported a total of 546 vaccinations for 116 children who, at the time, were school-aged and younger. None of the fictitious vaccinations ever occurred.

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); measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine (MMRV); polio vaccine; varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine; meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY and MCV4); 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 rotavirus vaccine.

The immunizations currently required by New York State for enrollment and attendance in schools can be found here. Requirements for the upcoming 2024-25 school year are here.

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 2019, PHL § 2164 only allows for medical exemptions to school immunization requirements.

State Health Department Director of Investigations Joseph Giovannetti said: "Like any other fraudster, Miceli promulgated and profited from disinformation as part of her illicit scheme. What makes vaccination fraud like hers especially pernicious, however, is the danger it poses to the physical health of our communities and their most vulnerable members—the young, old, and infirm. The Bureau of Investigations will continue to investigate and bring enforcement action against anyone who threatens community health and abuses the public health system through such selfish and patently illegal misconduct."

As part of the settlement, Miceli has paid $30,000 of the $55,000 monetary penalty. The remainder is suspended contingent upon Miceli achieving and maintaining full compliance with the Public Health Law, associated regulations, and all terms of the Stipulation and Order, which include:

  • Permanent exclusion from the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), both directly or through anyone acting on her behalf.
  • Permanent prohibition from administering any immunization that must be reported to NYSIIS.
  • Prohibition from participating in any scheme or attempt to misrepresent any individual as having received immunization that the individual in fact has not received.

The Department has deleted the false immunization information that Miceli submitted to NYSIIS and is in the process of contacting the parents/guardians of affected children to inform them that their children's records of vaccinations are no longer valid and do not satisfy New York's requirements for school enrollment and attendance. These parents must ensure their children receive all age-appropriate vaccinations before 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 obligation to exclude unvaccinated and under-vaccinated students, and required next steps.

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 help recognize potentially fraudulent 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.