HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Department of Public Health sends out an immunization survey every year. However, licensed day care centers are not required by to law to fill it out; it is voluntary.
Now, lawmakers are considering not only mandating centers to do the survey but post the results as well. Parents would also be able to see how many children at their day care are vaccinated.
It’s a move that has angered some parents who don’t believe in vaccinating.
“I think this is dangerous legislation,” said Melissa Sullivan.
Each year, data is collected by the state. Among those questions, are “is your child vaccinated” and “do you claim a medical or religious exemption?” The total numbers are reported, not individual vaccine information.
But Sullivan, of Health Choice Connecticut, said even that is an invasion of privacy.
“There are all sorts of privacy issues that could be impacted here, and the state has no business putting out this data,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense to expose children and have them be targets for other children or pitting parents against parents.”
The Committee on Children is responsible for drafting the bill. If passed, in the next year the data could be posted on the Department of Public Health’s website.
“If we collect that data and make it available people will know which day care centers are right for them if they have a child who is immuno-compromised,” explained Representative Liz Linehan, Cheshire.
Linehan said if a day care has a high vaccination compliance, the center could earn a badge.
“If we move forward with this badge that says they have reached herd immunity levels, that would be up to the center to display; that is not something the office of early childhood or Department of Public Health would be putting on a center. It would be a voluntary thing for the center to display.”
“Your problem may be ‘what if you don’t have a good badge,’ for instance and there are only four kids in the day care, then you might know a good percentage of the kids are not vaccinated and thereby have disclosed personal information that is private,” added Senator Kevin Kelly, Stratford. ”
It is unclear whether state regulations allow for immunization data to be released. In 2019, a Bristol family sued the state after the results of school surveys were unveiled. A judge dismissed the case because “all administrative remedies were not exhausted.”
In the meantime, there is a public hearing on the bill scheduled for March 3.