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Lawmakers address childhood vaccinations exemption

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — An advocacy group took to the State Capitol Wednesday, fighting for the religious exemption that allows parents to opt out of vaccinating their children.

Hundreds came out to the Capitol fighting for the religious exemption. Both sides argue it’s all about protecting children, but both feel very differently as to how that should be done.

On the Capitol’s steps and on the streets outside the Legislative Office Building, hundreds came demanding to keep the religious exemption for vaccines.

Something the Governor is looking to take away.

“There is no public health crisis,” said Brian Festa.

RELATED: Will the religious exemption on childhood vaccinations be repealed in Connecticut?

Brian Festa is with the Connecticut Freedom Alliance. He says they have legitimate concerns to keep the exemption and does not believe the state should enforce vaccinations.

“Parents should have the decision to, the ultimate decision, the only decision as to what goes into their child’s bodies. It’s not for the state to tell us that, it’s not even for doctors to tell us that,” said Festa.

“There’s also the freedom of ensuring that your child is allowed to a healthy and disease free space,” said Rep. Josh Elliott/Hamden, (D).

Representative Josh Elliott argues that even though there’s no public health crisis now, it’s better to be proactive. He points to the fact that the CDC and the majority of the medical community say vaccines save lives.

“What we don’t say is that you absolutely vaccinate. What we’re saying is if you go to a school, you have to vaccinate your children. So this still allows you to home school your child if you want to,” said Elliott.

“When government steps in and starts dictating medical procedures and medical decisions, I get a little bit concerned. I’m also concerned about eroding a religious liberty,” said Rep. Vincent Candelora, Deputy House Leader, North Branford (R).

Representative Elliott says since Democrats have both the House and Senate, he feels very confident they’ll be able to get something through this legislative session.

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