March of Dimes joins vaccination advocates to support bill eliminating religious exemption


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Before Wednesday’s public hearing got underway regarding the vaccination bill, advocates held a news conference to show their support for House Bill 5044.

Standing in solidarity, the Vaccination Alliance of Connecticut — lawmakers and medical experts,
as well as the March of Dimes.

“Immunizations protect infants, teens, and adults from disease and are considered the cornerstone of public health,” said Erin Jones, March of Dimes.

Related: Hundreds expected at public hearing on vaccination religious exemption

“We know what we are talking about is highly controversial but we are confident but we are doing it in the best interest of Connecticut,” said Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, (D) 136th district.

The bill would eliminate religious exemption as a reason to not get a child vaccinated, only allowing for a medical exemption if vaccination would adversely impact someone’s health, intensifying an already controversial issue.

“It’s an excuse of religion, not an exemption because most religious doctrines don’t prohibit vaccinations,” said another advocate.

Some parents feel this is an attack on their religious freedom.

“Our kids should not be put under pharmaceutical dependency from the moment they are born under state mandates,” said Kristen Dolan, Our Nation Under God.

Wednesday’s news conference revealed that the number of kids not getting vaccinated is slowly going up.

According to Dr. Linda Niccolai, with the Yale School of Public Health, roughly 2.5 percent of school-aged kids in Connecticut are not vaccinated.

“That’s about nearly 14,000 of our children going to schools without being adequately immunized and that puts everyone in those schools at risk,” said Niccolai.

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