No vote on vaccine exemptions, lawmakers request more data from DPH

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There will be no vote on vaccine exemptions this session after lawmakers requested more data from the state Department of Public Health on Thursday. 

House and Senate majority leaders have announced that they have asked the state Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide more data and policy recommendations on how to increase vaccination rates in schools with high vaccine exemption rates.

Related: Dept. of Public Health releases updated list of immunization rates by school

This means that no vote is planned on eliminating vaccine exemptions for the regular session.

“We want DPH to clearly articulate their needs so we can ensure all school children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases and our vaccine rates increase,” said House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) in a press release. 

Related: Dept. of Public Health releases immunization rates by school

“This data will help us find solutions that will benefit the public health of children and families across our state. Vaccinating your children protects them and others against serious and preventable diseases. We must embrace our responsibility to do what we can to ensure that our schools are healthy learning environments for all children,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D-New Haven).

According to the release from the Office of Majority Leader, the lawmakers are expected to ask the following questions: 

  • What statutory authority does the Department need to increase vaccinations rates in schools?  
  • How should the legislature handle unvaccinated children who are currently enrolled in schools to protect children who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions such as immune system disorders and/or risk of allergic reactions?
  • Should the religious exemption be removed from statute or is there an alternative that will similarly increase vaccination rates in under-vaccinated schools?

Last week, the DPH released their data on immunization rates for more than 100 schools in the state. To read that full list, click here. 
 

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