Vaccine Religious Exemption Debate

Debate on Religious Exemptions for Vaccines in Conn. Ends After 24 Hours

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Testimony continued from Tuesday until Wednesday morning in the heated debate over removing the religious exemption for vaccines in Connecticut.

It started yesterday morning and continued through the night and into the morning as lawmakers and parents voiced their opinions over two controversial bills.

The committee put a 24-hour cap on testimony so no matter what, it had to end at 9:30 a.m. The next step is for the committee to decide whether or not to send the proposal to the full legislature.

A 9-year-old boy spoke on Wednesday morning, urging the committee not to remove the religious exemption. He said he testified last year as well.

“I was really upset this morning when I realized we are doing this all over again. I love my school, my teachers, my friends, sports, summer camp and now I can lose it all due to HB 6423 and SB 68," he said. "

"If the bill passes I will no longer be able to go to school, learn with my amazing teachers, enjoy my friends and my favorite sport, nor attend the camp. This makes me feel sad,” he added.

The boy first moved here two years ago after New York removed the religious exemption.

Other parents testified in favor of the bill. A mom from Avon said her youngest son got chicken pox before getting his first dose of the vaccine.

"I just assumed that because we got our children vaccinated on time that they would be fine, that they would be safe, but that's not true because vaccinations take time," Kerri Raissian, of Avon, said.

The committee also received a lot of written testimony.

The legislation was first proposed in 2019 after a measles outbreak in New York. It was the largest outbreak in 20 years.

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