Hundreds of people are at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford as lawmakers hold a public hearing on a controversial bill.
The bill would eliminate the state's religious exemptions for certain vaccines for public school students. It would only allow exemptions on school vaccination requirements for medical reasons.
Some who oppose the bill say the state should not be allowed to interfere with someone’s belief system, including chiropractor Dr. Jason Jenkins. He said he’ll be among the many advocating for keeping the exemption.
"I'm not telling someone else how to practice their belief system, but the state really shouldn't tell us how to practice ours," said Dr. Jenkins.
Some who support the bill said it’s a way to continue protecting against illnesses we don’t see anymore.
The bill would leave only medical exeptions for children whose immune system is compromised, who have cancer or have an adverse reaction to vaccinations.
Pediatrician Dr. Richard Uluski said, like other pedatricians, his office has a policy for vaccines similar to those in public schools.
"It's our policy that you have to vaccinate your child in order to come to this practice. It's not only for the safety of your child, but also the children waiting in the waiting room," Dr. Uluski said.
Governor Ned Lamont also spoke out in support of this bill, saying this is a public health issue and not vaccinating is putting other people at risk.
“When it comes to the health and safety of our kids, it is our responsibility to act out of an abundance of caution. Vaccinations are safe. They are the reason dangerous diseases disappeared for decades," Lamont said in a statement.
The line to get into the building was long before the hearing started.
Some who oppose the bill said the state should not be allowed to interfere with someone’s belief system and that the constitution ensures religious freedom and religious rights should be protected.
Some who support the bill said it’s a way to continue protecting against illnesses we don’t see anymore, including measles.
The hearing is expected to go on throughout the day.