Religious exemption for vaccinations must end

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Medical quacks like chiropractor Jason Jenkins should not be guiding public health policies in my State. Period. Real experts should.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Centers for Disease Control offer abundant information, discussion, and sources regarding the safety and efficacy of the standard battery of vaccines administered to children. Further, their recommendations are unequivocal and unqualified: VACCINES WORK.  AND: VACCINES ARE SAFE.  AND every child who is medically capable, should be vaccinated for their own safety and for the safety of unvaccinated members of their community, including infants and immune compromised individuals.

Adverse reactions are rare, and the vast majority of those are minor.

Established law and legal precedent clearly empower each State to take actions to protect the health and safety of its citizens and residents. This has never been in dispute.

If you retain the blanket religious exemption, then you are inviting Connecticut to become the next Samoa. And I don’t mean the delicious cookie popularized by Girl Scouts. I mean the South Pacific island nation, which neighbors our country’s colony of American Samoa. Samoa reported a first case of measles (Strain D8) on Sept 30, 2019. A measles outbreak ensued and remains ongoing. So far, 5,707 cases of measles have been confirmed – 3% of the nation’s population.  Of these, 83 are fatalities – a kill rate of 1.5%, roughly comparable to the Coronavirus. The majority of deaths were children under the age of 5. It could have been much worse, but 6½ weeks after it started, the government declared a national emergency: all schools were closed, children under 17 were barred from public events, and vaccination became MANDATORY for all residents without a medical exemption. Subsequently, a curfew was imposed, and all unvaccinated families were required to display a red flag or cloth in front of their homes to warn others and to aid mass vaccination efforts. One Samoan anti-vaccination activist was arrested and charged with “incitement against a government order”. Massive medical assistance poured into Samoa from countries all over the world. This is what a measles outbreak looks like, and these are the kinds of steps needed to end it.

It is a known fact that seat belts save lives.  They are required by law. Lives are not saved because people decide to buckle up only as their automobile starts crashing.  There is no religious exemption for seat belts, or child safety seats for that matter.  And, there is no religious exemption for “employees must wash hands.” Let’s be sensible.

John Levin


Choice mom February 23, 2020 at 10:47 am

There is a big problem here and I promise you we are NOT prepared! If this passes, the costs and burden are likely going to be passed along to local municipalities. The CT constitution requires that a Free Public Education be provided for all children and FAPE be provided to all children with IEPs. Since the bill doesn’t address these concerns at the state level, we can assume that the logistics will fall to each individual BOE. It’s important that we all be aware and start thinking about having a plan in place to deal with providing these constitutionally guaranteed rights to displaced students in Norwalk. How will general education be provided? Where will general education be provided? How will it be paid for? How will ABA, SLP and all related special education services be provided to stay in compliance with IDEA? Where will these services be provided to be in compliance with the LRE provision in IDEA? How will this be paid for? Do we have enough providers to deliver these services outside of the public school buildings?? How will we ensure LRE when children can’t be in Gen Ed classes with their peers? There are many, many questions that the BOE needs to be looking at. We cant end up like NY where it was and still is complete chaos. There are hundreds of lawsuits happening right now in NY because no plan was place there. NY’s constitution doesn’t even guarantee a free public education like CT’s does. Don’t be NY.

Steve Mann February 23, 2020 at 11:32 am

Although I have the highest regard for chiropractors, and let’s face it, if there are no employees present, we all wash our own hands, but, I couldn’t agree more with John Levin on this issue. What rationale explains why a religious exemption gives others the right to jeopardize the populous?

niz February 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm

I thnk based on my reading and understanding, is vaccines are not necessarily safe.. lots of toxins, metals etc.. are unhealthy, even damaging. included with the health of the environment; food, water, mother, baby, child…. also there are too many vaccinations. which may be not so beneficial. we ought to address these matters, fight for safe: healthy vaccines, as the constitution of ones health needs to be strong to not be harmed or badly effected by vaccinations.
and then understanding, if some aren’t protected from these really dangerous epidemics, diseases than all are at risk… in various ways.

Kay Anderson February 23, 2020 at 4:11 pm

Thank you John – I watch with dismay as misinformation proliferates , and people walk away from proven health care. Vaccines are effective, as country after country has found.

John Levin February 23, 2020 at 8:25 pm

Mr. or Ms. Niz – the anti-vaxxer meme is a strong one, and a portion of our population appears highly susceptible to it. Further, its ability to fabricate and popularize misinformation about vaccines remains surprisingly effective. I believe it should be studied, so that socially dangerous memes like this one, which have and will harm people, can be addressed. While I can’t speak to what you’ve been reading, your comment contains many of the tropes perpetuated by anti-vaxxers. ANY claims that vaccines are not safe and effective, or that they have not been tested for both for safety and efficacy, are objectively false. Your claims that vaccines contain “lots of toxins” is objectively false. Your vague reference to “metals etc.” is specious. Your thumb contains metals.

“there are too many vaccinations. which may be not so beneficial” is simply an absurd statement. It’s like saying “there are too many infectious diseases”. To date, global vaccination campaigns, an extraordinary series of public health success stories, have been able to eliminate only smallpox. The goal, obviously, is to eliminate more, but that’s hard to do, and anti-vaxxers make it harder. Right now, researchers worldwide are quickly trying to develop an effective vaccine for Coronavirus. I’m not sure which group of people in an infected area would choose to decline such a vaccine, because there are “too many vaccines”.

John Levin February 23, 2020 at 8:52 pm

Mr. or Ms. Choice mom – I have great difficulty following the alphabet soup you use, but I’m not certain how relevant it is. Two established religions in the United States include opposition to vaccines in their dogma: the Church of Christ, Scientist (I have never understood this name) and the Dutch Reformed Church. Some religions, including the Catholic Church, have established very clear support for vaccination. In reality, the religious exemption currently available in Connecticut and 44 other states is used principally by people who have philosophical objections to vaccines but who are unable, or unwilling, to obtain medical exemptions for their children. Of course medical exemptions will remain available under HB 5044, as they should be because they are needed by some individuals for a variety of valid medical reasons.

There are lots of ways to assist families with parents who have philosophical objections to vaccines. I would like to believe that education for those parents would be a good start. But ultimately, I have confidence in exceptionally capable state public officials like Connecticut’s Public Health Commissioner, Renee Coleman-Mitchell to get the job done reasonably and effectively.

Franchesca Feliciano February 24, 2020 at 1:37 pm

I think we can learn a lot from history. California just removed religious exemption and they did not achieve their desired goal. A measle outbreak was reported in the Los Angeles area last week. Outbreaks in CT and in most cases occur in adults outside of school. In order to achieve community immunity ALL of Connecticut would need to be vaccinated, LSU just reported 12 cases of mumps, all 12 students had been vaccinated twice.
After NY removed religious exemption long island school districts and several others had over a dozen reports of chickenpox outbreaks. You cannot stop foreign travelers from entering our borders. You cannot stop home schooled children from going to the mall, starbucks, arenas or the grocery store. While elected officals are good intentioned, taking away civil liberties is not the appropriate solution. Especially since there is no real risk of an outbreak. 96% of kids in kindergarten and up in CT are vaccinated. That is the highest it’s ever been and one of the highest rates in the country. if the government can force you to put something into your body there is nothing they can’t or won’t attempt to force on the public. It sets a very dangerous precedent. This isn’t about vaccines this is about freedom.

Patriot February 25, 2020 at 11:32 am

Oh how we’ve lost our way. If the government can prove vaccines are safe and the large amount they give babies is safe, then so be it, but they have not…

Didn’t our ancestors form our beautiful country for religious freedom? How easy the populace is willing to give up their freedoms for ‘safety’.

Beth Grey March 9, 2020 at 3:11 pm

This is just an opinion piece. Have you read the entire bill of HB5044? It takes away parental rights. It also ties the Doctors hands as to make their well educated decisions, which is THEIR job. This will further deteriate the patient/Doctor relationship. A persons personal beliefs or Faith’s is not up to public scrutiny and it’s been that way for over 200 years. That’s what the laws are there for. This bill is unconstitutional and goes against all laws that we have created to protect the patient. This bill doesn’t even have any plans in place of how this bill will roll out. Let’s not even mention how this will affect enrollment in our schools, because this will impact public, private and even daycares. Have you looked at the amount of people that have left NY since they put this into place? And how many are in the process of leaving? How about all the lawsuits that have already begun on our TAX DOLLARS! How this has affected businesses and Real Estate? And even with having 100% vaccinated kids in their schools right now, they are still having outbreaks. The “herd” immunity is not a proven theory. There are many unanswered questions that concerned citizens deserves answers to. Personally, if you want to start mandating people how to live their lives and what goes into their bodies, then maybe take a moment and reread the entire US Consitition and decide if you truly believe in it and would defend it. There are many countries who have plans like this in place and they don’t believe in personal freedoms. To take it one step further, research how doctors and nurses in Germany mandated these same laws before WW2.

Ali March 9, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Vaccines are not one size fits all. No medical product is, all carry Risk vs rewards to be weighed by the individual or parent – not government. There is no risk like in Samoa that is a 3rd world county. We have access to clean water, adequate macro & micro nutrients in our diets. Samoa doesn’t. There are 0 deaths of measles in US. The last death was in 2015 – 1 woman died who had underlying heath conditions. Vaccine manufacturers have no liability for injuries caused by their products. If you truly want everyone to be healthier, let’s hold manufacturers liable for injuries this way they will have incentive to create safer products going forward.

Sarah Block March 10, 2020 at 7:07 am

I am a nurse, I worked in critical care, in the insurance sector, for home care, and now in natural health. I am appalled, once I really looked into vaccines ( my kids are affected adversely from vaccines) at the basic flaws in the world of vaccines. Pro vaccine people talk about science, but the gold standard in medicine is a double blind placebo controlled study. . . vaccines skip this vital gateway!! No one is aware of this, parents sign on to now 16 vaccine, and they are not fully informed of this fact. In addition, we are completely in the dark regarding the affect of so many vaccines on the very young. Parents get nervous because they see their children reacting badly to vaccines, they back away, and pediatricians are in denial. I asked for a medical exemption and I was denied. So now, yes, because we have no other exemption, I take advantage of the RE. . . it is beyond cruel to force a pharmaceutical product on kids in the face of this major flaw and denial coming from mainstream medicine. Instead of fixing the fundamental flaw (safety studies, vax/unvax studies) we have to force people? The CDC is not doing its job, that is why we fight. It is simple risk/benefit ration. . . when we don’t know the risk (and believe me it is a lot more than 1/million the CDC cites) we can’t make a decision. The media is not presenting our side at all. . . measles was only low risk in terms of death before the vaccine. . . the media has taught us to fear this once common childhood infection. I myself had measles, scarlet fever, chicken pox and mumps. I am healthy and immune for life. furthermore, the children go home to older parents who are not caught up on all 16 vaccines, and are essentially the unvaccinated the media is teaching us to be afraid of!!! The whole thing is just absurd. There is no emergency. Thank God for unvaccinated, healthy groups, we would truly not see the forest for the trees if we had nothing to compare to. The one person I know with five unvaccinated children had NO issues. None. Healthy, smart children who could succeed in school because they could focus and their brains weren’t on fire from 60 plus cytokine storms induced unnaturally during their formative years.

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