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Narrower Ban On Religious Exemption For Vaccine Focuses On Young Children

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John Amis
/
AP

Some Connecticut lawmakers want to remove a religious exemption from vaccinations for school children. A new version of the bill scales that back to include only kids up to the sixth grade.

Children in seventh grade or higher would be allowed to opt out of mandatory school vaccinations for religious reasons. Sixth graders and younger students would have to get vaccinated to attend school. Medical exemptions would still be allowed for all children.

Democratic Representative Jonathan Steinberg of Westport is the chair of the state Public Health Committee.

“We’ve seen a specific issue with the youngest students that may reflect vaccine hesitancy and wanted really to focus on that aspect,” Steinberg said.

It’s a new version of a controversial bill that failed to make it out of committee last year. The bill attracted more than 24 hours of public testimony mainly from opponents who argued that it would infringe on their religious rights.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.