HARTFORD (WFSB) - Religious reasons may no longer be an excuse not to get your children vaccinated.
Multiple sources are told Eyewitness News Friday the governor and the Department of Public Health are ready to take sides in the very controversial vaccination debate.
The numbers of non-vaccinated students grow each year and some lawmakers say the anti-vax families have been abusing the religious exemption and they’re looking to close the loophole.
The days of parents being allowed to simply check a box, claiming they don’t want their children vaccinated due to religious reasons may be coming to an end.
"I just think it’s a good thing to do if it’s out there, why not use the science?" Jen Clement of Wolcott said Friday.
Multiple sources told Eyewitness News Governor Lamont and the Department of Public Health are calling a meeting to go on the record to say they support rolling back religious exemptions for vaccinations.
We reached out to both offices tonight and they declined to comment.
"We really need to protect our children and that’s what getting rid of the religious exemption is going to do," State rep Liz Linehan (D-103) said Friday. "It’s going to keep our kids healthy and safe in school."
A law would still need to pass, but Linehan, who actually received threats to her family over her pro-vaccine stance, has been asking for this very thing since 2017.
"I thought we needed to do it in incremental steps, but now the numbers are behind us that show that there is a need to do this, first, foremost and outright," she said.
The numbers she’s talking about come from the department of public health.
Right now, approximately parents of 1800 students statewide are citing religious beliefs as the reason they didn’t get their child vaccinated. That’s a 25 percent jump in non-vaccinated students, in just the last year.
"It is the case, not only here in Connecticut, but around the country, that states with religious exemptions, have been used improperly," Linehan said.
Linehan is glad to potentially have the governor and the DPH on her side, but the vaccine debate still runs strong in our state.
Iwona Serwinski supports vaccines and made sure her children have them, but she questions how much the state should be stepping into our living rooms.
"I think that there are parents who know their children better than the state does and they should be allowed to make that decision," Serwinski said. "When do you stop how much the state interferes in your life?"
A law still needs to pass. If one does, we’d join New York and Maine as two other states to do this in 2019. The medical exemption would still stand and that would go for children with weaken immune systems.