Connecticuts Three Philosophical Exemption Bills and other
By Lisa Reiss
Philosophical Exemptions Bills
CTVIA is pleased to inform our members that three
philosophical vaccination exemption bills have been proposed in the Connecticut
Legislature. The following is a brief
review of the bills, which have bi-partisan support.
Bill 403-An Act Concerning Exemption From Immunizations
Required For School.
This bill was introduced by Sen. William Aniskovich
(R-Branford, Killingworth, Durham, Guilford, Madison, North Branford). This bill amends the statute for schools to
include a personal conviction vaccination exemption, provides that parents
receive information on exemptions 30 days prior to vaccination. Additionally, it requires physicians to
provide the vaccine contraindication, potential side effects of the vaccine,
vaccine efficacy, and the true risks of the disease. Additionally, it requires that physicians provide information on
the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).
Bill 5949-An Act Concerning Student Immunizations. This bill was co-introduced by Rep.
Richard Belden (R-Shelton) and Sen. George Gunther (R-Shelton, part of
Stratford, Seymour and Monroe). This
bill amends the statute for school entry to include a personal conviction
vaccination exemption. It requires that
physicians provide vaccine information to parents including information on
potential side effects and comparable vaccines from the different manufacturers. Additionally, it requires that physicians
provide information on the VAERS.
Bill 6284-An Act Concerning Immunizations. This bill was introduced by Rep. Christopher
Caruso (D-Bridgeport). It has been
co-sponsored by Rep. Linda Orange (D-Colchester and East Haddam). This bill amends the statute for entry into
daycare, school, college and nursing homes to include a philosophical reasons
vaccination exemption. It also requires
that physicians provide vaccine information including information on potential
side effects, comparable vaccines from different manufacturers, provide the
vaccine package insert no later than 7 days prior to a vaccine being
administered and requires information on VAERS be provided. If information is not provided to the
parent, guardian or individual then the doctor may be fined not less than $500
per violation. Additionally, it
requires that the vaccination exemptions be listed on the Center for Disease
Control (CDC) Vaccine Information Statements and on the health forms required
by daycare, school, college or nursing homes.
Finally, this bill would prohibit the Department of Public Health from
revoking a medical exemption once a physician issues it.
Public Health Emergency Response Authority Bills
As many of you know during the 2002 legislative session Bill
5286 An Act Concerning Public Health Emergency Response Authority was
addressed. While CTVIA understood the
premise of the bill, that being for Connecticut to be prepared during a Public
Health Emergency caused by Bioterrorism, what resulted was far different. Bill 5286 was to be based upon the Model
State Emergency Health Powers Act ( MSEHPA) proposed by the CDC. When we realized that 5286 would not provide
for some of the most basic provisions included in MSEHPA, including a
conscientious objector vaccination exemption and quarantine in the least
restrictive means necessary (specifically naming the home), we attempted to
have amendments added. For more
detailed information on the legislative activities pertaining to this bill
please see CTVIA Newsletter, Spring 2002, Vol. 3, No. 1, p. 1.
CTVIA feels strongly that any Public Health Emergency Bill,
which would permit the governor to declare a State of Emergency, should be
limited to Bioterrorism and include some basic humane provisions. Specifically, CTVIA believes that
informed consent should be required before vaccinating
should be humane and limited to the incubation period of the disease plus a
religious and conscientious objector vaccination exemptions should be permitted
should be permitted to consult with a doctor prior to being vaccinated
Sen. Win Smith (R-Milford, Orange and part of West Haven)
has introduced the following bills.
Bill 243-An Act Concerning Conscientious Objections to
Vaccinations. This bill provides a
conscientious objection for individuals from any ordered compulsory
Bill 245-An Act Concerning the Definition of Public
Health Emergency. This bill
provides that a public health emergency be limited to a medically documented
occurrence of a communicable disease caused by Bioterrorism.
Bill 247-An Act Concerning Time Limits for Quarantine. This bill limits quarantine to the
incubation period of the disease plus 5 days.
Bill 248-An Act Concerning Administration of Vaccinations
Pursuant to a Public Health Emergency.
This bill provides that voluntary informed consent must be obtained from
the individual, parent, or guardian prior to vaccinating. It defines voluntary informed consent to
mean that information on the vaccine, including benefits and side-effects, be
provided, that an opportunity for questions will be permitted, that the
decision will be free of any coercion and the person may withdraw their consent
Sen. Smith, Rep. James Amann (D-Milford) and Rep. Richard
Roy (D-Milford) co-introduced the following bills also pertaining to public
health emergency response authority.
Bill 404-An Act Concerning Vaccinations Pursuant to a
Public Health Emergency
This bill provides individuals an opportunity to consult a
physician prior to being vaccinated.
Bill 406-An Act Concerning Any Quarantine Imposed
Pursuant to any Public Health Emergency. This bill outlines how quarantine would be imposed. It contains provisions including that daily
needs will be met, family members may stay together, parents may stay with
children by signing a waiver, and refusing vaccination due to medical,
religious or conscientious objections are not grounds for automatic quarantine,
among other items.
Bill 412-An Act Concerning Quarantine During a Public
Health Emergency. This bill
provides that any quarantine should be the least restrictive means necessary
and lists confinement to the private home as an option.
Bill 6189-An Act Concerning Exemptions from Mandatory
Vaccinations. This bill was
co-introduced by Rep. Caruso and Rep. Carl Dickman (R-Fairfield) provides for a
philosophical beliefs vaccination exemption from any ordered vaccination by
the state, agency or municipality.
CTVIA understands that the Connecticut Department of Public
Health (DPH) will be presenting another Public Health Emergency type bill this
session. At the date of this printing
of the newsletter, we do not have any information on the DPH bill.
Vaccine Tracking System
The DPH currently runs the state vaccine tracking system,
Connecticut Immunization Registry Tracking System (CIRTS). This tracking system keeps track of those
children who are vaccinated or who claim an exemption. Children born now are automatically put into
the system unless the parents request that the child not be included (known as
an opt-out system). Prior to 2000
children were included only if the parent requested that they be included
(known as an opt-in system). A parent
may request at anytime that their child not continue to be tracked but the DPH does not get rid of the
information, they maintain the information.
Bill 6188-An Act Concerning Immunization Records. This bill introduced by Rep. Caruso,
provides that if a parent or guardian requests that their child not be included
in CIRTS then the childs immunization record would be required to be purged
from the DPH system.
What Can I Do?
sure that you are on the CTVIA email list. If you do not have an email address consider getting one
free from hotmail.com. Since the
legislative situation is very fluid and fast moving CTVIA does not have
the ability to contact via phone each of you. If you have email but have not received CTVIA email updates
please email us your name and email to email@example.com
so that you may be added.
Sometimes membership forms do not include an email address.
10 other friends. Many
of you know friends or family who support informed consent. This is not an anti- or pro- vaccine
issue but rather an issue over our basic right to informed consent. With regard to the
philosophical/conscientious objector vaccine exemptions, if one cannot
refuse a single vaccination then no consent has taken place. One must be
able to refuse in order for one to be able to accept it, thereby having a
true informed consent situation.
With regard to the public health emergency powers bills, everyone
wants the basic provisions included in the above bills, particularly
considering the controversy surrounding the smallpox vaccine. Invite your friends or family to join
the CTVIA free email list so that they can stay informed as we obtain
you. Contact the Senators or
Representatives by email or phone and tell them thank you for introducing
the legislation. Include in your
thank you, the reason why this legislation is important to you. For example, share which vaccine you
would choose if you could selectively vaccinate under a philosophical
exemption versus not vaccinating under a religious exemption. If you have been harassed or not been
provided vaccine information also share your situation so that they
understand why it is so important that we get these bills. All contact information will be posted
at www.CTVIA.org under Pending
YOUR STATE Representative/Senator.
Explain to your Representative and Senator why you would like the
bills previously described.
Remember to be polite and calm. Try to find out if the person is a
Democrat (D) or Republican (R).
Since this is a political arena, often legislators are more
responsive to bills presented from members of their own party. In our experience it is best not to get
into a debate as to whether a vaccine works or doesnt work but rather to
explain how you are not being permitted to exercise your right to informed
consent because you cannot refuse a single vaccine. Consider sharing your experiences (1)
of vaccine reactions your family has experienced, (2) harassment you have
received when you asked questions, (3) lack of vaccine information, (4) of
being told you must vaccinate because there are no options, (5) inability
to get a medical exemption, (6) congressional hearing you are familiar
written testimony. Assuming
that all the bills are taken up by the Public Health Committee then there
would be a public hearing. Due to
the legislative process, we will only get 5 days prior notice that the
hearing will occur. Therefore,
please prepare two written testimonies.
One for why you would like a philosophical exemption and the other
for why you want the provisions included in the public health emergency
powers bill. While you may need to
revise it based on the public health emergency powers bill language
presented by DPH, it would be easier to revise on short notice.
to attend a Public Hearing.
CTVIA is often contacted by individuals who wish Connecticut had a
philosophical exemption. The
Public Hearing will be your opportunity to express your opinion and concern.
Last year, with Bill 5286 there
were only four people who expressed concern over this bill. It is critical that the legislators
hear from YOU! Please do not count
on someone else to attend and speak.
CTVIA can talk until we are blue in the face but the legislators
listen much better when a constituent contacts them and makes the extra
effort to show up at the capitol to attend and speak at a public
hearing. As mentioned prior, we
will only get 5 days notice that a public hearing will occur. Additionally, all the bills may not
come up at the same public hearing.
Again, make sure you are on the CTVIA email list to get up-to-date
CTVIA has maintained our commitment to keeping you informed
on vaccine issues. As with last
legislative session, your support is critical for Connecticut to obtain a
philosophical exemption and a humane Public Health Emergency Powers Bill.
You may follow the bills, get contact information on your
legislator by visiting http://www.cga.state.ct.us