OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 6949 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING CHILDHOOD VACCINATIONS.

SUMMARY:

Existing law exempts children from school immunization requirements (see BACKGROUND) if the child presents a statement from his or her parents or guardians that the immunization would be contrary to the child's religious beliefs. This bill additionally exempts children who present a statement that the immunization would be contrary to the parents' or guardians' religious beliefs. It requires any such statement to be officially acknowledged by a notary public, Connecticut-licensed attorney, judge, family support magistrate, court clerk or deputy clerk, town clerk, or justice of the peace.

The bill extends the above requirement to children attending child day care centers and group or family day care homes whose parents or guardians object to such immunization on religious grounds. (Existing Office of Early Childhood regulations require the submission of a religious exemption statement, but do not require it to be acknowledged.)

Under the bill, the child's parents or guardians must submit the religious exemption statement annually in order for the child to remain enrolled in a public or private school, child day care center, or group or family day care home.

The bill also makes technical and conforming changes.

*House Amendment “A” (1) exempts from school immunization requirements children who present a statement that the immunization would be contrary to the parents' or guardians' religious beliefs, (2) requires all religious exemption statements to be acknowledged by specified legal authorities, instead of notarized; (3) requires parents or guardians to present the statement annually in order for the child to remain in school or a child day care facility, and (4) extends the religious exemption statement requirements to children attending family day care homes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

BACKGROUND

Childhood Immunization Requirements

By law, children attending (1) child day care centers, (2) group and family day care homes, and (3) public and private schools must be immunized against certain diseases, including:

1. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (preschool through grade 12);

2. Polio (preschool through grade 12);

3. Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (preschool through grade 12);

4. Hemophilus influenza B (under age 5);

5. Hepatitis B (preschool through grade 12);

6. Hepatitis A (preschool and kindergarten);

7. Chicken Pox (preschool through grade 12);

8. Influenza (preschool);

9. Pneumonia (under age 5); and

10. Meningitis (7th grade) (CGS 10-204a, 19a-7f and Conn. Agencies Regs. 10-204a et seq. and 19a-79-6a).

In addition to the above religious exemption, the law provides a medical exemption for children that document such immunization is medically contraindicated. 

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Health Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

23

Nay

4

(03/27/2015)