Massachusetts Vaccine Bills Would Tighten Screws On Objectors To Vaccines; Hearings Wednesday

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A committee of the state legislature plans to hold hearings on a few bills that would increase vaccination requirements in Massachusetts — and one that would loosen them.

The Joint Committee on Public Health plans to hold hearings at the Massachusetts State House in Gardiner Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 19. 

Bills to be heard include: “An Act Requiring Immunizations Against Preventable Diseases” (H.471); “An Act Promoting Community Immunity” (S.1458/H.2151); “An Act Relative to Routine Childhood Immunizations” (S.1391/H.604); and “An Act Relative To The Protection of Medical Exemptions For Immunizations For School Attendance” (H.582).

“An Act Requiring Immunizations Against Preventable Diseases,” filed by state representative Bill Driscoll (D-Milton), would require children to be vaccinated against Human papillomavirus and Hepatitis A to attend any school in Massachusetts.

“An Act Promoting Community Immunity,” filed by state representative Paul Donato (D-Medford) and state senator Rebecca Rausch (D-Needham), would allow physicians to administer vaccines to children without parental notification or consent; it would also allow schools to strengthen vaccination requirements beyond the current statewide schedule.

“An Act Relative to Routine Childhood Immunizations,” filed by state representative Andres Vargas (D-Lawrence) and state senator Edward J. Kennedy (D-Lowell), would eliminate religious exemptions for vaccines to attend all kindergarten-through-12 schools in Massachusetts.

And “An Act Relative To The Protection of Medical Exemptions for Immunizations for School Attendance,” filed by state Representative Michael Soter (R-Bellingham), would expand the reasons for which a child could receive a vaccine medical exemption to attend school to specifically include family history and pre-existing medical conditions, among other provisions.

Massachusetts Family Institute staff attorney Sam Whiting told NewBostonPost that most of the proposals threaten religious freedom.

“No one should be forced to violate their sincere religious beliefs in order to send their kids to school,” Whiting said by email. “But by eliminating the religious exemption to school vaccine requirements, that is what these bills would do. Our lawmakers clearly learned nothing from the COVID pandemic — parents want their rights to be honored and their religious beliefs to be respected. These bills do neither.” 

No major religious denominations oppose vaccination on theological grounds, although a few sects of Protestantism do. Examples include: Dutch Reformed Church, Church of the First Born, Faith Assembly, and Endtime Ministries, according to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Some people who think abortion is immoral, however, object to taking vaccines or having their children take vaccines if the vaccine has been produced or tested using the cell lines of an aborted fetus.

Driscoll, Donato, Rausch, Vargas, Kennedy, and Soter could not be reached for comment on Monday or Tuesday. 


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