A law adopted this week in Connecticut adds momentum to the push to strengthen vaccination requirements for schoolchildren, but efforts to give families more leeway are brewing in statehouses around the country in debates that go back more than a century.
The arguments over mandates, and when to allow exceptions, are expected to become more heated as authorities decide what expectations should be for COVID-19 vaccinations once they are approved for young children.
Religious exemptions like the one eliminated by Connecticut’s new law are facing particular scrutiny amid fears of new measles outbreaks and concerns the growing number of families claiming religious exemptions for their children are opposed because of scientifically discredited claims about the dangers of vaccines. Leaders of Islam, Judaism and major Christian religions say vaccination is consistent with their belief systems.
“The truth is there is no major religion that prohibits vaccinations,” said Peter Hotez, dean of