Bill formalizing child immunization opt-outs clears House

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HARTFORD — Parents and guardians who want their children exempted from immunizations for religious reasons must submit a letter each year to the child’s school, under a bill that has cleared the House of Representatives.

The legislation requires the letter to be “acknowledged” by an official, such as a town clerk. An earlier version of the bill required the letter be notarized.

The controversial proposal, the subject of numerous emails to lawmakers, cleared the House on an 86-56 vote Thursday. It now moves to the Senate.

Rep. Vincent Candelora called the new process “insulting” to parents who want to protect their children from vaccines.

But Rep. Matt Ritter said an increasing number of religious exemptions are a public health concern. According to Ritter, religious exemptions from immunizations in Connecticut have climbed from 300 to 1,400 in the past decade. He said parents need to consider the seriousness of their decision.