TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vitale which would statutorily define the acceptable exemptions from mandatory student immunizations was approved today by the Health Committee by a vote of 6-2.
“This bill is – simply and unequivocally – about preserving public health, and ensuring that when someone opts out of a mandatory student immunization, that they have a legitimate reason for doing so, spelled out in black and white in the law,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “Unfortunately, the issue of student immunizations is an emotionally-charged topic, with scientifically unfounded and discredited information standing in as fact. While we need to be mindful of legitimate medical and religious reasons for students abstaining from vaccinations, we should not give credence to false science and put the public health in jeopardy.”
“Because of the rise of vaccination as a medical practice, we don’t have widespread epidemics of polio or smallpox in this country anymore,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “We’ve actually been able to eradicate some of the deadliest and most virulent diseases that threatened public health only a few generations back. In order to preserve public health, we have to limit the reasons that students can be exempted from mandatory immunizations, in order to protect them and protect the non-immunized public from facing an epidemic.”