CONNECTICUT — Connecticut may follow Massachusetts in mandated a flu vaccine for students. Gov. Ned Lamont said his administration is looking into the possibility.
Massachusetts announced it would require all children over the age of 6 months to get a flu vaccine if they attend child care, K-12 education or college. Students will have to receive the flu vaccine by Dec. 31 unless there is a medical or religious exemption. The mandate doesn’t apply to students who are only in remote learning.
The decision drew hundreds protesters to the Massachusetts State House Sunday. The protesters argued that it should be up to parents about whether a child should be vaccinated.
Connecticut already requires the flu vaccine for preschool students. K-12 students currently aren't mandated to get the vaccine, but they are required to get several other childhood vaccinations. Parents can opt for religious or medical exemptions for vaccines.
Connecticut recently had its own vaccination debate amid concern about potential measles outbreaks. A bill that would’ve ended the religious exemption for vaccines drew large amounts of protesters.
Connecticut’s overall child vaccination rates are higher than the national average, but there are pockets of schools where more than 30 percent of students have at least one vaccine exemption due to religious reasons.
A bill advanced through a legislative committee earlier this year that would’ve repealed the religious exemption for newly enrolling students, according to the CT Mirror. The coronavirus pandemic shut down the legislative session before the bill advanced to a full debate in the House of Representatives.
CT Schools Split On Reopening
Around 30 percent of schools are reopening in-person on regular five-day schedule. Another 28 percent will start with a hybrid model and plan to go to a regular schedule in the coming weeks. 41 percent of school districts are planning to stay hybrid for the foreseeable future.
New Haven Public Schools plans to stay remote for the foreseeable future. Danbury Public Schools will be remote until at least October after the city experienced a recent spike in cases.
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