Sen. Berthel Statement on Senate Passage of Bill Eliminating the Religious Exemption for Child Vaccinations  

April 28, 2021

Deputy Senate Republican Leader Eric Berthel (R-Watertown) issued the following statement following the senate’s passage of a Democratic-majority bill that eliminates the state’s religious exemption for required vaccines for school enrollment. The bill was passed by the state’s house of representatives last week and now awaits Governor Ned Lamont’s signature to become law.


“This is one of the most dangerous ideas that I’ve ever seen in my seven years as a legislator. It is a slap in the face to every child and parent claiming religious exemption. These are the same families that have endured 14 months of isolation and highly irregular learning environments. This bill strips them of their recovery to regain normalcy and the next step for their future. Although it grandfathers in students already in Kindergarten through 12th grade, it jeopardizes the future of every child not yet in school that might seek a religious exemption. That’s fundamentally wrong,” said Senator Berthel.


“Furthermore, the current data leaves me with more questions than answers. Connecticut is fifth-best in the nation for student vaccine compliance. Of the 574,000 students enrolled in our system, 1.45 percent claimed religious exemption. Is that a figure that requires this bill today, along with the awful ramifications of allowing government to dictate your constitutional right to education? Is there an outbreak that I am unaware of?


“It is not our place as a legislature to decimate the religious freedoms on top of which our nation and government were founded. With that said, the government does not have the right to change the constitution without input of the people, who have been left out of this process.”