Legislature’s Public Health Committee to Hear Vargas Amendment on Vaccinations

Rep. Andy X. Vargas. (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

The legislature’s Public Health Committee holds a hearing Tuesday on a pair of vaccination-related bills, including an amendment by Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas to allow only medical exemptions

State law requires children who are entering school to be immunized against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles and poliomyelitis, unless a physician certifies that a vaccine would endanger the child’s health or unless the parent or guardian offers a written statement that vaccination or immunization conflicts with their “sincere religious beliefs.” The Vargas bill would strike the language about religious belief, allowing only medical exemptions.

Rep. Paul J. Donato and Sen. Rebecca L. Rausch have filed a bill seeking to standardize immunization requirements and exemption processes. Rausch and Donato plan to testify on their bill, according to Rausch’s office, as do others including security analyst Juliette Kayyem and American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts President Beth Kontos.

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