An article published in USA Today focuses on a study conducted by the Associated Press (AP) regarding the rates of parents opting out of immunizations for their children in both public and private schools. As Hanna Dreier of the AP explains, “Parents cite a variety of reasons for not immunizing their children, among them: religious values, concerns the shots themselves could cause illness and a belief that allowing children to get sick helps them to build a stronger immune system.”
Such a story highlights the ongoing debate about mandatory immunization of public school students, and thus it would be informative to understand the statutory scheme set forth here in Connecticut.
Required Immunizations in School
Under § 10-204a of the General Statutes, school boards of education have authority to require any child seeking to enroll “in any program operated by a public or nonpublic school under its jurisdiction” adequate immunization against various diseases. These include diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, and hemophilus influenzae type B, as well as “any other vaccine required by the schedule for active immunization adopted pursuant to [§] 19a-7f.” However, there are six enumerated exemptions available, some which are specific to a given disease, while others are more general:
- The child “presents a certificate from a physician stating that in the opinion of such physician, such immunization is medically contraindicated because of the physical condition of such child.”
- The child “presents a statement from the parents or guardian of such child that such immunization would be contrary to the religious beliefs of such child.”
The National Vaccine Information Center has compiled an extensive overview of Connecticut State vaccine requirements, which may be accessed by following this link. In addition, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has published a guide outlining immunization requirements for various age groups, and may be found here.
Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.
Should you have any questions regarding child vaccination requirements or any other question relating to education law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at Maya Murphy, P.C.’s Westport office located in Fairfield County at (203) 221-3100 or at JMaya@mayalaw.com.
 “Private school vaccine opt-outs rise,” by Hannah Dreier. September 9, 2012: www.usatoday.com/news/story/2012/09/9/private-school-vaccine-opt-outs-rise/57720458/1