By Guy Page
A bill to remove the religious exemption for child immunization is unlikely to pass this year, its lead sponsor said today.
H148 would eliminate the religious exemption for required immunizations prior to enrollment in a school or child-care facility. Sponsor Dr. George Till (D-Underhill/Jericho) told Vermont Daily Chronicle in the State House today that he has no hope that the bill will proceed. It did not pass the crossover deadline, and is unlikely to be revived in any other legislation, he said.
Several years ago the Legislature removed other reasons for exemption from child vaccination, but left the religious exemption intact. Predictably, requests for religious exemptions soared. During the pandemic, parents and legislators concerned about being forced to immunize their children in order for them to attend public schools rallied around organizations opposed to H148. The State Agency of Education never recommended required vaccination for Covid-19, although the possibility has not been ruled out should the pandemic return in full force.
The other sponsors of H148 are Reps. Peter Anthony, R. Scott Campbell, Lori Houghton, Mary Howard, and Woodman Page.