Activists decried a proposal to eliminate the religious exemptions on vaccines at the state Capitol.
People gathered at the state\’s Legislative Office Building in May to condemn a plan to remove the religious exemption.
People gathered at the state\’s Legislative Office Building in May to condemn a plan to remove the religious exemption.

I am a father of three young boys and I am writing to thank the parents who are suing the Department of Public Health over its recent release of school-specific vaccine exemption data.

There is little doubt that the data was released as a part of a coordinated effort spearheaded by Reps. Matt Ritter and Liz Linehan – both of whom have a financial interest in vaccine-maker Boehringer Ingelheim – to eliminate Connecticut’s religious exemption, which has been part of the law since vaccines were first mandated in 1959.

Two days after this inaccurate data was hurriedly released, State Attorney General William Tong issued the “opinion memo” that was requested by Ritter, claiming that the elimination of the exemption is likely constitutional; and a mere week after that, Ritter set up a “public information” hearing in a (thankfully) failed effort to fast-track the removal of our longstanding religious exemption.

Connecticut has among the highest vaccination rates in the nation and, aside from increasing the already obscene profits of the pharmaceutical companies that make these “unavoidably unsafe” products, as our U.S. Supreme Court has described vaccines, there is no reason whatsoever to remove exemptions. The release of this data was 100 percent political – and 100 percent wrong.

I wish these brave parents the best of luck in their suit.

Lindy Urso lives in the Cos Cob section of Greenwich.

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Note: A spokesperson for Boehringer Ingelhein provided the following statement on behalf of the company:

“Boehringer Ingelheim is an innovative pharmaceutical company that is committed to improving the lives of humans and animals. It’s important to note that we do not make any vaccines for humans. We produce medicines in our human pharmaceuticals portfolio to treat a number of conditions including cardiometabolic, oncology, and respiratory diseases, and we work hard to develop new medicines in areas of great unmet medical need. We do produce a variety of vaccines for our animal health business, and we are currently conducting very early research in the oncolytic vaccine space to identify new treatments for cancer using the body’s own immune system.”

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1 Comment

  1. I would submit that EVERYONE who pursues a change in a state statute or who advocates for a specific state statute has an inherent “financial interest.”

    Blocking the release of school-specific vaccine exemption data does nothing to provide a benefit to society. It’s just statistics and does not reveal specific names and is useful data which can help to formulate a decision about what’s in best interest of society.

    There will always be individual cases that are outside the norm. Those specifics will not be general public knowledge.

    Just because a vaccine qualifies as an “unavoidably unsafe” product does not mean that it is a menace to society. It simply means that, for some, the warnings about possible side effects will apply. The fact remains that there does exist an overall benefit to society.

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