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Vt. Senate panel hears debate on shots for kids

February 3, 2012
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MONTPELIER, Vt.—A committee of the Vermont Senate is hearing from both sides as it debates a bill that would end the so-called philosophical exemption that lets families avoid having their children immunized against polio, measles and other diseases.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee is considering a bill that would continue to allow Vermont families to decide against the shots for religious reasons, but would no longer let non-immunized kids enroll in school because their parents fear possible side effects from the immunizations.

On Friday, the committee heard from a series of health professionals who urged an end to the philosophical exemption. They said immunizations are an important public health measure.

But several parents said immunizations can cause illness, and argued they should be able to decide the issue for themselves.

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