Chelsea DeFelice: Preserve exemptions to vaccines

Published: 4/21/2021 4:07:34 PM

As a student majoring in social work, I try to raise public awareness of social justice matters. That is why I am writing to inform the public about two pieces of legislation in Massachusetts that are under review (HD2973 and HD2403).

These bills relate to medical and religious exemptions against immunizations. While these bills touch on a contentious subject, it is important that citizens have the right to exercise both their medical and religious freedoms.

HD2973 protects medical exemptions. To obtain such exemption, one must meet with their doctor or medical provider to determine that such immunizations would constitute an immediate health hazard due to an increased risk of adverse reactions.

HD2403 protects religious exemptions. To obtain such exemption, a form explaining how one’s religious beliefs conflict with immunizations must be provided to their school or workplace.

I currently holds one of these exemptions. Along with the Department of Public Health (2019) showing how only 1.3% of Massachusetts school-aged children hold such exemptions, it is difficult to imagine what it would be like to have those rights and freedoms taken away from us.

If these exemptions were removed, there is a possibility that each exempt person would be excluded from school and employment. The removal of such exemptions would also imply that the state has the power to control one’s personal body, spiritual beliefs and medical decisions.

If you are passionate about liberty, social justice and immutable rights, I urge you to act now before it is too late. Talk to your friends or family. Encourage them to reach out to their local legislators to let them know how important it is to support these bills.

We need to preserve medical and religious exemptions for every resident of Massachusetts. Individuals with these exemptions are not a threat to the community. We must put aside our personal prejudices and support one another, while also supporting our fundamental human rights to religious and medical freedom for all.

Chelsea DeFelice



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