As you know, Colorado is among the forty-five states that have unique, dangerous religious exemptions to immunization requirements for school children. On Sunday, June 7, Colorado’s House Health and Insurance Committee will hold a hearing to consider legislation (Senate Bill 163 [SB20-163]) that strengthens the state’s immunization requirements. While CFI applauds the committee for this initial step, SB20-163 does not go far enough to protect Coloradans from needless exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases. If you’re in Colorado, will you ask your representatives to repeal Colorado’s religious exemption?
Religious exemptions are an affront to the separation of church and state—no other excuses are accepted by the states for declining to participate in this easy, effective, lifesaving public health measure. (Medical exemptions for the immunocompromised aren’t an excuse—they’re a valid reason consistent with the public health logic of immunization requirements.)
As noted in SB20-163’s findings, “Immunizations save lives and money. Each year in the United 5 States, immunizations save 33,000 lives, prevent 14 million disease cases, and save $9.9 billion in direct health care costs.” This proven lifesaving measure is immediately urgent in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as of June 5, 2020, 1,255 Coloradans had perished from COVID-19. We must take every available measure to turn the tide of this ongoing tragedy. Eliminating medically unjustifiable immunization exemptions is one of these important measures. Will you join the voices calling for an end to the special treatment for religion?
Director of Government Affairs
Center for Inquiry
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