NJ Senate Rejects Bill That Would End Religious Exemptions For Vaccines

Measles vaccine
Photo credit George Frey / Stringer
By WCBS Newsradio 880

TRENTON (WCBS 880) — The New Jersey State Senate on Monday rejected a bill that would have ended the state’s religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations.

The bill was reportedly one vote short of passing, after being overwhelmingly approved by the state Assembly.

The legislation sparked a slew of controversy as it moved through the Legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy himself would not say which side he was on, but indicated which way he is leaning.

“The safety of all nine million residents is paramount and job number one for me and in particular, for our kids,” he said.

The Democrat said he recognizes the passion associated with the mandatory vaccination bill on both sides.

“Folks, in fact, have reached out to me over the weekend with very specific, very personal, very heart-wrenching stories on both sides and I’ll leave it there,” he said.

The measure would have only allow exceptions for specific medical conditions.

It came in the wake of the largest measles outbreak in the United States since the vaccine became widely available in the 1960s.

All 50 states require specified vaccines for students, although exemptions vary from state to state.

Currently, the only states that do not allow any religious or philosophical exemptions are California, Maine, Mississippi, West Virginia and New York.