Connecticut Father Speaks Up For Vaccine Rights and Privacy

The Stamford Advocate reported on June 17th:

HARTFORD — Parents of a boy with autism are suing the state Department of Public Health for releasing school-level data in May that revealed how many unvaccinated children attended each of Connecticut’s private and public schools during the 2017-18 school year.

Kristen and Brian Festa, who are representing themselves without an attorney thus far, are seeking an injunction against the public health department to stop the release of the data for the 2018-19 school year, which the department has yet to release.

The Festas claim that almost immediately after the May 3 release of the information that “hateful and vitriolic statements regarding non-vaccinated students and parents began appearing on the internet. Upon information and belief, these and prior statements are characteristic of the harassment commonly experienced by parents who do not immunize their children due to a religious objection.”

Some of the postings on Facebook included comments, according to the lawsuit, such as, “If my kid can’t bring peanut butter to school then yours can’t bring the deathly plague. Vaccinate or I’m bringing the Jiffy.”

Another Facebook user wrote, “Unvaccinated kids should have to wear something on them at all times to let people know they may be exposing themselves to diseases.” Still another Facebook comment read, “So you are an antivaxer? You should probably move to a private island if you don’t like the US. We would all be happy with that, especially if you are a scumbag antivaxer. Ignorant trash like you are why we have a Measles epidemic reoccurrence.”

And now recently, the CTmirror.com allowed this opinion piece to be published.

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.

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