Contact Us

NJ Senate closer to nixing religious exemption for vaccines

HPV Vaccinations Back In Spotlight After Perry Joins Presidential Race
Getty Images

TRENTON — The state Senate is expected to vote Monday to eliminate the religious exemption from the state’s immunization requirements.

The proposed law — S2173/A3818 — was approved in the Assembly last month but stalled in the Senate when leaders could not muster the 21 votes needed to pass it.

The proposal has met with fierce opposition by groups and parents who are against mandatory vaccinations — not always for religious reasons. The law would still allow for medical exemptions to vaccines.

State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, agreed to vote for the bill, which could give it enough votes to pass, after the Senate agreed on Thursday to take up his amendment to allow private schools and child care centers the option to decide whether to admit non-vaccinated students.

The percentage of fully vaccinated school children in the state has declined from more than 95% in 2013-14 to just over 94% in 2018-19.

One in 38 students — or a total of about 14,000 — have a religious exemption from vaccinations. That number has grown in five years from just under 9,000, alarming public health officials who fear the spread of diseases.

After announcing his vote, critics responded to O’Scanlon by arguing that the religious provision should not just apply to families who can afford private school tuition in a state with already high property taxes.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the Statehouse on Thursday and were audible as senators took action on the amendment.

More From WOBM News:

Subscribe to 92.7 WOBM on

Download the WOBM-FM Mobile App Now

Best of WOBM

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://wobm.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up to have exclusive WOBM Listener Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.