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Greens abstain from Bill-11 vote

by Josh O'Donnell
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Press Release

June 18, 2020

FREDERICTON – The Green Caucus supports effective vaccination programs. Green MLAs trust the science behind vaccines, their effectiveness in preventing disease, and believe that everyone should get vaccinated if they can.

The Green Caucus has abstained from voting on Bill-11, An Act Respecting Proof of Immunization.  The bill implements a blanket removal of the parental exemption, other than for medical reasons, from the province’s vaccination law.

“Our caucus believes that it should be the Chief Medical Officer of Health who suspends the parental exemption, should she deem it necessary for public health purposes, not this politically motivated bill,” said Green Party leader David Coon. 

Coon proposed three amendments to Bill 11. These included giving the Chief Medical Officer of Health the authority to suspend the parental exemption, requiring approval of the Minister of Health to enable the Minister of Education to make decisions regarding vaccination policies in schools, and mandating New Brunswick’s top doctor to provide education about vaccinations to parents. All were defeated at Committee stage causing the Green MLAs to abstain from the final vote.

“The Education Minister told the Legislative committee studying the bill, that only 1% of parents have used the available exemptions from mandatory vaccinations, and that current high rates of vaccination are providing the required herd immunity in our schools,” said Coon. “There simply is no public health rationale, at this time, to deny quality public education to the handful of children whose parents have used the exemption.”