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A child gets a vaccine shot in a March 8, 2019, file photo.

Vernon Bryant/The Canadian Press

New Brunswick legislators have voted down a controversial bill that would have made vaccinations mandatory for children in the province’s schools and daycares.

The minority Tory government’s Act Respecting Proof of Immunization was defeated today by a vote of 22 to 20, with four abstentions.

Bill 11 would have required children in public schools and licensed daycare facilities to provide proof of immunization unless they had an exemption signed by a medical professional.

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Non-medical exemptions are currently accepted.

A statement from Green party Leader David Coon, whose caucus abstained from voting, says the decision to suspend parental exemptions should come from the chief medical officer of health and not be made for political reasons.

He says very few parents currently use the non-medical exemption and there is not sufficient public health rationale to deny “the handful of children” who are not vaccinated access to education.

This week, a committee of legislators voted to remove the notwithstanding clause from the bill, which Premier Blaine Higgs had said was necessary to protect the legislation from charter challenges.

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