By: Guest Writer
If you have not heard of Brian Festa, allow me to introduce you. Brian Festa is the co-founder of CT Freedom Alliance (CFA), a highly active anti-vaccine group in the state of Connecticut. CFA has been working very hard to kill HB5044, a bill that aims to remove the religious exemption option to vaccinations. Before last week I was unfamiliar with both Brain Festa and CFA. You see, I am a huge proponent of vaccines. I have been involved in the vaccine debate and discussion as an activist for more than a year. My efforts have involved correcting misinformation online, and even helping several people on social media overcome their vaccine hesitancy and decide to get vaccinated! So, it was only natural that when I learned of a bill proposing the removal of religious exemptions in my state, that I would want to become involved. One way I have done this is by helping legislators on social media when they get bombarded with misinformation and threats from anti-vaxxers. It was in the comment section on Representative Liz Linehan's Facebook page when I had my first interaction with Brian Festa, on a thread that has since been deleted. On the thread, Brian, claiming to be a lawyer, (I did not believe this at first, but alas, he is a lawyer) claimed that because of vaccine exemptions, Connecticut did not have vaccine mandates, nor had the state had vaccine mandates for decades. I kid you not! There, on a public post thread was this lawyer not understanding what vaccine mandates are and that they do exist, regardless of exemptions. At that point he became a blip on my radar, though I did not give him much thought seeing as I did not know or care who he was, or that he was a co-founder of CFA.
What's The Harm?