New York State Bans Religious Exemptions For Vaccines
The ongoing measles crisis in the Hudson Valley has led to New York State eliminating religious exemptions for vaccinations.
On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation removing non-medical exemptions from school vaccination requirements for children.
"The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe. This administration has taken aggressive action to contain the measles outbreak, but given its scale, additional steps are needed to end this public health crisis," Governor Cuomo said. "While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health and by signing this measure into law, we will help prevent further transmissions and stop this outbreak right in its tracks."
As a result of non-medical vaccination exemptions, many communities across New York have unacceptably low rates of vaccination, and those unvaccinated children can often attend a school where they may spread the disease to other unvaccinated students, according to the Governor's Office.
The new law is aimed to help protect the public during the ongoing measles outbreak.
The United States is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of measles in over 25 years, with outbreaks in the Hudson Valley and Brooklyn driving the crisis, officials say.
"It is great to see our hard work and advocacy for Statewide legislation come to fruition," Rockland County Executive Ed Day said. "Once again we see Rockland, while in the face of great adversity, leading the way. We will apply this law rapidly and as soon as legally permissible."
As of Thursday, there are 335 confirmed cases of measles in the Hudson Valley, according to the New York State Department of Health. There are 266 confirmed cases in Rockland County, 43 in Orange County, 18 in Westchester County, 7 in Sullivan County and 1 in Greene County
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