New York eliminates religious exemption to vaccine requirements
After the measles outbreak has continued to grow in NYC, New York officials are taking a stand on vaccine requirements.
The Senate and Assembly voted on Thursday to repeal the exception that allows parents to opt of vaccines because of their religious beliefs, ABC reports.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the measure shortly after. Although the Governor says he understands religious freedom, he also remarked that public health is at risk.
This measure comes after New York City closed more than ten schools for violating the Health Commissioners emergency order regarding the measles outbreak. The New York City's mayor's office told Metro that as of June 10, there have been well over 437 cases in the Williamsburg area alone.
Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said that "…We also continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, and their communities against measles."
Although many New Yorkers are pleased by these actions, others took to New York Capitol to protest, saying that it is an attack on religious freedom in the state.
New York follows 46 other states which have similar exceptions.
Supporters of the bill believe in the power of science instead of the power of religion. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan spoke to ABC and said, "I believe in science... Your personal opinions, which may be based on junk science, do not trump the greater good."
Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan also spoke to ABC on behalf of the bill, saying, "The atrocious peddlers of junk science and fraudulent medicine who we know as anti-vaxxers have spent years sowing unwarranted doubt and fear, but it is time for legislators to confront them head-on."
The bill would not change the exception given to kids who cannot have vaccines for medical reasons.
Once it is officially signed, it will take effect immediately, but it will allow students up to 30 days to get vaccinated after attending school to show proof of the vaccination.
For more information about the measles outbreak, visit www1.nyc.gov.