ALBANY, New York, USA (AP) — New York state eliminated on Thursday the religious exemption from vaccination requirements for school-age children, at a time when the worst outbreak of measles in the United States in decades is causing states to Pien Sen twice before tolerating some parents evade immunization standards. The state Senate and assembly, with Democratic majorities, voted on Thursday to reject the exemption, which allows parents to wield their religious beliefs to waive their children’s immunizations required to enroll them in school.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo promulgated the measure minutes after the final vote. The law becomes effective immediately, but will give unvaccinated students up to 30 days after they enter the school to show that they have received the first dose of each required immunization.
Similar exemptions are still allowed in 45 states, although legislators in several of them have submitted their own bill to eliminate them. The issue is very controversial, and the debates are often very emotional: on one side it is argued that religious freedom is being restricted, while in the other it is warned that public health is being jeopardized. After the vote in the Assembly, many of those who watched from the Prorrumpieron gallery shouted “What a shame!” and a woman shouted obscenities to legislators. The debate has intensified following this year’s measles outbreak, which has exceeded 1,000 cases, the highest level in 27 years, the federal authorities said. I am not aware of anything in the Torah, the Bible, the Quran, or anything else that intimate that one should not be vaccinated, “said Democrat Jeffrey Dinowitz, promoter of the bill in the assembly.