New York aims to end religious vaccine exemptionsPosted by Josh Taylor / April 6, 2019
New York lawmakers have suggested a bill that ends religious vaccine exemptions amidst a measles outbreak. State Sen. David Carlucci has said, “The goal here is to push legislation to remove all non-medical exemptions for vaccination for children to go to school in New York state. We’ve seen the spread of measles really spread like wildfire in communities where the vaccination rates are not high.” A group of Democratic lawmakers support the bill, which aims to close what’s called the “personal belief loophole.” Lawmakers assert that no major religions prohibit vaccinations, but instead that the decision to opt out of a vaccine is based on individuals’ personal beliefs.
Measles outbreaks are on the rise around the country. There have been a total of 87 individual, confirmed cases of measles in 15 states from January 1 to March 28, making this current outbreak streak the second highest. The dubious honor of first goes to an outbreak that infected 667 in 2014. The recent swath of outbreaks comes individuals returning from places like Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, which are all experiencing major outbreaks. Measles outbreaks are only going to get worse as more parents refuse to vaccinate their children. We can therefore expect more laws like this to crop up in effected states.