Infecting People Isn’t a Religious Right

e681797da8c744378f1af368b9f084a6-jumboSource: The New York Times

It’s no coincidence that measles is spreading across the United States after a decade in which the number of parents claiming exemption for their children from vaccination has grown. The outbreak has been most intense in New York, particularly in deeply insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and upstate that have been vulnerable to misinformation and resistant to vaccination.

To halt the spread of the disease, bills in the State Senate and Assembly would prevent parents from claiming that their religious beliefs exempt them from legal requirements that their children be vaccinated before going to school. The American Academy of Pediatrics has made the elimination of such nonmedical exemptions its top priority this year.

The legislation would allow exemptions only if a licensed doctor certified that the immunization was detrimental to the child’s health, as is the case in current law.

Action on these sensible bills has stalled, however, just weeks before legislators leave for the summer —  even as the latest cases of the highly contagious and sometimes fatal disease were diagnosed in New York last week.

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