A law passed on June 13 made New York state the fifth state to ban all nonmedical exemptions to vaccines — making a state marred by measles outbreaks one of the strictest states on vaccines in the country.
Now that the first day of school is just around the corner for the students of New York, the new law, which has been hotly debated by anti-vaxx activists, has come into play. The new law now essentially means that about 26,000 students in New York State have to start getting vaccinated within the first two weeks of classes and have to complete their vaccination course by the end of the school year. The penalty? Parents who still refuse to vaccinate their kids will either have to homeschool their kids or leave the state to go to a state that allows nonmedical exemptions for vaccines.
New York State — and New York City in particular — has been awash with measles outbreaks, with the city declaring a public health emergency in April of this year in certain neighborhoods of Brooklyn where there were very high rates of unvaccinated kids, largely in Orthodox Jewish communities. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the outbreak of measles that affected about 650 kids across the city was over on Tuesday of this week, but that in order to prevent another devastating outbreak from hitting the city, the vaccination rates must rise.
Now, those parents will have to choose whether they want to homeschool their kids or move out of New York entirely with this new rule. New York joins only five other states in the country that ban nonmedical exemptions with vaccines — California, Mississippi, Maine and West Virginia also don’t allow nonmedical vaccine exemptions. Maine’s law will go into effect in 2021. While other states allow exemptions for disabled kids, New York’s law does not.