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Measles Outbreak: N.Y. Eliminates Religious Exemptions for Vaccinations

The move comes while the United States is experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in 25 years

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In this March 27, 2019 file photo, a woman receives a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., north of New York City. VOA

New York is the latest state where parents can no longer refuse to vaccinate children on religious grounds.

Both houses of the New York State Assembly passed the measure Thursday and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it immediately.

The move comes while the United States is experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in 25 years.

Parents in New York have up to 30 days to get their children immunized against contagious diseases such as measles, or they would be barred from school.

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New York is the latest state where parents can no longer refuse to vaccinate children on religious grounds. Pixabay

Some parents shouted curses and booed as state lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, calling it a violation of religious freedom.

“People came to this country to get away from exactly this kind of stuff,” a member of a Russian Orthodox Church said.

But the bill’s sponsor said he is not aware of anything in the Torah, the Bible, or the Koran commanding that children not get vaccinated.

“If you choose not to vaccinate your child, therefore potentially endangering other children…then you’re the one choosing not to send your children to school,” Bronx assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said.

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Most cases of measles in New York are in New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community.

Governor Cuomo said he “understands freedom of religion. I have heard the anti-vaxxers’ theory, but I believe both are overwhelmed by the public health risk.”

Health officials in the United States and around the world are fighting widely spread disinformation that vaccines against measles and other diseases cause autism.

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Both houses of the New York State Assembly passed the measure Thursday. Pixabay

They call the global anti-vaccination campaign a major threat to public health.

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Some of the New York lawmakers say some parents who believe vaccines are harmful may be using freedom of religion as an excuse not to get shots for their children. (VOA)

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US Measles Caseload Rises Again: 22 New Infections Recorded Amid The Worst Outbreak in 27 Years

The number of cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease rose 2.2%

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File - A woman receives a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., north of New York City, March 27, 2019. VOA

The United States recorded 22 new measles cases last week, bringing the year’s total number of cases to 1,044 in the worst outbreak of the disease since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease rose 2.2% in the week ended June 13 from the prior week. The 2019 outbreak, which has spread to 28 states, is the worst since 1992, when 2,126 cases were recorded.

Most of the new cases occurred in New York, with 13 occurring in Rockland County and eight in New York City, a CDC spokesman said.

Health experts say the virus has spread among school-age children whose parents declined to give them the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease. A vocal fringe of U.S. parents, some in New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, cite concerns that the vaccine may cause autism, despite scientific studies that have debunked such claims.

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The United States recorded 22 new measles cases last week. Pixabay

The disease has mostly affected children who have not received the vaccine.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.

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CDC officials have warned that the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the ongoing outbreak, which began in October 2018 in New York, continues until October 2019. The outbreak has escalated since 82 people in 2018 and more than 40 people in 2019 brought measles to the United States from other countries, most frequently Ukraine, Israel and the Philippines, federal officials said. (VOA)