New York State Bill A.2371/S.2994, which clarifies that the only permissible exception from New York’s vaccination requirements is if a patient's medical condition would place them at risk for adverse outcomes if immunized, is currently in Committee, but will soon be placed for a vote. NYACP has commenced an advocacy call-to-action in strong support of these bills, and more than 70 members and 175 messages have been sent to New York legislators urging them to pass the bill, all in just a few short days.
As of June 7, 2019, there were 890 measles cases confirmed in New York State by the CDC. Local authorities in affected counties and in New York City have declared that they are facing a public health emergency. This is now the greatest number of measles cases reported in the U.S. since the CDC declared measles eliminated in 2000.
The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that a state can mandate vaccines and accompany those vaccine mandates with a criminal fine for those not in compliance. More broadly, the court ruled that the state can impose “reasonable regulations” to protect the public health, even when such regulations interfere with individual rights. The case – Jacobson v. Massachusetts, has since been a staple of public health law. Throughout the years, there have been challenges to this case, but the court continues to maintain this precedent.
Asserting religious exceptions to vaccinations impacts not only those asserting the exception, but also those who interact with them who may not have received the vaccination due to medical reasons or who are too young to even be immunized. Under proposed legislation, parents would continue to maintain the legal right to refuse immunizations for themselves and their children. However, they would not have the right to send their children to licensed infant and child care programs or to public school and expose other young children, students and staff. We urge your support of this legislation on behalf of all New Yorkers.
NYACP will continue to monitor these bills and inform members of their progress. Please join NYACP in this call to action campaign here.