New York added to this week's school shopping lists with new rules that require children to receive more vaccinations for highly contagious diseases like measles, mumps and chickenpox before they start school. If they don't have their vaccinations, they must make an appointment for them in order to stay in school.
That's a good dose of necessary medicine -- but New York has to do even more.
Just look at California, which recently enacted a sweeping vaccination law that removes religious or philosophical exemptions, but allows medical ones. Beginning next July, all schoolchildren there must be vaccinated against a number of diseases, including measles.
New York still allows religious and medical exemptions. If only it had the same legislative sense as California.
Assemb. Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) and Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) have proposed a bill that would eliminate all nonmedical exemptions, including religious ones. But they'll have opposition. In January, two New York legislators pushed a bill that would allow "philosophical" disapproval as a legitimate excuse to not vaccinate. Assemb. Tom Abinanti (D-Westchester) stressed the necessity for freedom in deciding what substances to put in our children's bodies.
This argument is dismissed by countless scientific authorities who say the dangers of vaccinations are exaggerated and there's no link between them and autism.
Earlier this year, a bill was proposed by Assemb. Aravella Simotas (D-Queens) and Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) that tried only to limit religious exemptions by requiring parents to have an affidavit signed by a physician saying they had discussed the medical risks of not vaccinating. Unfortunately, that bill died.
That must not happen again. The stronger bill now before the State Legislature must be made law.
The state health department said 97% of students are immunized. Three percent unvaccinated is more than enough to spark a nasty outbreak. New York should follow the West Coast and end this nonsense.