Let’s End New York’s Religious Vaccine Exemption Before It’s Too Late

Dear Friend of CFI in New York:

In February, we urged you to tell your representatives to support legislation (A02371 in the Assembly and S02994 in the Senate) repealing New York’s religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations. This bill still needs a push to get over the finish line. Last week, the bill was sent back to the health committee to review a minor amendment. The health committee will have to approve the latest version before the bill can receive a final vote.

On Tuesday the bill sponsors, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-81) and Senator Brad Hoylman (D-27), held a press conference where they called for the Legislature to approve this legislation before the end of the annual session in mid-June. Tell your representatives to advance this legislation before it’s too late. 

Already, multiple communities in New York have suffered measles outbreaks due to insufficient rates of vaccination among children. The worst of these outbreaks, in Rockland County, was fueled by religious dogma in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish community where 247 cases have been confirmed so far.

Will you tell your state representatives to support legislation repealing the religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations?

Like many states, New York exempts children attending school or day care from immunization if mom or dad objects on religious grounds. Carving out exemptions to public health law is a form of religious privilege that violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. It’s also incredibly dangerous, and has already harmed many children through no fault of their own.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend an immunization rate of at least 95 percent to stop the spread of contagious diseases. But CDC has found that there are 285 schools in New York with an immunization rate of less than 85 percent, and 170 of these schools have an immunization rate of less than 70 percent. These gaps in immunization are dangerous, unhealthy, and unjustified by medical science.

We need you tell your state representatives why vaccines are important to you, and why they should repeal New York’s religious exemption now. Do you have a child who is vaccinated and free from measles, mumps, rubella, and other deadly illnesses? Do you have a child who, due to an immunodeficiency, relies on our society to protect them through herd immunity? Are you concerned about preventing the spread of disease in your community? If so, won’t you tell your elected officials?

All you need to do is use our action alert system to send a letter to your representatives in the New York State Assembly and Senate. Take action now!

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