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USA: New York Lawmakers Want to Let Teenagers Get Vaccines on Their Own

12 Mar, 2019
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ALBANY — After a measles outbreak in Brooklyn and Rockland County and amid growing concerns about the anti-vaccine movement, a pair of state legislators are proposing allowing minors to receive vaccinations without permission from their parents.

The bill would allow any child 14 years or older to be vaccinated and given booster shots for a range of diseases including mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, influenza, hepatitis B and measles, which seemed to be the primary reason for alarm after the recent outbreaks.

“We are on the verge of a public health crisis,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, a Democrat from Albany, citing lower-than-recommended inoculation rates in some communities, spurred by unconfirmed suspicions about vaccines causing autism. “We’ve become complacent over the last couple of decades.”

[Your questions on measles and its vaccine, answered.]

That sentiment was amplified recently by the World Health Organization, which listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the Top 10 global threats. In Rockland County, officials are reporting 145 confirmed cases of measles, with the vast majority of those afflicted aged 18 and under. Of those, four out of five have received no vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella.

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City health officials have also reported more than 100 cases of measles in Brooklyn, and a single case in Queens as well. As in Rockland County, most of those cases involved members of the Orthodox Jewish communities where vaccination rates typically lag well behind the norm.

 
A measles outbreak occurred at Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov in Brooklyn, New York after an unvaccinated child went to school.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

 
A measles outbreak occurred at Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov in Brooklyn, New York after an unvaccinated child went to school.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

[One Student Was Not Vaccinated Against Measles. 21 Others Got Sick.]

If passed and signed into law, the bill would make New York part of a group of states — ranging from liberal Oregon to conservative South Carolina — that allow minors to ask for vaccinations without parental approval, though some states also require minors to be evaluated to determine if they are mature enough to make such a decision. The New York bill would not require such an evaluation.

Even more states, including New York, allow minors to seek out health care services on issues like substance abuse, mental health issues or reproductive health services.

The introduction of the bill came just days after dramatic Congressional testimony from an Ohio teenager, Ethan Lindenberger, who defied his mother’s wishes and got vaccinated after he became convinced that she had fallen prey to online conspiracy theories about the dangers of vaccines. Multiple studies have debunked such theories, including a major European report issued last week, which showed that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination does not increase the risk for autism.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 at 5:54 pm and is filed under Latest News.

Literature Literature archive

Roxanne Nelson 2019 Lancet Infectious Diseases Vol19 (3):248,
Owen Dyer 2019 BMJ 364:l739 doi: 10.1136/bmj.l739
Lee TH, McGlynn EA, Safran DG. 2019 JAMA 321(6):539–540. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.19186

Videos Video archive

Key figures share their perspectives on a controversy that led to the suspension of Ebola vaccine clinical trials in Ghana.

Drs. Heidi Larson and Pauline Paterson of the Vaccine Confidence Project join episode 50 of the Public Health United podcast with Nina Martin, November 2017.

Drs. Larson and Paterson join a discussion on vaccine confidence at Hong Kong University.  September, 2015.

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