USA: Religious vaccine exemption ban could keep 1,200 kids out of school

24 Jul, 2019
, Source:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – About 1,200 Central New York children who had religious exemptions for vaccinations against measles and other diseases could be banned from school in September unless they get their shots as required under a new state law.

report released by the New York State Health Foundation shows 1,182 children in the region and 26,217 statewide were not vaccinated during the 2017-2018 school year because of religious exemptions. The report, based on data from the state Education Department, shows the number of children in each county with religious exemptions.

New York approved legislation last month ending the religious exemption from immunizations required for children to attend school. Medical exemptions are still allowed.

The state took that action because New York is the epicenter of a national measles epidemic. More than 1,000 cases of the highly contagious disease have been reported nationwide since September, the highest number since 2012.

Under the new law children who had religious exemptions were required to get their first dose of vaccine by June 28. Parents and guardians also were required to provide evidence to their children’s schools by July 14 they have appointments to get their required subsequent doses. The foundation said it’s too early to know if parents are complying.

A lawsuit challenging the new law was filed July 10 and other legal challenges are expected.

Under the new law, kids who are not vaccinated and do not have a valid medical exemption cannot legally attend school in the state. Schools that continue to permit unvaccinated students to attend without a medical exemption may face civil penalties.

Here are the number of children in each Central New York county who had religious exemptions, according to the report: Onondaga, 450; Tompkins, 283; Oneida, 152; Oswego, 102; Madison, 78; Cortland, 62 and Cayuga, 55.

The new law applies to all K-12 public, private and parochial schools, as well as preschools and daycare centers.

The report shows these three private schools had the highest rates of religious vaccine exemptions of any schools in Onondaga County: Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, Warners, 68.35 percent; Montessori Discovery School, Syracuse, 30 percent; and Baldwinsville Christian Academy, 10.75 percent.

Here’s state Education Department enrollment data for those three schools: Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God, 168; Montessori Discovery School, 15; and Baldwinsville Christian Academy, 81.

Religious vaccine exemption rates for most other schools in the county were below 5 percent.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 at 3:57 pm and is filed under Latest News.

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