NY state ends religious exemption for school vaccination requirements

Posted: Updated:
SPRING VALLEY -

New York lawmakers are taking a big step in the fight against the measles outbreak in the area.

The state Senate and Assembly passed a bill Thursday eliminating religious exemptions for school vaccine requirements. Gov. Andrew Cuomo then signed it into law to take effect immediately.

Children were previously allowed to attend New York's public schools without required vaccines if parents cited religious beliefs to opt their children out of required shots.

MORE: New York ends religious exemption to vaccine mandates

Those against vaccinations argue the new law is an assault on religious freedom. Lawmakers say their top priority is to protect the public health and put an end to this outbreak.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, more than 1,000 measles cases have been confirmed in 28 states, marking the greatest number of cases reported in the country since the measles virus was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.

In Rockland County, there are currently 266 cases reported since the outbreak began in the fall.

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