New York Suburb Bars Unvaccinated Minors From Public Spaces – Do You Support the Ban?
Should unvaccinated minors be banned from public spaces?
by Countable | 3.27.19
What’s the story?
- New York’s Rockland County has declared a state of emergency and banned unvaccinated children from all public spaces amid the largest measles outbreak in decades.
- Anyone unvaccinated and below the age of 18 will not be permitted in public places - such as churches, schools, and shopping centers – unless they receive the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. The ban expires in 30 days.
- As of Tuesday, there were 153 confirmed cases of measles in Rockland County.
"We believe this to be the first such effort of this kind nationally and the circumstances we face here clearly call for that," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day at a Tuesday press conference. "Rockland will lead the way in service and safety to the people here."
- Those found in violation of the ban could face six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
- The outbreak has been largely concentrated in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Rockland County. Most states currently allow parents to opt out of vaccinations for religious reasons, and 17 states allow exemptions for personal and philosophical reasons.
- Following the recent measles outbreak, however, at least eight states want to curb personal exemptions for the measles vaccine and some states want to remove “philosophical exemptions" for all vaccines.
What are "philosophical exemptions"?
- While scientific evidence shows that vaccines are safe and effective, 18 states currently allow parents to opt-out of vaccinating their children for “philosophical reasons.”
- "Nobody should sit in judgment of another person's religious and spiritual beliefs," Barbara Loe Fisher, a spokesperson for the National Vaccine Information Center, a group that lobbies against mandatory vaccination, told NPR.
"No person should be allowed to force someone to violate their conscience when they're making a decision about the use of a pharmacological product that carries a risk of harm."
Source: Adapted from Immunization Action Coalition, Feb. 2017 (published by the National Conference of State Legislatures).
What are the laws?
- All 50 states have laws requiring specific vaccines for students.
- All 50 states allow medical exemption to vaccination.
- Every state except Mississippi and West Virginia grant religious exemptions—for example, Christian Scientists believe diseases should be healed through prayer.
- 18 states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral, or other beliefs. This includes the thoroughly-discredited myth that vaccines cause autism.
Which states allow nonmedical exemptions?
- Nonmedical exemptions (NMEs) are permitted in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
What do you think?
Should more states ban unvaccinated children from public spaces? Or should more states offer NMEs? In Virginia, parents can receive a personal exemption only for the HPV vaccine—should NMEs only pertain to certain vaccines? Take action above and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / triocean)
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