Health + Wellness

Unvaccinated Children Are Now Barred From Going To School In New York

This summer, amid the worst measles outbreak in decades, New York passed a law that says children who are not vaccinated can’t attend classes.

Furious anti-vax parents in New York this week are posting memes and images of sad children and have shown up in person to protest the governor because a new law prohibiting unvaccinated children from attending school went into effect.

The mandate, enacted in June, “prohibits a school from permitting any child to be admitted to such school, or to attend such school, in excess of 14 days without sufficient evidence that the child has received all age appropriate required vaccinations,” according an official publication from the New York Department of Health, Office of Children and Family Services, and the State Education Department.

Those 14-day grace periods started expiring this week, which meant school officials barred students from going to class or began removing them from schools, to be picked up by their parents. (To be clear, the students could return to school if their parents had them vaccinated.)

Up until the new law was passed, unvaccinated children could be enrolled in school or childcare centers if their parent or guardian held “genuine and sincere religious beliefs” against immunization. Medical exemptions are still allowed, but a physician with a New York license must first certify “that such immunization may be detrimental to a child’s health.”

“I understand freedom of religion. We all do. We respect it. I’ve heard the anti-vaxxers’ theory, but I believe both are overwhelmed by the public health risk,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters after signing the bill June 13.

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