Professor: End religious exemption for vaccinations amid ‘health crisis’
A professor at Brooklyn College is calling on the state to pass a bill ending the religious exemption for vaccinations now that more than 250 measles cases have been confirmed citywide.
The bill before the state Assembly would end the religious exemption for mandated school age vaccination. Some lawmakers and activists say it is necessary, and to help those students who are unable to receive the vaccine for medical reasons.
Professor David Bloomfield says the bill needs to pass in the state because the Supreme Court ruled in a prior case in 1944 that the right to practice religion freely does not include the liberty to expose the community to disease.
He says no major religion supports the anti-vaccination movement, and information being spread by “anti-vaxers” is based on fake science.
In New York, parents can claim a personal religious exemption based on individual beliefs regarding vaccinations. Professor Bloomfield says because of the outbreak, that needs to change.
"It's a health crisis,” says Bloomfield. “…They must be vaccinated in order to protect the public.”
He says learning how to get around with a religious exemption is as easy as googling how to do it, and its being exploited.
Gary Schlesinger, the CEO of Parcare Community Health Network, says getting the vaccine before the Passover holiday is a great way to prevent the spread of the measles virus.