ALBANY — After a measles outbreak in Brooklyn and Rockland County and amid growing concerns about the anti-vaccine movement, a pair of state legislators are proposing allowing minors to receive vaccinations without permission from their parents.
The bill would allow any child 14 years or older to be vaccinated and given booster shots for a range of diseases including mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, influenza, hepatitis B and measles, which seemed to be the primary reason for alarm after the recent outbreaks.
“We are on the verge of a public health crisis,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, a Democrat from Albany, citing lower-than-recommended inoculation rates in some communities, spurred by unconfirmed suspicions about vaccines causing autism. “We’ve become complacent over the last couple of decades.”
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That sentiment was amplified recently by the World Health Organization, which listed “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the Top 10 global threats. In Rockland County, officials are reporting 145 confirmed cases of measles, with the vast majority of those afflicted aged 18 and under. Of those, four out of five have received no vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella.
City health officials have also reported more than 100 cases of measles in Brooklyn, and a single case in Queens as well. As in Rockland County, most of those cases involved members of the Orthodox Jewish communities where vaccination rates typically lag well behind the norm.
If passed and signed into law, the bill would make New York part of a group of states — ranging from liberal Oregon to conservative South Carolina — that allow minors to ask for vaccinations without parental approval, though some states also require minors to be evaluated to determine if they are mature enough to make such a decision. The New York bill would not require such an evaluation.
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NEW CITY, NY — A Rockland lawmaker is accusing the county executive of politicizing the ongoing measles outbreak, something the county executive forcefully denies. Legislator Aron Wieder, D-District 13, said County Executive Ed Day has used the measles outbreak as a political tool against the Orthodox Jewish community and says he must stop immediately.
In an open letter to Day, Wieder said private schools were already complying with the county Health Department’s request for student immunization records when the cooperation stopped and the threat of steep fines began — all so that the county executive could make it seem that it was him alone that brought about the compliance.
“The truth is that these nine private schools, some of them with small staffs and shoestring budgets, were already 90 percent in compliance before any threat of fines arose,” Wieder wrote. “They had provided the vast majority of student health records and simply needed an additional week to fully complete the information, and they informed the Health Department as such.”
Wieder accused Day of making it seem that it was only because of his efforts that private schools complied and that they would not have had he not intervened.
Day, a Republican, responded, saying Wieder’s statements were incorrect
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