Assemblywoman Buttenschon: Health of Mohawk Valley Children is Paramount

“Vaccinations are a crucial step to keep our children safe from debilitating, sometimes life-threatening diseases. While everyone has the right to express their religious beliefs, how they practice can’t come at the cost of the lives of New York’s most vulnerable. This is why I helped pass a measure repealing all nonmedical exemptions from vaccination requirements, including for religious practices (A.2371-A) – to help keep Mohawk Valley children safe and healthy in school.

“This has become an urgent matter of public health. Currently, the United States is facing the worst measles outbreak in decades, with New York accounting for a majority of the cases.[1] Measles, a highly contagious disease, is particularly life-threatening to those who can’t be vaccinated, such as infants and the elderly.[2] It’s simply irresponsible to allow children in our schools to be unvaccinated, exposing fellow students who are medically unable to receive immunizations to dangerous diseases. Currently, New York requires all children attending school to receive several immunizations, including for measles, unless it’s detrimental to their health or for certain nonmedical reasons, such as religious beliefs. However, the spread of dangerous misinformation regarding vaccines has caused the religious exemption to be misused. The Assembly’s legislation will save lives, protecting those who are susceptible to illnesses and medically unable to receive vaccines.

“For the sake of our children’s lives, we can’t stand idly by while disease spreads. I’ll always put the health and safety of Mohawk Valley residents first.”