Health Department issues emergency vaccine requirements

Health News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In June, Governor Cuomo signed off on a law that terminates religious exemptions for vaccinations. Now, the state Department of Health has rolled out new “emergency regulations” before the school year gets started.

The DOH has come out with new vaccine requirements to make sure no one is skirting the law.

It’s an issue that brought hundreds to the Capitol grounds last week. Parents against a law banning religious exemptions for vaccines showed up in full force to support a court challenge.

“It’s really unfair how quickly everything turned about, giving the parents no chance or thought process of what to do,” Janitza Melo, a parent, said.

While a judge hasn’t issued a ruling yet on the request for a preliminary injunction, the Department of Health is moving ahead with its new rules. Now doctors who issue medical exemptions will need to fill out additional forms that outline specific reasons as to why a child isn’t vaccinated.

In a press release the Department says it’s to “prevent medical exemptions from being used for inappropriate reasons.”

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said in a statement:

These regulations will ensure that those who have legitimate medical reasons for not getting vaccinated are still able to obtain medical exemptions while also preventing abuse of this option by those without such medical conditions.

As parents against the new law wait for a court decision, they’re looking at different options.

“Worst case scenario which is not  ideal for us, I would have to home-school,” Melo said.

The state Department of Health says the country is currently experiencing the worst measles outbreak in 25 years.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia called vaccines the “safest and most effective way to protect students from debilitating diseases.”

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