Lawmakers in New York voted in favor of eliminating religious exemptions for school vaccines for children, while the state is battling a measles epidemic.
The law was passed Thursday night and caused chaotic scenes in the reception hall as anti-vaccination supporters clashed with lawmakers.
Much of the New York epidemic has focused on orthodox Jewish communities.
Measles has been diagnosed in more than 1,000 Americans in 2019. According to health officials, the disease is resurging.
Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the United States, which effectively eliminated measles in 2000, could lose its "measles elimination status" while infections are at their highest level in 27 years.
- Record outbreak puts US measles-free status at risk
The new New York law, which was passed by the Senate and Democratic House Chambers, prohibits parents from demanding religious exemptions that allowed their children to forgo the vaccinations that are normally required to go to the United States. # 39; school.
"I am not aware of any element of the Torah, the Bible, the Qur'an, or anything else that suggests that we will not be vaccinated," said Bronx Democrat Jeffrey Dinowitz, who sponsored the project. of law.
Senator Brad Hoylman added, "We are putting science ahead of misinformation about vaccines and defending the rights of immunocompromised children and adults, pregnant women and infants who can not be vaccinated without fault on their part."
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ratified the bill just hours after it was passed by the legislator, said in a statement: "The science is crystal clear: vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect our children . "
"While I understand and respect religious freedom, our first job is to protect public health and, by signing this measure, we will help prevent new transmissions and stop this epidemic without delay."
Nearly three quarters of measles cases in New York occurred among orthodox Jews in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, New York.
California, Mississippi, West Virginia and Maine have also banned exemptions for non-medical vaccines for schoolchildren.
Similar exemptions are still allowed in the other 45 states, but some legislators have already taken steps to remove them.
While the law was passed in Albany, religious protesters gathered to voice their opposition to the bill began shouting "shame," while others shouted blasphemies.
"We'll be back for you Jeffrey!" Shouted a man in religious attire, addressing the sponsor of the bill.
"I'm sure hallways are very dangerous for me right now," Dinowitz reacted to the New York Post after the apparent threat.
The law allows students, 30 days after entering school, to submit proof of their immunization. Without this proof, students may be prevented from enrolling.
Health officials on Thursday shut down two Williamsburg schools after inspections revealed that they allowed unvaccinated students to attend classes.
The closure marks eleven schools that were closed after the mayor of New York City issued a prescription requiring vaccination of anyone attending, working or visiting a school in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
Until the beginning of the US vaccination campaign in the 1960s, thousands of children were afflicted with this sometimes fatal disease each year.
According to CDC figures, the number of cases dropped to 100 a year ten years ago.