(Albany, NY) The Senate will pass legislation today that will combat the measles epidemic and protect the health of New York's most vulnerable residents. This legislative package responds to the most important measles epidemic of the past 25 years. Measles was officially declared eliminated in 2000, thanks to a highly effective vaccination campaign. Unfortunately, measles has reappeared, especially in unvaccinated people, threatening the health of New Yorkers. To cope with this epidemic, the majority of the Senate introduced bills to end exemptions from religious exemptions and raise awareness about the safety of immunizations.
"Vaccines save lives. We are at the heart of a measles epidemic that could be completely prevented by appropriate vaccines ", Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins I said. "The fact that New York State is responsible for the overwhelming majority of these cases of measles is shameful and we must act to protect the health of New Yorkers. Legislation put forward by the Senate majority will help save lives and prevent preventable diseases from becoming epidemics in our state. I thank Senator Hoylman, Senator Carlucci and Senator Montgomery, sponsors of the bill, for their bold leadership on this crucial issue. "
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,022 cases of measles in 22 states. As of June 10, there were 588 confirmed cases in New York and 334 cases of measles confirmed elsewhere in the state of New York, including 266 in Rockland County, 43 in Orange County, 18 in the United States. Westchester County, 7 in Sullivan County, 1 in Suffolk County and 1 in Greene County. This means that more than 90% of measles cases in the United States are in the state of New York. This fact reinforces the need for the state government to take decisive action to protect the health of New Yorkers.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Brad Hoylman"Today, the Senate of the State sends a strong message to New Yorkers: vaccines are safe and effective. We put science before misinformation about vaccines and defend the rights of immunocompromised children and adults, pregnant women and infants who can not be vaccinated without fault. Thanks to our actions today, we can help prevent future outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles. I am extremely grateful to Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my Senate colleagues for supporting our legislation to end non-medical exemptions for vaccinations in New York. "
Sponsor of the bill, Senator David Carlucci"By ending exemptions for non-medical vaccines, more people will be vaccinated and the spread of measles will be halted. It's about public safety and scientific monitoring. Vaccines save lives and not one organized religion denounces vaccines. We can not allow misinformation based on the science of junk food to fuel anti-vaccine sentiment. Therefore, the government must also develop a long-term vaccine awareness campaign to educate communities with low vaccination rates before such outbreaks occur. "
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Velmanette Montgomery "New York families are diverse and unique and many do not conform to the traditional sense of biological relationships. Legal custodians are responsible for the health, well-being and safety of their child and these custodians deserve the same rights as biological parents to make important decisions about their family. This bill will empower thousands of legal guardians to raise their families without any restrictions on the exercise of their rights as parents. I am proud to sponsor this bill and modernize the way in which New York State defines parenting relationships. "
Legislation passed by the Democratic majority of the Senate includes:
- Eliminate religious exemptions: This bill, S.2994-A, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, will repeal New York's religious exemption for immunization requirements.
- Establishment of the vaccination awareness campaign in the state of New York: This Bill, S.5136-B, sponsored by Senator David Carlucci, will call on the state's Department of Health to promote and sustain the New York State Immunization Awareness Campaign.
- Modernize the definition of a person in a parental relationship: This bill, S.4475, sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery, will expand state legislation to recognize parents with legal custody orders. This will enable tens of thousands of legal repositories throughout the state to assume appropriate health, immunization and educational responsibilities, essential to the provision of care.
Deputy Leader of the Senate, Michael Gianaris said: "Vaccines do not cause diseases, they prevent them. Serious conditions such as measles are increasing due to decreased use of vaccines. These are facts proven by science. I am proud that the Senate is taking this step to protect children from preventable diseases. "
Senator Jamaal Bailey "The vaccination of our young New Yorkers is vital for public health. We have recently seen the devastating effects that can occur when children are not vaccinated. I want to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues Senator Hoylman, Carlucci and Montgomery for their leadership on this issue. This set of laws would eliminate religious exemptions for vaccination, create an awareness campaign, and modernize the definition of parental relationship to give legal guardians appropriate responsibilities for health, immunization and education. "
Senator Alessandra Biaggi "When we rely on scientific facts, the conclusion is simple: vaccinations save lives. If everyone is vaccinated, every New Yorker – from the youngest to the oldest – is protected from deadly diseases. I am a strong supporter of this legislative package to expand immunization requirements and awareness, as I am a strong supporter of the safety and health of our communities. "
Senator Liz Krueger "In terms of public health policy, our primary responsibility as legislators is to protect New York families. This means relying on the best scientific data, extensive research and proven medical practice. The science is clear: vaccines are safe. This is not a religious issue, it is a health issue and the public health needs are paramount, especially those of children and other vulnerable people who can not be vaccinated for medical reasons. I congratulate my colleagues in the Senate for passing this bill today. "
Senator Shelley B. Mayer "The bills we passed today are a response to public health crises and the need to control the spread of the measles virus through education and the elimination of the religious exemption. , while maintaining the medical exemption. It is the most effective response to manage the rapid spread of measles and protect New Yorkers. In the past, I respected the sincere religious objections to vaccination. However, because of the growing need to address this public health crisis, we must do more to protect vulnerable New Yorkers, especially children and the elderly. The New York State School Boards Association, the NYS Council of School Surintendents and the NYS PTA support the elimination of the religious exemption for vaccinations. "
Senator Jen Metzger "Unvaccinated children are at great risk for immunocompromised children and adults, pregnant women, infants and the elderly, and it is my duty as legislators to reduce the risks to public health and save lives. As a representative of several countries affected by measles outbreaks, I support this package of legislation as a means to best protect children, as well as adults and older people in our communities. "
Senator Roxanne J. Persaud "In New York, across the country and around the world, children are dependent on adults to take care of them. Our responsibility to keep children safe and healthy includes vaccines that are crucial to preventing a child from serious illnesses as well as spreading preventable diseases. I commend my colleagues in the Senate for advocating for laws that take into account the best interests of the health and well-being of our young people. "
Senator Jessica Ramos "Vaccines are the most studied, the most understood and the most effective medical advances ever made. I vote yes today to protect my children and all New York children from the deadly diseases that we have eradicated. These bills will allow us to eradicate its resurgence. "
Senator Gustavo Rivera "Although I know that parents across the country religiously fear or object that their child is being vaccinated, as chair of the Senate Health Committee, my primary responsibility is to protect the public health of our state. By establishing stricter and more consistent immunization standards across the country and increasing New Yorkers' awareness of the effectiveness of immunization, we are taking steps to protect the public health of our communities during a measles outbreak. which has touched hundreds of New Yorkers. I firmly believe that it is the most prudent option for families and communities in the state of New York. "
Senator James Skoufis "Time is running out, epidemics are increasing, and here in the Senate of our state we are doing something. Vaccines save lives and, unless there is a legitimate medical reason that prevents a person from being vaccinated, vaccinations must be necessary if that person wants to go to public places. I am proud to have taken this step today and to have followed the scientific consensus to ensure that the health of the public is protected. "
Senator Kevin Thomas "New York is experiencing its worst measles epidemic in decades. It is a reminder of the challenges we face in our time, as we struggle with the role of social media in shaping public opinion in times of health crisis. As legislators, it is our responsibility to take responsible action, not only to fight misinformation, but also to protect the health and well-being of all New Yorkers. Scientific evidence and medical experts overwhelmingly support the benefits of vaccination. Immunization gives us the power to protect ourselves, our children and neighbors, highly contagious and potentially life-threatening diseases. I am grateful to my colleagues in the State legislature for recognizing the importance of this legislation for the protection of the health of all the inhabitants of our State. "
Kathryn S. Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York Citysaid: "By passing legislation to eliminate non-medical exemptions from vaccination requirements, the majority in the Senate has given priority to the public health and safety of New Yorkers. As the measles epidemic illustrates, it is essential that this bill becomes law quickly. "
Dr. Art Fougner, President of the Medical Society of New York Statesaid, "We commend the Legislative Assembly for taking steps to ensure that medical contraindications are the only legal reasons to be exempted from New York's immunization mandate. In particular, we thank Senator Hoylman and MP Dinowitz for their hard work. It is extremely important to protect those who can not be vaccinated – either because they are allergic to certain ingredients, they have a deficiency of the immune system resulting from cancer, HIV or another disease, or that women are pregnant. The current measles epidemic clearly shows that the immunity of the community herd has disappeared. We also thank Governor Cuomo for his comments in support of this bill and look forward to his quick signing. "
Linda P. Fried, Dean, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia Universitysaid: "The only way to end the measles epidemic – a dangerous and sometimes deadly disease – is to ensure that as many children as possible are vaccinated. The adoption by the New York Senate of crucial legislation to eliminate non-medical exemptions from child immunization requirements is an essential step to protect all New Yorkers – including vulnerable children – from this serious public health emergency. I thank Senator Hoylman for his leadership on this issue. "
Nancy Goodman, founder and CEO of Kids v Cancer"Kids v Cancer and the entire pediatric cancer community thanks New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, and the Senate of the United States. State of New York, which today voted to require school children to be vaccinated with medical exemptions. It's a win for all of us. Children with cancer and children with cancer who are immunocompromised can not go to school or in other public places. They must stay at home, isolated. For these children and young adults, a case of measles is life threatening. They depend entirely on the vaccination of other people to be able to achieve herd immunity and be safe. "
Teela Wyman, Board Member of Kids v Cancer Youth Administration and a New York Law Student Surviving Pediatric Cancer, said, "I wear a mask when I'm out to protect myself from measles and other infectious diseases. I am starting my law studies this fall and I am frankly terrified at the thought of what I will do if a classmate or my teacher gets sick in class. These are not things I want but it's the price of life. Measles is an additional complexity that may not seem frightening, but terrifying to us. "
Toby Pallone, Kids v Cancer Youth board member and student in New York surviving childhood cancer"When a person goes to the doctor for a vaccination, they do not just protect themselves from the disease, they protect their friends, neighbors and community. It is a vital or fatal decision when a person decides not to get vaccinated or to vaccinate his children. We have a beautiful state of 19 million inhabitants and we all deserve the gift of life. "
Cub Barrett, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations for the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)As an organization founded in response to a public health epidemic, GMHC understands that, to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers, we must take bold, timely and fact-based action to resolve public health problems. Repealing the exemptions granted to children to vaccinate them is what we would call a bold action, based on evidence. As our senator, Brad Hoylman, says, parents who refuse to vaccinate their children endanger the health of every New Yorker. We can not let this continue. We commend the New York State Senate for recognizing and addressing this critical issue. "