Amid an ongoing measles outbreak, New York is requiring schoolchildren to be vaccinated, even if parents have religious objections.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Thursday that removes nonmedical exemptions from school vaccination requirements. The law goes into effect immediately, his office said.
The move, which comes despite opposition from anti-vaccination activists and religious freedom advocates, puts New York alongside other states that do not allow nonmedical exemptions: California, Mississippi, West Virginia and Maine.
“The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe. This administration has taken aggressive action to contain the measles outbreak, but given its scale, additional steps are needed to end this public health crisis,” Cuomo said in a statement Thursday.
“While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health and by signing this measure into law, we will help prevent further transmissions and stop this outbreak right in its tracks,” he said.