“March of Dimes welcomes today’s historic vote in the New York State Legislature that eliminates religious exemptions to vaccine-preventable diseases, ensuring that the health and well-being of children, pregnant women and all Americans are protected. Today’s vote in Albany will not only help protect the health of every New Yorker, but millions of people well outside the boundaries of the state. This may be the single action that has prevented this outbreak from risking our nation’s status with the World Health Organization as a country that eliminated measles.
Outbreaks of highly infectious diseases like measles illustrate the need for all eligible people to be fully vaccinated on time. The current public health crisis, in which we are seeing the highest level of measles cases in 25 years, is alarming, costly and avoidable.
We commend lawmakers in the New York State Assembly and Senate for joining California, Maine, Mississippi and West Virginia as the fifth state in the country to eliminate non-medical exemptions. In doing so, they have set a new standard that state governments across the country must emulate.
March of Dimes has a long history of supporting vaccines and has been advocating in Albany on this issue for the past several years. We will continue to push for similar state-level legislation that eliminates non-medical exemptions and creates community-level immunity that is so vital to everyone.”