New York removes religious exemptions for vaccinations

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New York has banned religious exemptions for school vaccinations amid a major surge in measles cases this year, reports The Washington Post.

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill eliminating the religious exemptions June 13. The new law gives children 30 days to prove they've received all required school vaccinations.

Advocates of the new law say it will protect more children from preventable diseases like measles. As of June 6, the CDC has reported 1,022 measles cases nationwide, a majority of which occurred in New York. The state is facing two major measles outbreaks primarily affecting Orthodox Jewish populations in New York City and Rockland County.

Opponents of the legislation protested outside of New York's Capitol building in Albany June 13, saying it threatens residents' religious freedom.

"While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health," Mr. Cuomo said in a statement cited by the Post. "By signing this measure into law, we will help prevent future transmissions and stop this outbreak right in its tracks."

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