Friday, January 23, 2015

2 New York Vaccination Exemptions

Immunization Exemption Law

Vaccination Law in New York State

Recently in New York there has been some controversy of the immunization and vaccination exemption laws of the state. I heard several people say that there is a new law in New York that bans religious exemptions to vaccines. The controversy of this issue stemmed from a court case that was decided on January 7th of 2015. The Appeals court upheld a lower courts decision that:
“New York could constitutionally require that all children be vaccinated in order to attend public school,” 

Some people took this to mean that New York state does not allow Immunization exemption for children in public schools, by any means. To clear up the controversy I have been doing some research on the facts regarding the laws on New York state and Vaccination or immunization laws, I also read and reviewed the appeals court opinion. Both my research into the statutory law of New York and the review of the courts opinion confirmed my belief that, no new laws have passed and that religious exemptions of vaccinations is very much allowed in New York.

Statutory law in New York clearly allows for vaccination exemption on 2 grounds.  The first is for health related issues, a health exemption requires a certificate from a certified physician.  The second allowable exemption is exemption by religious beliefs, in the excerpt below, from the Public Health code we can clearly see vaccination exemption is allowed for religious reasons;

This section shall not apply to children whose parent, parents, or guardian hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices herein required, and no certificate shall be required as a prerequisite to such children being admitted or received into school or attending school.                        -N.Y.S.  Public Health Code Section 2164,  9 

The state law makers had the clear intention and purpose that children would not be required to get immunizations.  That clearly understood that it could easily be against an individuals religious beliefs to get immunization for their children,  they made sure that it was clear that religious rights would not be infringed on.  According to the appeals court case and several Supreme Court cases, it is not required to provide a religious exemption on constitutional grounds.  Although I find that hard to agree with as no one can define religious beliefs but the one accountable for them. 

After reviewing the appealed decision I must agree with the courts. Mrs. Check failed to challenge the courts finding that her religious beliefs regarding vaccines were sincere and instead that she desired exemption on health related grounds, which her doctor had denied her.  If the appellant had simply stood her grounds on the religious issue her rights would have been defended, but instead she became too strung out and attempted to make 4 other claims against the state.  For my complete review on the case please watch the video below.  

This video was made in response to a recent appellate court decision made on January 7th 2015, affirming that the mandatory vaccination law of New York State is constitutional. Although the law, which requires vaccines in children attending public schools, is "constitutional" New York goes above and beyond what is constitutional by allowing exemption of vaccinations based on religious grounds. In this video the case is reviewed and immunization exemption is clearly defined.

For the NYS Public health law, in regards to immunization exemptions visit;

More information on Immunization Exemptions available here:

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