When New York lawmakers revoked a religious exemption for mandatory school vaccinations, the change sent thousands of the state’s parents scrambling to get their kids shots – or get them out of the classroom entirely.
Lawmakers did away with the exemption in June amid the nation’s worst measles outbreak since 1992. More than 26,000 children in public and private schools and day care centers had previously gone unvaccinated for religious reasons, according to the state Health Department.
Now time is running short. Unvaccinated students have 14 days from the start of school to prove they received the first dose of each immunization, and they must make appointments for the next round within a month. Most schools reopen just after Labor Day.
Some parents opposed to vaccinations are choosing to pull their kids from school rather than comply.
“Those that are choosing to vaccinate, it’s not because their beliefs have changed,” said Jina Gentry, a Buffalo mother of four who will home-school her children rather than have them vaccinated. She said not everyone has the means or time to do the same.