New York is stepping up against recent vaccination crises going around. Two of its state legislators pass a bill, permitting minors to get vaccinated even without parental consent.
The bill allows children aged 14 years and older to get certain vaccines required or recommended by law. Such decision is subject to applicable level and comparable age grade.
If approved, the bill is slated to take effect immediately.
The bill points out to a statement made by the World Health Organization as one of its justifications. In January 2019, WHO includes anti-vaccination agendas in the top 10 threats to worldwide health.
In a span of just two months, New York tallies an exceptional number of 167 cases of measles already. In Rockland County alone, there are 145 verified cases of measles, of which most are below 18 years old. Four out of five individuals stricken with the infection do not have vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella.
Recent data from WHO also show that measles cases increased in the United States and in the whole world. Although deaths caused by the disease are relatively low, people with compromised immune system, such as those with leukemia, are at a great risk. Recent measles flare-ups demonstrate the risk associated with low herd immunity in the face of outbreaks or presence of more serious diseases.
The American Academy of Pediatrics expresses its support for the bill, saying it reflects a health care concept known as “mature minor.”
“We strongly support this bill, and would like to see it passed as soon as possible, so the young people of New York can make their own informed decisions about immunization,” states a memo from the AAP. For them, young people are likely more vigilant about wrong information found on the internet and have the right to protect themselves from diseases that are preventable through immunization.
One of the bill’s authors, state senator and Manhattan democrat Liz Krueger says this bill addresses not only the health risks associated with minors with anti-vaccine beliefs, but also those who do not have guardians at all.
Majority of U.S. states grant exemptions to immunization requirements due to religion. Some states, however, including California, have withdrawn such leniency. In 2015, California suffered from a measles outbreak and declining rates of vaccination, prompting them to lift the exemptions. In Albany, legislators are also looking to eradicate religious exemptions in vaccination requirements, but are not quite sure if this is accepted or can even receive a vote of approval.
In a 2018 report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of kindergarten children in the United States, who received vaccination for measle, mumps, rubella, tetanus toxoid, diphtheria, pertussis, and varicella are more than 95 percent. Still, the agency says it can get better.
Truly, the recent outbreaks around the world is pushing, not only the health care sector, but also legislators and other personnel from across industries, to make a move. Hopefully, such radical changes to laws and conventional ways bring about positive results.