Similar exemptions are already available in 19 other states. Dilan and Abainati’s legislation would provide a legal, philosophical base for New York parents to send their children to school unvaccinated, if they provide a pre-written statement indicating their objection.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants 95 percent of children immunized– what public health officials believe is the critical percentag needed to maintain herd immunity against contagious diseases.
However, currently, New York provides a religious exemption from immunization, with a written statement. Although Sen. Dilan states he believes that immunizations do work, he points out that if you’re going to stand by a religious exemption to mandated immunization, then you cannot say that because any one person does not adhere to a religion, they cannot object on philosophical grounds.
Abinanti, whose son has autism, said he believes vaccines may cause harm to some children. Although the connection between autism and vaccines continues to be argued and discredited, Abinati said the perceived risk of illness is too great to force parents to vaccinate their children.
“I believe that the family, with the doctor, should make the individual determination whether a particular vaccine is appropriate for that child,” Abinati said.
“There are many of us who resent our kids being collateral damage. The possible adverse effects, whatever they may be, and it may be a very small minority—but [the state is] discarding a group of people, which is now a growing group of people.”
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