New York bans unvaccinated children from public schools

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Under a new law that just went into effect in New York, children who were not vaccinated on religious grounds will no longer be permitted to attend public elementary schools in the state.

The new law, which was passed in June and took effect on Friday, gave parents of unvaccinated children a 14-day deadline from the start of the school year to show they had taken steps to give their children at least the first age-appropriate dose in each required immunization, such as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

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Several other states, including California, Maine, Mississippi and West Virginia, recently took the added step to eliminate vaccination exemptions for anything other than medical necessity, in an attempt to curb the worst measles outbreak the US has seen in 25 years. 

Of the more 1,241 cases in 31 states confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control as of September 2019, roughly 83% have been in New York. The outbreak has disproportionately affected the orthodox Jewish community.

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New York schools found to be in violation of the exclusion rule face a fine of up to $2,000 per violation. A challenge to the law is still to be heard by the New York Supreme Court, however, the policy can stay in effect while the dispute continues. 

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