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End the exemption: As a measles outbreak grows ever larger, Albany must stop letting people use religion as an excuse not to vaccinate their children


A sign warns people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The measles outbreak grows, now up to 880 reported cases nationwide, more than in any single year over the past quarter century. Shamefully, New York City is where 523 infected individuals have been. Another 233 are in Rockland County.

The Empire State makes up 86% of the U.S. total.

It is parents who refuse to vaccinate their children who are to blame. In America today, where suspicion of authority runs wide and deep, such mothers and fathers are of every background.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families who fuel the spread of measles in this case are not among those likeliest to refuse to vaccinate; the average vaccination rate among private Jewish schools in Brooklyn, as recorded by the state’s Health Department, is 96.2%. Other private-school children in the state have lower rates.

But even though they are a small minority, these uninoculated children are leaving infants and others at risk. Anti-vaccine fearmongers are cynically targeting them by wrapping their nonsense in Jewish trappings, and finding a just-receptive-enough audience.

The best way for government to confront the problem: Eliminate a religious exemption for vaccines.

Yet the Senate and Assembly in Albany do not budge. Maybe they’re waiting for a child to die.