The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower courts judgment against a lawsuit filed by the Children's Health Defense, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s anti-vaxx organization, and individuals challenging the state's 2019 vaccination requirement to go to school. That year, New York eliminated the religious exemption to vaccination requirements for schoolchildren and narrowed eligibility for medical exemptions.
The new recommendations are based on recommendations from the ACIP, a federal advisory committee. Prior to 2019, any state-licensed physician may be eligible for a medical exemption. According to the CDC, a total of 1,249 measles cases were reported in the United States in a single year since 1992 and the second highest number of reported outbreaks annually since measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000.
Due to low community immunization rates and the high density of communities affected, most people who contract the measles will not have any long-term problems, but instances may be severe enough to require hospitalization even in previously healthy individuals, especially children. According to the CDC, one out of every 1,000 measles cases will develop acute encephalitis, which often results in permanent brain damage, and one to three out of every 1,000 children who become infected with the virus will die of respiratory and neurologic illnesses.
Families in the appeal claimed that denial of their exemption claims, especially medical exemptions as cited by a personal physician, violated their rights under Section 504 of the states Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by nonprofits that receive federal funding.
The children of plaintiffs here were denied medical exemptions not because of their disabilities, as the ruling asserts, but because they admittedly failed to follow the new procedures, which, as we have stated above, are reasonably related to achieving a legitimate state objective.
Sujata Gibson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said she was disappointed in the decision.