Assemblywoman Pat Fahy says she is concerned school districts did not have enough time to ensure their students have received the required vaccinations after the state ended religious exemptions.
"There's been a lot of scrambling. In hindsight, I think we should have given a 30-day window instead of what was a 14-day grace period," Fahy said.
In Buffalo, more than 1,000 kids were without the proper vaccinations earlier this week. Fahy says Albany schools struggled as well.
"We wanted to make sure that DOH is on top of this, working with the school districts, talking to the medical director in Albany, and talking to the superintendent. It's confusing, it's a brand new law, these are brand new regulations," Fahy said.
In a statement to Spectrum News, a state Department of Health spokeswoman said web instruction events and an expansion of audits, to ensure compliance, are being conducted. She said, "Since June, the New York state Department of Health has been working closely with the State Education Department and the Office of Children and Family Services to implement this important new legislation by providing guidance to schools and day cares."
New York state School Boards Association spokesman David Albert said districts are working to ensure students are vaccinated.
"Certainly there can be challenges but at the end of the day, you have to look at this as a public health issue. It is important for students to get immunized unless they have a valid medical exemption," said David Albert, NYSSBA spokesman.
Albert says districts reached out personally to parents and guardians.
"That outreach to the parents on the part of the school district may take the form of a phone call, it may take the form of a letter, both in some cases. I think school districts have been very diligent about complying," Albert said.
The law ending religious exemptions for vaccinations was approved amid a measles outbreak in Brooklyn and Rockland County. It's been opposed in the courts by anti-vaccination activists. But Fahy says she is concerned about parents who are too busy or do not speak English at home.
"They may have had some immunizations, but have not been fully up to date," Fahy said.
Fahy hopes to gain an accurate count of how many students have yet to be vaccinated.