Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview Thursday morning said there is a “50/50” chance that a bill ending the religious exemption for vaccinations will pass, but nevertheless gave the measure a full-throated endorsement.
“But if it doesn’t happen, I think we put the state’s public health at risk,” Cuomo said in an interview on WAMC public radio. “I respect the religious exemption. I hear the anti-vaxxers, but public health comes first. I think it’s a mandate for public health that we pass that bill.”
The bill was proposed amid measles outbreaks in Rockland County and Brooklyn, largely in the Orthodox Jewish community. The bill has stalled in the Democratic-led Assembly, where some lawmakers have raised concerns about the effect of ending the religious exemption, while at least two legislators are skeptical of health effects of vaccines.
Public health officials are in broad agreement that vaccinations are necessary to create herd immunity.
Measles cases have soared in the United States this year to more than 1,000 cases confirmed, most of them in New York.