Emergency regulations issued late last week by the state Department of Health will require doctors to provide more documentation, including specific justifications, for when children are given exemptions for vaccinations.
The move comes as children next month are returning to school and amid a measles outbreak this year, with more than 1,000 cases — mostly in Rockland County and Brooklyn.
The regulation announced Friday by the Department of Health and the Office of Children and Family Services will require the justification for the exemption of each require vaccination in order for it to be granted.
Physicians were previously only required to submit a statement to schools without specific documentation with stating specifically why immunization would be detrimental to a child’s health.
The new regulation will apply to children statewide. Medical exemptions from vaccinations would still have to be re-issued annually.
“These regulations will ensure that those who have legitimate medical reasons for not getting vaccinated are still able to obtain medical exemptions, while also preventing abuse of this option by those without such medical conditions,” said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.
“Immunizations are safe and effective and give children the best protection from serious childhood diseases. We will continue to do everything possible to promote public health for all New Yorkers, especially our children.”
The regulation is the latest sign state officials are taking an increasingly active approach in counteracting an anti-vaccination movement amid the measles outbreak this year.
The Department of Health previously launched two public service ads, one featuring Zucker, reassuring parents that vaccines are safe and necessary for children.
Public health officials broadly agree that healthy people should receive vaccinations in order to create herd immunity.