Jewish children heading to summer camp this month will need to show proof they have received a measles vaccination when they head “upstate” in New York.
All day and overnight camps in Rockland, Sullivan, Orange and Ulster Counties are required to provide proof their campers are vaccinated against the measles virus or have proof of immunity in order to operate this year.
“We have to make sure our “t’s” are crossed and our “I’s” are dotted in making sure all these vaccination records are in and have been fine-combed through to make sure everything is in compliance, Rabbi Hanoch Hecht told ABC News this weekend. Hecht is the director of Camp Emunah girls’ camp in Ulster County, operated by the Chabad-Lubavitch National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education (NCFJE) based in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.
“In the past, where we’ve accepted religious exemptions for certain things, now we cannot,” Hecht said. The rabbi added that he is also getting a blood test to check his own immunity.
This past Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to eliminate the exemption for those who decline to vaccinate themselves or their children based on religious grounds.
Two more yeshivas were closed in Brooklyn that same day for failure to comply with the New York City Health Department order to bar unvaccinated students and adults from entering the schools. A total of 12 city schools have been closed for violating the measles vaccination order, all of them Jewish.
Since January 1 of this year, 1,022 confirmed cases of measles have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) across the United States – the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992, and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
There have been a total of 932 confirmed cases of measles in the state of New York diagnosed since September 2018, when the outbreak began.
As of June 14, there were 344 confirmed cases in New York State outside of New York City since October 2018. As of June 10, there were 588 confirmed cases in New York City since September 2018.