In the wake of today’s announcement that an unvaccinated member of the Orthodox community’s Ramapo yeshivas contracted polio, New York State Senator James Skoufis is calling on the State Department of Health to require polio vaccines to be administered to every Rockland County resident. Additionally, Skoufis is calling for enforcement action on any yeshivas who refuse to comply with existing state vaccination laws.
Skoufis stated this is the first naturally-occurring case our country has seen in over 40 years. According to the Center for Disease Control, the United States had been polio-free since 1979.
Skoufis explained that meaningful action must be taken to protect everyone from any further spread of this dangerous virus. “With that goal front-and-center, I am calling on the New York State Department of Health to require every Rockland County resident currently unvaccinated against polio be administered the series of shots,” Skoufis declared.
In calling for this measure, Skoufis described the smallpox outbreak in the early 1900s. Similar imperatives were enacted and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. “The polio vaccine is proven, safe, and time-tested: today’s news out of the Orthodox community requires this same, decisive action,” he said.
“Additionally, I am calling on the Department of Health to allocate whatever resources are necessary to expeditiously contact trace the virus and, in coordination with the Department of Education, review Rockland County school compliance with polio vaccine requirements – and bring the full force of the law down on those who have skirted these requirements. Some Ramapo yeshivas in Rockland County have a history of non-compliance with the state’s vaccine laws; proactive, additional enforcement is required in light of today’s news,” Skoufis continued.
“In the year 2022, it is hard to believe we are talking about a polio case in our backyard yet, given the extremity of the situation, a proportional response is absolutely warranted and necessary to safeguard the community. Polio has been eradicated from the United States for decades. Today’s alarming news requires us to utilize every tool at our disposal in order to ensure we stop this virus in its tracks and eradicate it once more,” he concluded.