Prominent anti-vaxxers lose New York court case over religious exemptions

Prominent anti-vaxxers lose New York court case over religious exemptions

Enlarge / Anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. during a public hearing on vaccine related bills in 2015. (credit: Getty | Portland Press Herald)

A New York State Supreme Court Justice on Friday rejected a request by 55 anti-vaccine families to block a recently passed state law eliminating exemptions to school vaccination requirements on the basis of religious beliefs.

According to the families’ attorneys, Justice Michael Mackey cited other court decisions that have held that states have the power to impose such restrictions to protect public health from the spread of infectious disease. Justice Mackey added that the families were unlikely to succeed if they tried to continue with the case.

Nevertheless, the attorneys in the case—Michael Sussman and the prominent anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—vowed to keep fighting. Kennedy’s anti-vaccine nonprofit, Children’s Health Defense, released a statement saying, “While this decision is a set-back, it isn’t the

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Antivaxxers turn to homeschooling to avoid protecting their kids’ health

Antivaxxers turn to homeschooling to avoid protecting their kids’ health

Enlarge / A boy at school. (credit: Getty | Florian Gaertner )

Anti-vaccine advocates in New York are encouraging parents to homeschool their children rather than protect them from serious diseases, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal.

The move by New York anti-vaccine groups comes just weeks after state lawmakers eliminated exemptions that allowed parents to opt their children out of standard school vaccination requirements on the basis of religious beliefs. Very few religions actually have objections to vaccinations, and the ones that do tend to have relatively few followers. But many parents who reject vaccines based on falsehoods and misinformation about their safety have claimed religious objections as a way to dodge immunization requirements.

As cases of measles in the United States have exploded in recent years—largely due to a small but loud band of anti-vaccine advocates misinforming parents—states are now cracking down on non-medical

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Measles cases hit 1,001 as anti-vaxxers hold another rally of disinformation

Measles cases hit 1,001 as anti-vaxxers hold another rally of disinformation

BROOKLYN, NY – JUNE 04: Anti-vaccine activist Del Bigtree speaks with journalists before entering an anti-vaccine symposium on June 4, 2019. (credit: Getty | The Washington Post)

Prominent anti-vaccine advocates and conspiracy theorists held another rally of misinformation in New York Tuesday as the national tally of measles cases ticked passed 1,000.

The rally was held at an event hall in Brooklyn, an area hard hit by a measles outbreak that began last September. There have been 566 confirmed cases in New York City since then, mostly in unvaccinated children in the Orthodox Jewish community.

The rally—the second of its kind in New York in recent weeks—is part of a pattern of anti-vaccine groups targeting vulnerable communities that are grappling with outbreaks. Like the previous rally, Tuesday’s event featured Rabbi Hillel Handler and Del Bigtree, both prominent anti-vaccine provocateurs known for fear mongering and spreading myths about

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Germany’s health minister proposes a $2,790 anti-vaxxer charge

Germany’s health minister proposes a $2,790 anti-vaxxer charge

Enlarge / German Health Minister Jens Spahn wants to fine parents for failing to vaccinate their children. (credit: Getty | Felix Zahn)

Germany, like the US, is facing a resurgence of measles. But the country’s health minister isn’t taking things lightly.

Health minister Jens Spahn is proposing a blanket fine for any parents of unvaccinated children. The fine runs up to €2,500 ($2,790). He also suggests banning unvaccinated children from all kindergarten and daycare facilities to protect those who are too young to vaccinate and those with medical conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated.

In an interview published over the weekend, Spahn explained that immunization is a “social responsibility,” adding that “measles vaccinations save human suffering. We protect ourselves and others.”

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Measles-stricken cruise ship quarantined, reportedly owned by Scientologists

Measles-stricken cruise ship quarantined, reportedly owned by Scientologists

Enlarge / A cruise ship in Castries Port, Saint Lucia on February 6, 2019. (credit: Getty | Daniel Slim)

Officials of the Caribbean nation St. Lucia have quarantined a cruise ship reportedly owned by the Church of Scientology after doctors confirmed a case of measles onboard.

A female crew member has a confirmed case of measles, and the ship has been quarantined since Monday, according to NBC News. There are reportedly more than 300 passengers on board.

Though health officials in St. Lucia did not identify the ship or its owner, St. Lucia Coast Guard Sgt. Victor Theodore told NBC News that the vessel’s name is Freewinds, which is the name of a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology and based in the Caribbean. According to the Church’s website, the 440-foot vessel hosts religious retreats “ministering the most advanced level of spiritual counseling in the

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What to know about measles in the US as case count breaks record

What to know about measles in the US as case count breaks record

Enlarge / A young child, seated in a bed in a clinical setting, who had presented with an extensive rash, which had developed due to a measles infection. The image was captured on day-3 of the rash, which is usually when the rash manifests, beginning on the face, then adopting a more generalized distribution. (credit: CDC)

This year’s tally of measles cases is now the largest seen this century—and it’s only April. As several outbreaks continue to rage around the country with no end in sight, officials fear the disease will once again take root, undoing a public health triumph that was decades in the making.

As of 3pm on Wednesday, April 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 695 measles cases across 22 states. That is the highest number of measles cases since the milestone date of 2000, when health officials declared measles eliminated (meaning

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