As the anti-vaccination movement continues to gain steam, one Ohio school is fighting to ensure its students are immunized — regardless of how parents may feel.
According to a study released in October, the number of children not receiving some or all of their vaccines has quadrupled since 2001, the Washington Post reported.
At least 18 states allow parents to opt out of vaccines due to religious reasons or other personal beliefs.
This could be a contributing factor to a number of measles outbreaks, a viral infection that was previously declared “eliminated” in the United States.
Now the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, which teaches children from pre-school to high school, is doing something about it.
Last month, the school sent a letter to parents stating that religion is no longer a valid excuse not to vaccinate children attending the academy, Yahoo Lifestyle reports.
In Ohio, parents can object to vaccinating their child due to religious beliefs, according to state laws. But since the school is private, they can set their own requirements for attendance.
The Hebrew Academy of Cleveland said in the letter that parents must vaccinate students, except in cases that they are medically exempt. It read:
We recognize that there are families that have strong views on both sides of this issue. However, this is not an area where we can accommodate any deviation from this new protocol.
The school cited “the recent outbreak of measles in various Jewish communities” as their main reason for the decision.
In November, roughly 99 cases of measles were reported in tight-knit orthodox Jewish communities in New York City. Most of those affected were children, Vox reports.
Dr. Baruch Fertel, whose children attend the school, told WTOL he doesn’t understand why other parents don’t vaccinate:
“We see from these outbreaks that it can just spread like wildfire and cause harm… I don’t know of a good reason why from a religious standpoint people wouldn’t.”
The school said that consulted with “many experts” before making the decision.
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