Preliminary Injunctions In Vaccination Cases Denied

In recent days, two legal challenges to New York’s new vaccine law met with major setbacks.

After New York repealed the religious exemption to its child vaccination requirements this year, lawsuits were filed in state and federal court by parents’ groups. According to the Albany Times Union, six parents sued in federal court on the grounds that the repeal violated the rights of children with disabilities to obtain special education services pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The parents’ motion for a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the law was denied by U.S. District Judge Allyne Ross. Judge Ross reasoned as follows:

“Plaintiffs do not allege that their children are unable to receive vaccinations as a result of their disabilities. Indeed, if they did, they would likely qualify for medical exemptions … instead, plaintiffs have made the affirmative choice not to vaccinate their children for non-medical reasons, thus opting out of public, private and parochial schools in New York state.”

The six parents withdrew their lawsuit three days later. However, the parents’ attorney noted that after the lawsuit was filed, the state confirmed that it would provide special education services to homeschooled children with disabilities who have not received vaccinations.

On August 23, a state court judge declined to grant parents a preliminary injunction against the vaccine law. The court noted several prior court decisions upholding “a state’s right to mandate vaccinations in order for students to attend public or private school.” Attorneys for the parents stated that they intended to appeal.