To The Editor:

The New Jersey State Legislature is currently considering legislation (S-2173) to increase immunizations among children in the state. Although the bill passed in the Assembly, it is still being considered in the State Senate. The Westfield Board of Health endorses the passage of this bill by the Senate and signature by the Governor as soon as possible.

The Westfield Board of Health has considered the need to expand immunizations among children in the past, and has supported the vigorous enforcement of current regulations and laws. Although vaccines have been effective in reducing the prevalence of communicable diseases, these diseases are still present and can be deadly.

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MORE: Westfield Health Officials Back Bill to Cut Religious Exemptions on Vaccinations

We know that immunizations protect children who go to schools and study in group settings. However, some children have serious underlying medical conditions so that they cannot be vaccinated and directly protected from communicable diseases. It is essential, therefore, that as many children as possible be vaccinated to best protect themselves and their fellow classmates who cannot be vaccinated due to medical contraindications.

The Westfield Board of Health urges our State Senator, the Honorable Tom Kean, and all senators to support the current bill to expand childhood immunizations. We appreciate the work of Assembly Member Nancy Munoz to champion the interests of children to protect them from communicable diseases.

Lawrence D. Budnick, MD, MPH
President, Westfield Board of Health