A group of New York parents who sued the state of New York after it made it more difficult for parents to obtain medical exemptions for school immunization requirements received a blow in their case when a federal appeals court ruled against them last week.

A group of New York parents partnered with the Children's Health Defense sued New York State after law changes adopted in 2019 eliminated religious exemptions for vaccines and made medical exemptions a rarity for New York school children. The Children's Health Defense is an organization founded by Robert F. Kennedy.

The lawsuit challenged those rules adopted in 2019, arguing that regulations violated parents' rights because school officials could deny exemptions despite a certified doctor claiming a medical need for the exemption. An appeals panel rejected that argument and said that the "new regulations require requests to comply with evidence-based national standards for the purpose of ensuring that physicians do not recommend medical exemptions in conclusory fashion or for non-medical reasons.”

The regulations were tightened after a major measles outbreak in 2019, and have nothing to do with COVID vaccinations as they don't include a mandate for children to get vaccinated against COVID.

Sujata Gibson is one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. She said she was disappointed as the upholding of the regulations means that a school principal has more to say about a medical exemption necessity than the actual treating physician. She believes it's a scary situation when someone with no medical training can override that of a doctor, and arbitrarily at that.

Currently, medical exemptions are granted for rare conditions or situations like severe allergic reactions to previous vaccines or certain immune system disorders.

Early last month, health officials in a county Northwest of New York City (Rockland County) reported a young adult had become infected with polio. That was the first case of the disease in the United States in nearly a decade.