County: Asylum-seeker kids must get same vaccines as others to go to school

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — More asylum seekers have arrived in Rochester, including 28 children. Many of them are expected to enroll in city schools, and that has raised some questions over vaccinations.

The latest group arrived downtown Monday night from New York City. Like the other migrants brought to the area, they’re staying in the downtown Holiday Inn on State Street.

On Tuesday, Mark Assini, Republican candidate for Monroe County executive, held a press conference raising health concerns over allowing the children of asylum seekers into the schools.

“This is happening in New York City — they’ve already had a chicken pox outbreak; the health commissioner has warned that 50 percent of the migrants that have come to New York City have not, and I repeat have not been vaccinated for polio,” Assini said.

But Monroe County officials say all asylum-seeker children must have the same vaccinations as other students.

“I think general awareness is always good, but I don’t see any reason to have a heightened level of awareness now. When migrants came from the Ukraine, we did very much the similar assessment of risk, so that we could ensure that these new residents of Monroe County were safe themselves and presented no additional risk to all of the rest of us,” said Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health Michael Mendoza.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello’s campaign also released a statement, saying, “… all kids entering school will be subject to the same vaccination requirements as in years past, this includes any new students enrolling in school for the first time this year.”