April 21, 2019

NY orders measles vaccinations in Brooklyn amid outbreak, mayor says

10 April 2019, 07:55 | Silvia Roy

Since last fall, almost 300 people, mostly children, have come down with measles in New York City, with the majority centered in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park in Brooklyn.

Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and day care programs serving that community to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down.

The city threatened to close Orthodox Jewish schools in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park, where many parents have refused or neglected to vaccinate their children.

Most of the NY cases involved unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals, according to de Blasio's office.

"Every one of us has to feel responsibility for the situation because measles is so contagious, can spread so quickly", said De Blasio Tuesday morning. The cases led to 21 hospitalizations, including five admissions to intensive care units.

Barbot said 8,000 people have been vaccinated since September 30.

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According to media reports, people who have not received the MMR vaccine, or don't have evidence of immunity, and then refuse to be vaccinated could be fined $1,000.

The mandate orders all unvaccinated people in four zip codes, including those with a concentration of Orthodox Jews, to receive inoculations, including for children as young as 6 months old.

To date, 285 cases have been confirmed since the beginning of the outbreak in October, with numerous new cases being confirmed in the last two months. "They have been spreading unsafe misinformation based on fake science", Dr. Barbot said in the statement.

The order is signed to remain in effect until the next meeting of the New York City Board of Health on April 17 at which time "it may be continued or rescinded by the board".

Outbreaks nationwide have forced state and city health officials to pursue tougher stances, such as mandatory vaccines or banning unvaccinated children from public places, prompting legal challenges and judicial intervention. We have the tools available now because of this emergency order to fine - and fine very substantially.

He said he had seen misinformation circulate around the tightly knit community, but that most families trusted the Health Department.

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"It's true that a lot of people have measles, and measles are not a very good thing, said resident Aron Braver, but he thinks the vaccine is "also not a very good thing".

'We will make sure that everybody who is allowed will be vaccinated, ' Rabbi David Niederman, the president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, said in a phone interview.

The disease spreads easily and can be fatal.

It said the vaccine was 97 per cent effective.

The city adds in its release that the majority of those infected were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated. It lays out numerous anti-vaccine arguments that have been debunked by scientific studies, such as a claim that measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations increase the risk of autism.

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