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13 April 2019, 08:43 | Silvia Roy
NYC Declares Public Health Emergency over Measles Outbreak
On Tuesday, the mayor declared a public health emergency requiring unvaccinated residents of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to get the vaccine or pay a potential $1,000 penalty.
The county Department of Health is working with the families and healthcare providers to identify locations where the children may have exposed others.
Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the health commissioner there, said that since October she has been waging an uphill fight to persuade people vaccines are safe and necessary to protect the larger community. The virus was reintroduced to the NY area when a non-vaccinated person became infected while traveling to Israel, a country with known low vaccination rates.
David R. Curry, executive director of the Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy, told China Daily: "Once your child is exposed and has measles, there is no better convincing argument to parents who may be questioning whether vaccinations work than when they have to come to grips with the fact that their child, because they were unvaccinated, suddenly has a potentially risky disease".
When parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they endanger not only their own child, but also the entire society which surrounds them.
Twisted anti-vaxxer parents are holding "measles parties" so their children catch the frequently fatal virus instead of being vaccinated. Complications can include hearing loss, pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death. Almost 83 000 people contracted measles in Europe in 2018, the highest number in a decade. Over the years, these vaccines have saved many lives, while causing few to no side effects. "Our goal is to get people vaccinated".
City health officials declined to comment on the mayor's order.
Since October she has been fighting an uphill battle to quell one of the worst USA measles outbreaks in 20 years.
And we ask given continued fears in some communities around vaccines despite years of overwhelming scientific consensus about their safety, do we need to change how we talk about vaccines?
Numerous parents hosting these parties have received misinformation about the safety of vaccinations, others claim that extreme religious beliefs drive their decision to not vaccinate their children. Her son's mother-in-law has measles, she said, and is now in the hospital. "It's not just that they know what questions to ask".
But, even to some who support vaccination, the $1,000 fine seems excessive.
Some public health experts say the issue highlights a growing tension between infectious disease vaccination requirements and the religious liberty arguments increasingly relied upon to justify denying inoculations. The city states that the first case was found in an unvaccinated child who had acquired the disease on a trip to Israel, which is now suffering an outbreak. It is transmitted through the air and on surfaces and is contagious before and after bumps show up, which is why it transfers so quickly from person to person. He claimed the vaccine was linked to autism and bowel disease.
"It is not the authority of the general government, county executive or legislators to make those declarations, and I think that is as it should be", Latimer said.
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