NY orders mandatory vaccinations amid measles outbreak

New York City threatens to close yeshivas over unvaccinated children

New York City threatens to close yeshivas over unvaccinated children

Battling a fast-growing measles outbreak, New York City has declared an emergency and ordered mandatory vaccinations under threat of fine in a Brooklyn neighborhood where the disease is spreading.

The Brooklyn outbreak has been tied to an unvaccinated child who contracted the disease during a trip to Israel, which has recently seen a high incidence of measles, the Washington Post reported.

As of last week (April 4), 465 cases of measles have been reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 78 cases added in the past few days alone.

New Yorkers who believe they were exposed to measles or who have symptoms of measles should contact their health care provider before seeking care to prevent exposure to other patients.

Since the Health Department issued its mandatory exclusion order in December, numerous schools violating the city's emergency mandate played host to mini outbreaks of the extremely virulent disease, including one Williamsburg yeshiva that inspectors have connected to more than 40 cases since January.

Of the 285 confirmed cases, 246 are children and 39 are adults.

This is the largest outbreak in the city in almost three decades.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order amid what he said was a measles crisis in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September.

Barbot said 500 people would die each year in the '60s before there was a vaccine. "It is safe. It is effective. The faster everyone heeds the order, the faster we can lift it".

The mandate orders all unvaccinated people in four Zip codes, including a concentration of Orthodox Jews, to receive inoculations, including for children as young as 6 months old. "When people choose not to get their children vaccinated, they are putting their children and others - such as pregnant women, people on chemotherapy, and the elderly - at risk of contracting measles".

In declaring a public health emergency, Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the number of cases diagnosed within certain zip codes of Williamsburg "continues to grow as new cases are still occurring" and that he deemed this to be an "existing threat to public health in the City of NY". "We have to stop it now".

"There is a campaign with very intentional efforts to give misinformation", Herminia Palacio, the city's deputy mayor for public health, said at the news conference.

The worst measles outbreak since 1991 has prompted the declaration of a public health emergency in Williamsburg in which unvaccinated students won't be allowed at schools or daycares, de Blasio said. "But as a doctor, a public health practitioner, and a mom, I must warn you that exposing your unvaccinated child to measles is very risky, and it could even be deadly".

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

Under the new rules, anyone who has not received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or does not have evidence of immunity risks a fine of $1000, said a statement from the mayor's office.

Mainstream Jewish teaching does not prohibit vaccination, and most rabbis are encouraging parents to have their children immunized.

"In Judaism, the majority has the right to dictate what takes place in the public space to ward off danger".