Measles Count Reaches Almost 300, Williamsburg Mandated To Vaccinate

Henrietta Brewer
April 10, 2019

New York City has declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak and ordered mandatory vaccinations for some people who may have been exposed to the virus.

"I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities", Mr de Blasio said in the statement.

Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot signed an order Tuesday that requires around 250,000 people who live and work in Williamsburg and aren't already immune to measles to be vaccinated within 48 hours. Anyone who resists could be fined up to US$1000.

The majority of religious leaders in Brooklyn's large Orthodox communities support vaccination efforts, said the city's health commissioner, Dr Oxiris Barbot, but rates have remained low in some areas because of resistance from some groups that believe the inoculations are unsafe.

The CDC reported this week that 465 cases have been confirmed in 19 states in 2019, the second-highest total since measles was declared eliminated. While there have been no deaths, 21 people have been hospitalized and five have gone into ICU.

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. Of those infected, 246 were children, NY health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said. While it is possible to become infected with measles post-vaccination, the Mayo Clinic says it is unlikely, provided the immunizations are up-to-date. Newborns, pregnant individuals, and those with weakened immune systems can not get vaccinated, so it is important that everyone around them be vaccinated in order to protect them from contracting the virus and prevent severe complications in these susceptible populations.

The measles vaccine, which the CDC recommends children get two doses of, is 97 percent effective, according to health officials.

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio echoed de Blasio's comments citing the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine.

Experts insist vaccines are safe and necessary to protect the larger community from highly infectious diseases like measles, which can cause severe diarrhea, pneumonia and vision loss and can be fatal in some cases.

Government pushes for inoculations and public space bans of unvaccinated children have prompted a backlash among anti-vaccination activists, whose misinformation campaigns have led to declines for vaccinations against one of the world's most contagious diseases.

"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately..." 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.

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.

"Back in the day people were having parties to expose their kids to chicken pox and measles".

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