NY mandates vaccine to contain Brooklyn measles outbreak

Henrietta Brewer
April 9, 2019

The health department in December ordered yeshivas and daycare centers in specific Brooklyn zip codes, populated largely with ultra-Orthodox, to exclude all non-vaccinated students until the end of the current measles outbreak.

While de Blasio did not comment on the situation in Rockland, he said he is confident that New York City's emergency order is an appropriate use of power.

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

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

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

De Blasio's vaccination order applies to all people, including children over six months old, who may have been exposed to the virus.

Since October, however, 285 cases of measles have been confirmed in New York City.

NY accounted for about two-thirds of all measles cases reported last week in the United States. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities".

On Friday, a NY state judge lifted the state of emergency imposed by Rockland County that would have barred minors not vaccinated against the measles from public places.

"I understand that parents may be afraid of getting their children vaccinated", said Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot.

"This outbreak is being fuelled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighbourhoods".

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. He was joined by city health officials who decried what they called "misinformation" spread by opponents of vaccines.

Any yeshiva in Williamsburg that doesn't comply with the order will face fines and possible closure, the health department said.

Other reports by iNewsToday