Measles outbreak: NYC threatens fines for unvaccinated Williamsburg residents

New York City threatens to close yeshivas over unvaccinated children

Measles outbreak: NYC threatens fines for unvaccinated Williamsburg residents

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.

In February, the Health Department began recommending to medical providers that serve the Orthodox Jewish communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park to give an extra dose of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine to children between 6 months and 11 months old.

CBS reported that the "vast majority" of children in the largely ultra-Orthodox community of Williamsburg are vaccinated, but that the disease continues to spread due to how tight-knit the community is.

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. None proved fatal, but 21 patients required hospitalization and five were admitted to intensive care.

Health officials have largely blamed the outbreaks on small but vocal anti-vaccine advocates who scare well-meaning parents by spreading risky lies and misinformation about life-saving vaccines and their safety.

NY accounted for about two-thirds of all measles cases reported last week in the United States.

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

They said they learned about the news conference from friends in the neighborhood who also oppose vaccinations. "We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk".

Since Jan. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 387 cases of measles, more than all reported cases in the 2018.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot added, "As a pediatrician, I know the MMR vaccine is safe and effective".

The commissioner is empowered by law to issue such orders in cases when they might be necessary to protect against a serious public health threat.

The order comes a day after the city announced that yeshivas in parts of Brooklyn that allow unvaccinated children to attend school could face fines or potential school closures - and just a few days after a judge halted a similar emergency order in New York's Rockland County. It says the vaccine is 97% effective.

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