New York City declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations amid an outbreak in Brooklyn, which has become the latest national flash point over refusals to inoculate against unsafe diseases.
"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving", said de Blasio. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their [mumps-measles-rubella] vaccines to protect their children, families and communities". "This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods". People who refuse to be vaccinated face a fine of up to $1,000.
Although measles is sometimes seen as a relatively benign illness, that's not the case, Adalja said.
The vaccine is 97 percent effective, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, and if someone is exposed to the disease, he or she has a three-day window to still get vaccinated and limit the damage.
"There are many more individuals who are living with chronic diseases, who are surviving cancer, and so we don't want children or adults to be unnecessarily exposed to measles" due to "measles parties", she told reporters.
"The City has worked aggressively to end this outbreak, and today's declaration of a public health emergency and new vaccine mandate, in combination with the blanket Commissioner's Orders for yeshivas, ensures we are using every tool to protect New Yorkers". Twenty-one people have been hospitalized since the outbreak started with five people being admitted to the intensive care unit.
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Most of the NY cases involved unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals, according to Mr de Blasio's office.
"To challenge the risky misinformation that is being spread by a group of anti-vaxxers, it's crucial that everyone around them be vaccinated to shield them from infection", Barbot said.
"We will consider [forcible vaccinations] on a case-by-case basis", said mayoral spokeswoman Marcy Miranda, adding that the drastic measure is "not our first choice". At least 285 people have contracted the disease in the city since September, mostly in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood.
The best protection from measles is to have two MMR vaccinations.
The measles virus is highly contagious and can lead to serious complications and death. I am committed to working with the health department, the mayor, and community leaders in addressing this urgent health crisis.
The disease was declared eliminated in the U.S.in 2000, which means it was not being spread domestically.
Non-vaccinated minors in the county were banned from public places in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease, and hundreds of people have now been vaccinated, according to authorities.
The study was a follow-up of an earlier large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 that also involved Danish children and also concluded that there "was no association between the age at the time of vaccination, the time since vaccination, or the date of vaccination and the development of autistic disorder".