NYC authorities threaten to close Brooklyn yeshivas over unvaccinated students

Nora Nguyen
April 10, 2019

New York City declared a public health emergency Tuesday morning, ordering mandatory measles vaccinations for residents in parts of Williamsburg as the number of confirmed cases for the infection rose to 285 since September 30.

Health officials have been urging New Yorkers to get their children vaccinated to stem the outbreak of measles, which is a highly contagious disease that can cause pneumonia, encephalitis, and death.

The outbreak has been predominately among ultra Orthodox Jews, and not unsimilar to outbreaks among other insular communities in recent years where parental fears about immunization have been influenced by an anti-vaccine movement in the larger population that persists despite scientific studies showing the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

Speaking at a press briefing on the emergency declaration, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said people who remain unvaccinated in the affected area will face fines. He was joined by city health officials who decried what they called "misinformation" spread by opponents of vaccines. In Rockland, officials declared a countywide state of emergency related to measles, and banned unvaccinated children from visiting public places. "You literally need to track down every single person that person came in contact with".

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People with highly weakened Immune System are at higher risk of getting infected apart from newborns. In the US , patients in IL and New Jersey have also been reported, as well as others in NY .

The vast majority of cases are children under the age of 18 - 246 cases - and 39 cases involve adults. The Associated Press reports that this is the largest measles outbreak in the city since 1991, and that NYC accounts for two-thirds of all cases reported in the us last week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises children to get two doses of the 97 percent effective measles vaccine.

"We have a situation now where children are in danger".

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

"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.

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The CDC has said that in the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, almost all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age and that an estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year.

The United States measles vaccination program began in 1963.

The city has also threatened to shut down yeshivas, or traditional Jewish religious schools, if they do not follow an order to keep unvaccinated children out of class.

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving". "Back in the day people were having parties to expose their kids to chicken pox and measles".

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