NY declares measles emergency, orders vaccinations

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 11, 2019

Signs advertising free measles vaccines and information about measles are displayed at the Rockland County Health Department, in Pomona, N.Y. New York City declared a public health emergency and issued an order for mandatory vaccinations on Tuesday over a "huge spike" in measles cases.

Trying to tackle this crisis, New York City has said that anyone within the zip codes 11205, 11206, 11221, and 11249 who have not received the MMR vaccine within 48 hours of the order "shall be vaccinated against measles unless such person can demonstrate immunity to the disease or document to the satisfaction of the Department that he or she should be medically exempt from this requirement".

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving", said de Blasio.

New York City on Tuesday, April 9, declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations amid an outbreak, becoming the latest national flashpoint over refusals to inoculate against risky diseases. "This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods".

All unvaccinated people in those areas who may have been exposed to the virus are required to get vaccinated, including children older than 6 months, according to the order.

Rabbi David Oberlander, director of the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov School, where there were 20 measles cases, said "maybe 3 percent" of the students were unvaccinated.

Outbreaks of the measles - a disease thought to be all but eliminated in the USA - have health officials concerned.

Schlesinger is working with the Orthodox community to reverse the spread of false messaging.

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.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency-medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed that the outbreak "has the potential to escalate" if vaccination coverage isn't adequate in certain areas.

"Every one of us has to feel responsibility for the situation because measles is so contagious, can spread so quickly", said De Blasio Tuesday morning. Five of 21 hospitalized cases have been admitted to the intensive care unit, she added. "They have been spreading risky misinformation based on fake science", said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. At least 285 people have contracted the disease in the city since September, mostly in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighbourhood. 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. "People who are immunocompromised, as well as young children and non-immune pregnant women are at highest risk for severe complications".

'I understand that parents may be afraid of getting their children vaccinated, ' said Oxiris Barbot, the city's health commissioner.

Measles has been a nationally notifiable disease in the United States since 1912. "But as a doctor, a public health practitioner, and a mom, I must warn you that exposing your unvaccinated child to measles is very risky, and it could even be deadly". Deaths are rare in the US, but measles killed 110,000 people globally in 2017. Infants ages 6 to 11 months should also be vaccinated prior to worldwide travel.

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