Williamsburg Residents Divided on Vaccines, Despite Mayor's Health Emergency Declaration

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 12, 2019

But last month, a NY suburb declared a measles emergency after 153 cases of measles were reported in Rockland County since October 2018.

"As the outbreak continues to grow and even spread to other counties in NY, the mayor has ordered that people who are unvaccinated have 48 hours to get their shots or they will be fined "$1,000 per instance".

Opponents of New York City's emergency declaration ordering everyone in a heavily Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood to be vaccinated for measles will file a lawsuit this week, a lawyer working with the group said Wednesday.

The most recent tally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 465 cases across the U.S.so far this year, two-thirds of them in NY state.

Indeed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quick to declare the city's action "legally questionable" and "a serious First Amendment issue" - though his failure to suggest any practical alternative suggests this was mostly his usual automatic dumping-on-de Blasio.

"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately", de Blasio said at a press conference.

A CDC report states that the US had a notifiable measles outbreak in 1912, resulting in around 6,000 deaths every year, until scientists developed the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1963. "And for decades that vaccine policy has been largely effective".

This year's measles outbreak is on track to be the biggest since the sometimes deadly virus was eliminated in the U.S.in 2000.

Meanwhile, the Rockland County outbreak is believed to have exposed children in Westchester County. But she said that in her work as a mental health care provider, she has lately seen an increase in cases of autism.

The Children's Health Defense will be filing a legal challenge to the order, which comes on the heels of a New York Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Rockland County ban on unvaccinated children in public spaces.

"I don't expect that people are running out [to get vaccinated]".

"'If we catch people early enough, we can give them medication", Kiernan said.

The city health department ordered all ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in Brooklyn on Monday to exclude unvaccinated students from classes during the outbreak.

"Our goal is not to fine anyone", de Blasio said. But they said they were taking additional steps to control the outbreak in advance of Passover, when some families may travel overseas to areas in Israel or Europe that are experiencing measles outbreaks.

It can lead to death, brain swelling and pneumonia.

The federal agency says that disease transmission for the recent cases likely originated in countries where measles is more common - throughout Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Africa and the Philippines - places people commonly visit.

"In order to prevent an outbreak in your community, you have to have a 97 percent herd immunity rate", Sheffield said.

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