Friday, 19 April, 2019

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio Orders Vaccinations Amid Measles Outbreak

Bill de Blasio Enlarge Image AP
Gustavo Carr | 11 April, 2019, 21:48

New York City has declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak centred in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and ordered mandatory vaccinations in the neighbourhood.

As part of the declaration, people living in select zip codes of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood who have not been vaccinated against measles and may have been exposed to the virus will now be required to get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

In case you have not yet heard, the childhood disease known simply as measles is on the rise again, after decades of vaccinations saw it almost eradicated.

"I think it's a sign of the impact of vaccine denialism, where we're now in a place where cities feel like they need to up the ante" with vaccination orders, says Scott Burris, a public health law professor at Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

"CDC strongly recommends against hosting or participating in these events", the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) write of a disease far less unsafe than measles.

The mandated vaccinations aim to combat a measles outbreak that has affected more than 250 people in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood since September, reported The Associated Press.

"Achieving herd immunity is the most effective way to reduce the risk to the population at large when some people in the population choose not to vaccinate", Glatter said.

In Brooklyn and Rockland County, anti-vaccination advocates have been circulating a 40-page booklet around Orthodox Jewish enclaves. But you don't need to go as far as Madagascar - common tourist destinations like England, France, Italy and Greece had measles outbreaks previous year. Twenty-one people have been hospitalized since the outbreak started with five people being admitted to the intensive care unit. People who ignore the order could be fined $1,000.

Prior to 2013, there were about 60 reported cases in the USA each year.

Those who choose not to will risk the penalty of a $1,400 fine. New York City accounted for about two-thirds of all U.S. measles cases reported last week.

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Rockland County, located near New York City, has also declared a 30-day public health emergency over a measles outbreak there that has seen 168 people contract the disease, according to the CDC.

According to the New York City Department of Health, the following six Brooklyn neighborhoods have been affected by the measles outbreak.

Experts insist vaccines are safe and necessary to protect the larger community from highly infectious diseases like measles, which can cause severe diarrhea, pneumonia and vision loss and can be fatal in some cases.

The mandatory vaccination order follows an order from the Health Department last week requiring yeshivas and day-care programmes serving Williamsburg's Orthodox Jewish community to exclude unvaccinated children or face fines or closure.

Officials also noted that Passover is approaching, meaning increased travel among people who could carry measles to or from NY.

There have been 285 cases of the disease in Brooklyn and Queens since October, a lot of them involving members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

'I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles.

Barbot said 500 people would die each year in the '60s before there was a vaccine.

"There is no religious exemption on measles", Gary Schlesinger, CEO of Parcare Community Health Network, told WLNY.