New York City orders mandatory vaccines amid measles outbreak

Bill de Blasio

New York City's health commissioner is empowered by law to issue such orders in cases where they might be necessary to protect against a serious public health threat.

New York City's health commissioner has declared a public health emergency over a major measles outbreak in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, with 250 cases documented in the area since September 2018. The recent outbreak is one of many measles outbreaks that have hit the city since the fall.

The April 9 order states that anyone who "lives, works or resides" within four designated zip codes in Williamsburg "who has not received the MMR vaccine" within 48 hours of the order being issued "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". "They have been spreading risky misinformation based on fake science", Dr. Barbot said in the statement. In Rockland, officials declared a countywide state of emergency related to measles, and banned unvaccinated children from visiting public places.

Ordering people to be vaccinated without their consent is "an extreme measure which is not provided for in the law and raises civil liberties concerns about forced medical treatment", Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a written statement. All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children. While there have been no deaths, 21 people have been hospitalized and five have gone into ICU.

In March. a county in NY state declared a state of emergency following a measles outbreak.

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Of those infected, 246 were children, NY health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said.

"We can not ignore the number of people becoming sick from the Measles in NY", said State Sen.

"We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk".

In February, the Department expanded vaccination recommendations for providers serving the Orthodox Jewish community to include an early, extra dose of the MMR vaccine for children between the ages of 6 months to 11 months who live in Williamsburg and Borough Park.

"When people choose not to get their children vaccinated, they are putting their children and others - such as pregnant women, people on chemotherapy, and the elderly - at risk of contracting measles", Palacio said. It says the vaccine is 97% effective. "It is safe. It is effective". "I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles". "Back in the day people were having parties to expose their kids to chicken pox and measles".

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