NYC mandates vaccine to contain measles outbreak

A nurse prepares the measles mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department

A nurse prepares the measles mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department

On Tuesday, the mayor declared a public health emergency requiring unvaccinated residents of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to get the vaccine or pay a potential $1,000 penalty.

While none of the infected children attend public schools or childcare programs, the Health Department is still in the process of gathering the information necessary to identify any locations where these children may have exposed others. It also states that vaccinations are required for people who have been exposed to the virus and applies to people and children 6 months or older in particular. In fact, a study from The Atlantic states that about 92% of the population should be vaccinated for most diseases, and around 95% for highly contagious ones such as measles.

David R. Curry, executive director of the Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy, told China Daily: "Once your child is exposed and has measles, there is no better convincing argument to parents who may be questioning whether vaccinations work than when they have to come to grips with the fact that their child, because they were unvaccinated, suddenly has a potentially unsafe disease".

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on Tuesday that requires unvaccinated individuals in the largely Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg - where 285 people have been diagnosed with measles since last fall, and almost two dozen hospitalized - to get the measles vaccine or face citations or fines of up to $1,000. Two additional cases were confirmed in Sullivan County. Six of the infected children are siblings. There is no scientific evidence for this, and by not vaccinating your child you are only putting your children and everyone else at risk. Two drops of vaccination can lead to the prevention of Measles. Over the years, these vaccines have saved many lives, while causing few to no side effects.

"I think it's unfortunate in this day and age that people are still that uneducated and fearful when it comes to vaccinations", Jasey said Wednesday. We will use it prudently, we will use it with restraint, but we will use it to protect the public health of Westchester people. But you don't need to go as far as Madagascar - common tourist destinations like England, France, Italy and Greece had measles outbreaks past year. Anyone who is unsure about his/her or their child's vaccination status can work with their health care provider's office or school to obtain their vaccination records.

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"It's really scary out there", she said. "It's not just that they know what questions to ask. Those who have the vaccination won't have to worry".

Anyone who would like to receive a vaccine at one of these clinics should register in advance for an appointment at www.health.ny.gov/gotoclinic/60.

At a time when Rockland County is attempting to get a grip on the measles epidemic and efforts to convince unvaccinated residents to get the MMR shots, new cases of the virus have been confirmed in adjacent counties.

"We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk", said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot from the NYC Health Department. It is so easy to forget how powerful vaccines are when you have never seen another suffer from debilitating or deadly diseases, like smallpox or polio.

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