Medicine

NYC orders mandatory vaccines for some amid measles outbreak

NYC orders mandatory vaccines for some amid measles outbreak

New York City declared a public health emergency this Tuesday due to a measles outbreak that has hit the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.

The city's largest outbreak since 1991 of the once virtually eradicated virus has mainly been confined to the Orthodox Jewish community in the borough's Williamsburg neighborhood, with 285 cases confirmed since October, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.

The recent outbreak is one of many measles outbreaks that have hit the city since the fall.

She also said she'd be willing to pay the $1,000 fine the city has threatened to impose on any Williamsburg residents who refuse to get vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children get two doses of measles vaccine.

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"I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities", de Blasio said in the statement.

The Brooklyn outbreak has been traced to an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak, according to New York City's Department of Health. So far, 21 people have been hospitalized. "They have been spreading unsafe misinformation based on fake science", he said in the news release.

Health officials have largely blamed the outbreaks on small but vocal anti-vaccine advocates who scare well-meaning parents by spreading risky lies and misinformation about life-saving vaccines and their safety.

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

"I understand that parents may be afraid of getting their children vaccinated", said Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot. "We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk". Last week, a state judge blocked an attempt by Rockland County officials to halt the spread of measles by banning unvaccinated children from public places. She added that the city will help unprotected individuals secure affordable and accessible vaccination, and emphasized that vaccination is safe and effective. Schools that don't comply face fines and closure.