New York City Declares Measles Public Health Emergency In Select ZIP Codes

New York City Declares Measles Public Health Emergency In Select ZIP Codes

New York City Declares Measles Public Health Emergency In Select ZIP Codes

Health officials Tuesday ordered almost everyone in a heavily Orthodox Jewish New York City neighborhood to be vaccinated for measles or face fines, reviving a public-health strategy that experts say hasn't been used in the recent memory.

The order covers people who live in four ZIP codes of a Brooklyn neighborhood where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September.

"It was time to take a more muscular approach", Mr de Blasio told a news conference as the emergency measures were announced.

Under the new rules, anyone who has not received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine or does not have evidence of immunity risks a fine of $1000, said a statement from the mayor's office.

In declaring a public health emergency, Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the number of cases diagnosed within certain zip codes of Williamsburg "continues to grow as new cases are still occurring" and that he deemed this to be an "existing threat to public health in the City of NY". We're talking about people's lives here. While there have been no deaths, 21 people have been hospitalized and five have gone into ICU. Deaths are rare in the US, but measles killed 110,000 people globally in 2017.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot added, "As a pediatrician, I know the MMR vaccine is safe and effective".

City officials said Tuesday that 246 cases were in children.

"We urge everyone who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated", Barbot said.

Anyone looking to find out where they can get vaccinated or to get more information can call 311. Newborns, pregnant individuals, and those with weakened immune systems can not get vaccinated, so it is important that everyone around them be vaccinated in order to protect them from contracting the virus and prevent severe complications in these susceptible populations.

"Look it's a serious public health concern, but it's also a serious First Amendment issue and it is going to be a constitutional, legal question", Cuomo said.

Tuesday's announcement was the first time NY has ordered mandatory vaccinations in recent history, according to health officials.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness characterized by a rash of flat red spots.

Last year, there were 372 cases nationwide.

Officials say the outbreak is spreading due to a small group of anti-vaxxers.

Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and day care programs serving that community to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down. "They have been spreading unsafe misinformation based on fake science", Dr. Barbot said in the statement.

"Since then, there have been additional people from Brooklyn and Queens who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel", according to the city's health department.

"It's true that a lot of people have measles and measles are not a very good thing, but I think the vaccine also not a very good thing", said Aron Braver, a neighbourhood resident.

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