Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Challenge to NYC's vaccination order in the works

Challenge to NYC's vaccination order in the works

America's largest urban area, New York City, has taken the extraordinary move of making vaccinations mandatory for some people who may have been exposed to the measles virus in a hard-hit, predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

"As the outbreak continues to grow and even spread to other counties in NY, the mayor has ordered that people who are unvaccinated have 48 hours to get their shots or they will be fined "$1,000 per instance".

Westchester County neighbors Rockland County, where 168 people have contracted measles, prompting schools to temporarily ban unvaccinated children.

Facing a rapidly spreading outbreak of measles, Mayor Bill de Blasio has rightly declared a public health emergency, with fines for those who refuse to be vaccinated.

The health officials will try to persuade any unvaccinated person who has been exposed to measles to get the vaccine.

Some 285 measles cases have been identified in New York City since last fall, compared to two in all of 2017.

For more information on the MMR vaccine, talk to your local healthcare provider, or read about vaccination on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

In the wake of measles outbreaks in recent months, some public health officials have created strict rules concerning unvaccinated children in public spaces, such as schools and houses of worship.

"I haven't had anyone come to me and point out why the Bible opposes vaccination, but there are some who simply don't want to receive it", Coffey said.

Indeed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quick to declare the city's action "legally questionable" and "a serious First Amendment issue" - though his failure to suggest any practical alternative suggests this was mostly his usual automatic dumping-on-de Blasio. To them, fear of the unknown outweighs fear of a disease that they have never seen in their lifetime.

This outbreak is a result of mistrust amongst the residents which did not believe in providing vaccine to the children. One of the main reasons is an anti-vaccination movement that has spread misinformation around the world. Unvaccinated individuals should have their shots within 48 hours or face $1,000 fine. Health officials blame its resurgence on falling vaccination rates fueled by myths that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine increases the risk of children developing autism. One of them was Cindy Scher, mother of four children age 7 to 17, all of whom have been vaccinated. Six of the children are siblings.

"It's shocking that these things that I didn't worry about with my kids because they could be vaccinated - all of a sudden parents have to worry about their children getting life-threatening diseases", Siepser said. And that puts anyone with a compromised immune system in danger-including newborn babies who are too young to be vaccinated, pregnant women, and people with cancer or on immunosuppressive therapies because of transplants.

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