NYC orders mandatory vaccines for some amid measles outbreak

10 April, 2019, 07:57 | Author: Jerome Frank
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New York City has declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak centred in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and ordered mandatory vaccinations in the neighbourhood.

Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and daycare programmes serving that community to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says measles is a unsafe and potentially deadly illness, that can easily be prevented with a vaccine. Twenty-one people have been hospitalized, with five ending up in the intensive care unit, but there have been no deaths.

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.

They will impose fines of up to $1,000 on those who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and can not give other evidence of immunity, such as having previously had the measles.

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".

The nation's biggest city is in the midst of its biggest measles outbreak since 1991, with 285 cases diagnosed since last fall - compared to two in all of 2017, officials said.

"They're spreading this information through hotlines, some publications".

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NY accounted for about two-thirds of all measles cases reported last week in the United States.

Israel, for instance, also has a current measles outbreak.

Another Jewish religious community, north of the city but with close ties to Brooklyn, has also seen a surge, with at least 166 cases since October.

Insured adults and children will be covered. Ages of the infected range from 8 months to 63 years old, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.

'We will make sure that everybody who is allowed will be vaccinated, ' Rabbi David Niederman, the president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, said in a phone interview.

On Friday, a NY state judge lifted the state of emergency imposed by Rockland County that would have barred minors not vaccinated against the measles from public places. "Unvaccinated people continue to get measles while overseas and bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others".

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving". It lays out numerous anti-vaccine arguments that have been debunked by scientific studies, such as a claim that measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations increase the risk of autism.

Still, he said, "there is no pope in Judaism, and no one can force you to vaccinate".

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