New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio Orders Vaccinations Amid Measles Outbreak

Grant Boone
April 9, 2019

Mayor de Blasio declared a public health emergency over the measles outbreak in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community, mandating vaccinations for people living in Williamsburg zip codes to stem the crisis.

"If people will simply cooperate quickly, nobody will have to pay a fine", de Blasio said.

Neighborhood officials said the vast majority of Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg are vaccinated, but because the community is so tightly knit, just a small number of anti-vaxers is allowing this outbreak to grow.

The New York City Department of Health has threatened to fine or even close USA yeshivas in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn if students who are not vaccinated against measles are allowed to attend classes.

"My children are more important to me than any money in the world", she said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 465 measles cases have been reported so far this year, up from 387 the week before. While there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been hospitalized, with five admitted to intensive care, officials said. Officials blamed the outbreak on "anti-vaxxers" spreading false information.

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The New York City declaration requires all unvaccinated people who may have been exposed to the virus to get the vaccine, including children over 6 months old. Officials in New York City were no different in their blame.

"I understand that parents may be afraid of getting their children vaccinated", health commissioner Barbot said.

"The point here is not to fine people but to make it easier for them to get vaccinated", Barbot said at Tuesday's news conference. She added that the city will help unprotected individuals secure affordable and accessible vaccination, and emphasized that vaccination is safe and effective.

There have been 285 reported cases of measles in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community since October, 246 of which are children, CBS New York reported Monday, citing the health department. "We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk".

Any yeshiva in Williamsburg that doesn't comply with the order will face fines and possible closure, the health department said.

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