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"We have to stop it now": New York City is now mandating measles vaccination in parts of Brooklyn

by Emma Ockerman
Apr 9 2019, 5:42pm

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New York City is now making measles vaccinations mandatory in parts of Brooklyn, with possible fines of $1,000 for people who resist.

The policy is part of a new public health emergency declared Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, as the number of cases citywide has risen to 285 since September, concentrated in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

People who resist vaccination could face a fine of $1,000, according to the Washington Post. A similar effort to fine unvaccinated people who went into public spaces was struck down last week by a judge in Rockland County, New York, just outside the city. In both instances, the rules primarily affected the ultra-religious and insular Orthodox Jewish community; New York City’s vaccination rule applies only to zip codes in Williamsburg, an Orthodox Jewish enclave. Unvaccinated members of the community may have traveled to Israel, where there’s already an ongoing outbreak, and contracted the illness. It’s not clear why this community has such low vaccination rates.

Yeshivas in Williamsburg are also blocking unvaccinated kids from entry after an order from the city’s health department. De Blasio said yeshivas could be temporarily shut down if they refuse to comply, according to the New York Times.

“We cannot allow this dangerous disease to make a comeback here in New York City. We have to stop it now,” de Blasio said, according to the Washington Post.

There have been 465 measles cases nationwide since the start of this year, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 80 cases were confirmed just last week, showing the outbreak isn’t slowing. In many states across the country, including New York, parents are able to claim religious exemptions for vaccinating their children.

Cover: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks about New York City budget priorities during a news conference at the state Capitol, Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)