New York City orders mandatory measles vaccines for some

New York City declared a public health emergency Tuesday over a measles outbreak centered in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and ordered mandatory vaccinations in the neighborhood.

The order covers people who live in four ZIP codes in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where more than 250 people have contracted measles since September.

Roughly 1,800 children in Williamsburg remain unvaccinated, Barbot said during the press conference. None proved fatal, but 21 patients required hospitalization and five were admitted to intensive care.

New York City is just one of seven locations around the country now experiencing a measles outbreak.

The outbreak began when an unvaccinated child visited Israel, where thousands of people have been sick, contracted the disease, and came back to Brooklyn. That tally from just over three months in 2019 exceeds the total number of cases from all of 2018, which was 372.

Health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot blamed those against vaccines for causing the outbreak. Of those infected, 246 were children, NY health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said.

While de Blasio did not comment on the situation in Rockland, he said he is confident that New York City's emergency order is an appropriate use of power. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities". This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods. "They have been spreading unsafe misinformation based on fake science", Barbot said. It says the vaccine is 97% effective.

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

The city has also threatened to shut down yeshivas, or traditional Jewish religious schools, if they do not follow an order to keep unvaccinated children out of class.

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