Medicine

NYC Just Declared a Public Health Emergency And Ordered Mandatory Measles Shots

NYC Just Declared a Public Health Emergency And Ordered Mandatory Measles Shots

New York City declared a public health emergency Tuesday morning, ordering mandatory measles vaccinations for residents in parts of Williamsburg as the number of confirmed cases for the infection rose to 285 since September 30.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Anyone who resists could be fined up to US$1,000. "The decision to declare a public health emergency in New York City is the right one, and it is time we act at the state level and end non-medical exemptions".

A woman opposed to childhood vaccinations wears a "No Vax" sign on her backpack as she takes part in a demonstration after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces, in West Nyack, New York, U.S. March 28, 2019.

Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and day care programs serving the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg to exclude unvaccinated students or risk being closed down.

That's up sharply from only two reported cases in all of 2017. "We've seen a large increase in the number of people vaccinated in these neighbourhoods".

Public health nurse Deb Floren shows a vial of the measles vaccine Thursday at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building in Willmar.

Measles spreads easily via coughing and sneezing, and can result in serious health complications ranging from permanent loss of hearing to brain swelling and death.

In the city alone, 285 cases have been confirmed - 246 of which have been in children.

"It is crucial for people to understand that [the] measles vaccine works, it is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested", said Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

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The vaccination mandate would remain in place until the New York City Board of Health's next meeting on April 17 when officials will determine whether or not to continue the order, Barbot said in the release.

The resurgence of the once-eradicated, highly-contagious disease is linked to a growing anti-vaccine movement in richer nations - which the World Health Organisation has identified as a major global health threat.

It said the vaccine was 97 per cent effective.

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.

The Health Department order also mandates that parents vaccinate children who are six months of age or older unless the parent or guardian can prove the child is immune to the disease or should be "medically exempt from this requirement". "I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles".

Schlesinger is trying to reverse false information being spread about the measles vaccine through the Orthodox community.

"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately", de Blasio.

The Health Department also warned against parents throwing "measles parties" as a way of infecting unvaccinated kids.