New York City orders mandatory measles vaccines for some

The measles outbreak has sickened 285 people in the city since October, and the rate of infection has increased over the last two months, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Tuesday news conference. "Unvaccinated people continue to get measles while overseas and bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others".

The disease is easily spread and can be fatal, but there have been no confirmed deaths so far, officials said. All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children.

De Blasio, a Democrat, said officials were confident the order would withstand legal scrutiny.

New York City's order applies to unvaccinated people who live, work or go to school in four ZIP codes, with some exceptions, such as for children under 6 months old.

Battling a fast-growing measles outbreak, New York City has declared an emergency and ordered mandatory vaccinations under threat of fine in a Brooklyn neighborhood where the disease is spreading.

The city said it would help everyone covered by the order get the vaccine if they can't get it quickly through their regular medical provider. "This will mandate vaccines for people living in the affected area", de Blasio said.

While the MMR vaccine is the safest and most effective method of prevent measles, it is only 97 percent effective, so population-wide immunity is a key component to protecting our most at risk New Yorkers from measles.

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

New York City declared a public health emergency this Tuesday due to a measles outbreak that has hit the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.




The city's health commissioner, Dr Oxiris Barbot, said that the majority of religious leaders in Brooklyn's large Orthodox communities support vaccination efforts, but that rates have remained low in some areas because of resistance from some groups that believe the inoculations are risky.

"This outbreak is being fuelled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighbourhoods", Dr Barbot said.

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

What's more, the more children in the community have it, the higher risk of exposure for kids with weakened immune systems and pregnant women, who need to avoid the virus.

News of the order got a mixed reaction in Williamsburg, with some residents - even those who support vaccination - saying they felt uncomfortable with the city pushing vaccines on people who don't want them.

"As a parent, I have no doubt that each and every parent is making decisions based out of what they believe is best for their children", said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio.

State law requires children to be up to date on their vaccinations prior to attending school, and adolescents and college students must also be up to date on their MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunizations.

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

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