New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has declared a public health emergency and is deploying the city’s health department to force all Brooklyn residents in certain zip codes to be vaccinated – even babies – or pay fines of $1000.
“We have a very serious situation on our hands. We cannot allow this dangerous disease to make a comeback here in New York City,” De Blasio said Tuesday morning in a press conference, referring to the measles outbreak in the city.
JUST IN: NYC Mayor de Blasio declares public health emergency over measles outbreak.
"This will mandate vaccines for people living in the affected area. Department of Health will issue violations and fines for people who remain unvaccinated." https://t.co/vx0h4UdAX0 pic.twitter.com/vgfHyNtZUm
— ABC News (@ABC) April 9, 2019
He said those who refuse to be vaccinated will be fined and will not be allowed to attend schools, and that those schools, including private schools, that allow unvaccinated children to attend will be closed by the city.
As of April 8, there were 285 cases of measles in New York City, most of them in Brooklyn among the Orthodox Jewish communities, according to the health department’s website.
The city’s health department says the initial person acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring, and that several others have also since contracted the disease in Israel and spread it to others in New York City.
Most of the confirmed cases, 228, are in the Williamsburg neighborhood, just across the East River from Manhattan. The neighborhood is home to a large Orthodox Jewish community. Borough Park, another Brooklyn neighborhood, had 49 confirmed measles cases as of April 8. Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach, Crown Heights, Midwood/Marine Park and Flushing all had between 1 and 3 cases of measles in the last six months.
All people living or working in the affected neighborhoods must get vaccinated, the city says, or face fines of $1,000 per person.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Eric Phillips, said on Twitter the city will shut down schools that are admitting children who are not vaccinated.
The Mayor has declared the Williamsburg measles outbreak a public health emergency. We’re mandating vaccinations for those who may have been exposed. And we’ll shut down schools violating the ban on unvaccinated students. pic.twitter.com/f88zQ9WcVK
— eric phillips (@EricFPhillips) April 9, 2019
Measles is a highly infectious disease that spreads rapidly, but was for many years considered a rite of passage of childhood that rarely led to complications in otherwise healthy children.
Since 2000, when measles was considered eradicated in the United States, there has been less than one death per year from measles in the U.S.
The last fatality was in 2015, when a woman in Washington state whose immune system was compromised died from measles. The last fatality before this was in 2012.
The measles vaccine, meanwhile, has been the subject of considerable controversy. The most common measles vaccine now in use is the MMR, the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine.
As of this week, the federal government has paid out a total of $360.4 million since 1989 to parents who said their child suffered injury or death from the vaccine. The money has been paid through what’s known as the ‘Vaccine Court’ – officially the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which was established to handle all lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers for damages and death caused by vaccines and to compensate victims. The money paid to victims comes not from the drug makers themselves, but from a fee that is added to the cost of all vaccines and paid for by the consumer.
The mayor’s order forcing Brooklyn residents in certain zip codes to get vaccinated follows a push by Democrats in the New York State Assembly to eliminate the religious exemption from vaccines, thereby forcing parents to vaccinate their children if they are to attend school.
It also follows a judge’s order last week striking down Rockland County, New York’s, attempt to quarantine unvaccinated children.
The judge said in his opinion, issued Friday, that the number of cases didn’t amount to an epidemic that justified such government action.
“In a population of roughly 330,000 people, 166 cases is equal to .05% of the population, which does not appear, on the record before the court, to rise to the level of an ‘epidemic’ as including in the definition of ‘disaster’ under Executive Law, Section 24,” he wrote.
Stop The FORCED Vaccinations!!! [OPINION]…
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) April 2, 2019
Both Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C., have also been pushing to eliminate religious exemptions from vaccines, thereby forcing Americans to vaccinate.
At a hearing on March 5 before a Senate subcommittee, only Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) objected, saying that such government force “is not consistent with the American story” or with “the liberty our forefathers sought when they came to America.”
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