NYC authorities threaten to close Brooklyn yeshivas over unvaccinated students

De Blasio declares public health emergency over measles outbreak in Brooklyn mandates vaccination in Williamsburg ZIP codes

Health officials Tuesday ordered almost everyone in a heavily Orthodox Jewish New York City neighborhood to be vaccinated for measles or face fines, reviving a public-health strategy that experts say hasn't been used in the U.S.in recent memory.

"We're making clear that unvaccinated students will not be allowed in schools or day cares", de Blasio said.

The health commissioner said that "nearly all" measles cases in New York City have been associated with the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, and the outbreak is the largest since 1991. Of those infected, 246 were children, NY health commissioner Oxiris Barbot said.

"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately", Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Tuesday. While there have been no deaths, 21 people have been hospitalized and five have gone into ICU. Those who are uninsured will pay what they can afford, de Blasio said, and those who cannot afford the vaccination will receive it free.

All unvaccinated people in those areas who may have been exposed to the virus are required to get vaccinated, including children older than 6 months, according to the order. The Associated Press reports that this is the largest measles outbreak in the city since 1991, and that NYC accounts for two-thirds of all cases reported in the USA last week. They have been spreading risky misinformation based on fake science.

That message was also echoed by Dr Herminia Palacio, deputy mayor of health and human services, who said that "this vaccine is safe".

Officials in New York City were no different in their blame.

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The Brooklyn outbreak has been traced to an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak, according to New York City's Department of Health.

Outbreaks nationwide have forced state and city health officials to pursue tougher stances, such as mandatory vaccines or banning unvaccinated children from public places, prompting legal challenges and judicial intervention. At least 285 people have contracted the disease in the city since September, mostly in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighbourhood.

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.

Insured adults and children will be covered. "All rabbis, all prominent rabbis have issued proclamations that everyone should vaccinate".

As skepticism over vaccines has increased in recent years, the number of cases of preventable diseases has spiked accordingly. New Yorkers should make sure they have been vaccinated with MMR vaccine before traveling to Europe or Israel. "Unvaccinated people continue to get measles while overseas and bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others".

It said the vaccine was 97 per cent effective.

The National Institutes of Health says reports of serious reactions to vaccines are rare: about one in every 100,000 vaccinations.

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