New York City threatens to close yeshivas over unvaccinated children

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In declaring a public health emergency, Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot said the number of cases diagnosed within certain zip codes of Williamsburg "continues to grow as new cases are still occurring" and that he deemed this to be an "existing threat to public health in the City of NY".

The city can't legally physically force someone to get a vaccination, but officials said that people who ignore the order could be fined US$1,000. It covers people who live in four ZIP codes in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighbourhood, where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September.

"People in violation of our order to get vaccinated against measles will get a violation and could be fined $1,000 per instance", NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Oxiris Barbot tweeted.

Orthodox Jewish schools and day care programs in Williamsburg were ordered Monday to exclude unvaccinated students from classes during the outbreak or risk being closed down.

Adalja also noted that there are babies being born all the time, who usually can't be vaccinated until they are about 1 year old.

Video: Despite evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, the anti-vaccination movement is gaining strength.

"There is no religious exemption on measles", Gary Schlesinger, CEO of Parcare Community Health Network, told CBS New York.

City officials said Tuesday that 246 cases were in children.

"Our goal is not to fine people or shut down schools", de Blasio said.

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The New York Civil Liberties Union also questioned the city's move. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises children to get two doses of the 97 percent effective measles vaccine. Close monitoring, plus education and outreach to further boost vaccination rates, are what now make sense for the Garden State, he and others said Wednesday.

It is the largest measles outbreak in the city since 1991.

Parents of unvaccinated children will be held responsible for getting them the shot. None proved fatal, but 21 patients required hospitalisation and five were admitted to intensive care. This measure, which has been temporarily blocked by a local judge, is drastic but arguably necessary. "We stand with the majority of people in this community who have worked hard to protect their children and those at risk".

NY officials say that the outbreak in the ultra-Orthodox community began when individuals contracted the illness while visiting United Kingdom, the Ukraine, which has a huge outbreak and Israel, which also has a large outbreak.

"There is a campaign with very intentional efforts to give misinformation", Herminia Palacio, the city's deputy mayor for public health, said at the news conference.

Prior to the introduction of the vaccine, in 1963, measles deaths would range between 450 and 500 every single year in the United States.

This phenomenon, which the World Health Organization has called "vaccine hesitancy" and listed as one of the 10 major threats to global public health, thrives on suspicion, distrust of government and misinformation.

The number of confirmed cases has increased dramatically since 2017, when there were only two confirmed cases. Likewise, tightly clustered religious communities, insulated from mainstream society, also tend to suffer higher flare-ups of the highly contagious virus because the group's level of immunity has fallen.

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