NY mandates vaccinations to contain measles

NYC Declares Public Health Emergency over Measles Outbreak

NYC Declares Public Health Emergency over Measles Outbreak

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

"It is not the authority of the general government, county executive or legislators to make those declarations, and I think that is as it should be", Latimer said.

The CDC blames measles outbreaks across the United States on two factors: an increase in the number of people who bring measles into the country from overseas and pockets of unvaccinated people living here.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported at least 465 individual cases of measles in 19 states in the past three and a half months.

And yet the county has not skimped in throwing resources at the problem. As many as 228 of the 285 cases were diagnosed in Williamsburg.

"As a society we've said we'll allow a little bit of flexibility in our laws in order to give people a wider berth to exercise their personal beliefs", Indiana University public health law professor Ross D. Silverman recently told Wired magazine. In Philadelphia, health officials sought a court order to force parents at two congregations to vaccinate their children.

As The Washington Post has previously reported, public health experts link the surge to pockets of unvaccinated children nationwide, populations deemed vulnerable in large part because their parents have hesitated or refused to get them immunized.

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Last week saw a minor victory for vaccination advocates amid the United States' ongoing measles outbreak: A Kentucky judge ruled against a lawsuit filed by 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel against the Northern Kentucky Health Department, claiming the department had discriminated against Kunkel by asking schools to exclude students not vaccinated for chicken pox from school and extracurricular activities.

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That fact places this community at the heart of the vaccination debate, raising the risk of fueling anti-Semitism, said Gary Siepser, president of the Jewish Foundation of Rockland County. Refusing vaccines is not a doctrine of the Jewish Orthodox, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, or any other religious community. Those who are too young to receive certain vaccines, have allergies to components of vaccines, or are undergoing medical treatment depend on this herd immunity, as they are unable to be vaccinated themselves. "I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities".

Several Orthodox mothers questioned this week lashed out at the anti-vaccine parents. Almost one in four kindergartners in one Washington county did not receive vaccinations, according to state data.

"If you're a hard-core anti-vax believer, a misdemeanor conviction and a $1,000 fine is not going to change your mind", she said.

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