Parents in New York City Are Throwing Measles Parties

A nurse prepares the measles mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department recently

Some Orthodox Jewish residents say refusing measles vaccines is a part of their religious belief, but on the streets of Williamsburg there is also strong support for vaccinations and worries that the outbreak might spread. At the time, my medical colleagues and I hailed the end of this unsafe virus that infected more than 4 million people per year, hospitalized 50,000, and killed 500, before the measles vaccine program began in 1963. The virus was reintroduced to the NY area when a non-vaccinated person became infected while traveling to Israel, a country with known low vaccination rates.

Following the events of Measles outbreak 2019 in NYC, Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, declared in a press conference that the city is officially under a public health crisis. Two additional cases were confirmed in Sullivan County.

We learn about how low vaccination rates can put vulnerable members of our community in danger. Full vaccination is 97% effective at preventing measles.

Measles is a contagious viral disease with complications including swelling of the brain, pneumonia, ear infections and diarrhea. This is a disease that killed 110,000 people worldwide in 2017, and is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in the world.

As anti-vaccination movements continue to rise, Coffey explained that the widespread opposition to vaccination is mainly based in false news about side effects.

Despite people's religious or philosophical objections to vaccinations, Latimer said, the science is clear.

The city health department ordered all ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in Brooklyn on Monday to exclude unvaccinated students from classes during the outbreak.

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And we ask given continued fears in some communities around vaccines despite years of overwhelming scientific consensus about their safety, do we need to change how we talk about vaccines? During the third week of March, exposed individuals visited a dozen different locations on multiple dates, including several facilities associated with Orthodox Judaism, children's stores and restaurants in Lakewood, a regional emergency room, and Newark Liberty International Airport's Terminal B. Those who have not received the MMR vaccine or do not have evidence of immunity may be given a violation and could be fined $1,000.

As of Friday, measles - officially eliminated from the United States in 2000 - had struck 167 people in this county along the Hudson River, including nine new cases this week.

"It's really scary out there", she said.

The mayor's order, announced Tuesday, mandated that everyone who lives, works or attends school in the affected area get immunized against the disease within 48 hours or face a $1,000 fine.

"I haven't had anyone come to me and point out why the Bible opposes vaccination, but there are some who simply don't want to receive it", Coffey said.

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving", said de Blasio.

Among her daily struggles: having to constantly repeat that the vaccine does not cause other diseases, that it does not lead to autism and that the practice of using fetal tissue to produce the vaccine ended decades ago. "I think it will help in getting the community covered", he said.

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