New York issues measles vaccine mandate
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory vaccinations in one neighborhood in response to a measles outbreak. The virus has infected 285 people in Brooklyn’s largely Orthodox Jewish Williamsburg section since September. Anyone working or going to school within four New York ZIP codes must get the measles vaccine, including all children older than 6 months. New York City’s health commissioner is empowered by law to order vaccines in the event of a serious public health threat. Officials cannot legally force anyone to be vaccinated, but those who don’t will face a $1,000 fine. The city plans to target infected people and those they have had contact with to enforce the fines. “We have to protect our kids and our families,” de Blasio tweeted.
Last month, officials in nearby suburban Rockland County, N.Y., banned unvaccinated children from going to public places for 30 days. Last week, a judge temporarily halted the order after parents sued. Lawsuits are also expected over de Blasio’s vaccine order.
There have been 465 cases of the measles in the United States since 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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