NYC's New Policy on Measles Vaccine Prompts Renewed Focus in NJ

Posted April 12, 2019

Barbot added the city's health services will be take steps to identify and reach out to individuals who may have come into contact with those who have contracted confirmed cases of measles.

"This is about one neighborhood and tracing folks that have been exposed", de Blasio said.

There have been almost 300 cases of measles in the city, particularly concentrated in Orthodox Jewish communities in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Buzzfeed News reports.

If people can not afford the vaccination, officials said the city will cover the cost.

Last year, 372 cases were reported the entire year-and these were contained to only three metropolitan areas: New York, New York City, and New Jersey.

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The order covers people who live in four ZIP codes of a Brooklyn neighborhood where more than 250 people have gotten measles since September. It is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested.

The order also applies the same stipulations to the parents or guardian of any unvaccinated child older than six months of age in terms of having the child immunized.

Parents of unvaccinated children will be held responsible for getting them the shot.

The resurgence of the once-eradicated, highly-contagious disease is linked to a growing anti-vaccine movement in richer nations - which the World Health Organisation has identified as a major global health threat. Also each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles.

In January, one yeshiva broke compliance with the city mandate, leading to more than 40 new cases of the measles. The other locations include areas of Washington state and Michigan, Butte County and Santa Cruz County in California, Rockland County in NY, and Ocean County in New Jersey.

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Tuesday's order follows another decree by the city's Health Department, issued a day earlier, that any yeshivas in Williamsburg that continue to defy the mandatory exclusion of all unvaccinated children will immediately be issued a violation and face fines and possible school closures.

A Williamsburg yeshiva that fell out of compliance in January is connected to more than 40 measles cases, ABC7 NY reported.

In a statement by the city's health department, Brooklyn Rabbi David Niederman said, "It says in the Torah "V'nishmartem Meod L'nafshoseichem"-a person must guard their health". 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. According to the deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, Dr. Heminia Palacio, citizens should not take measles lightly as it is a very unsafe disease that can cause death in some cases.

However, that ban was overturned by a judge last Friday.

In the past decade, the Philippines had seen a decline in the first dose of measles vaccine, from above 80 percent in 2008 to below 70 percent in 2017.

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Both outbreaks in the state are thought to have originated from Israel (the disease was declared eradicated in the U.S.in 2000). Close to 300 measles cases have been confirmed, with the infected mostly children from the Jewish community.