New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio Orders Vaccinations Amid Measles Outbreak

Measles cases have been clustered in parts of Rockland County NY that include New Square an all Hasidic village

Measles cases have been clustered in parts of Rockland County NY that include New Square an all Hasidic village

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the unusual order amid what he said was a measles "crisis" in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section, where more than 250 people, mostly members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious community, have gotten measles since September.

"Every one of us has to feel responsibility for the situation because measles is so contagious, can spread so quickly", said De Blasio Tuesday morning.

"This outbreak is being fuelled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighbourhoods". "But as a doctor, a public health practitioner, and a mom, I must warn you that exposing your unvaccinated child to measles is very risky, and it could even be deadly".

The Brooklyn outbreak has been traced to an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak, according to New York City's Department of Health.

"They're spreading this information through hotlines, some publications".

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A total of 465 cases across 19 states have been confirmed this year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York City's health commissioner is empowered by law to issue such orders in cases where they might be necessary to protect against a serious public health threat.

Anyone looking to find out where they can get vaccinated or to get more information can call 311.

News of the order got a mixed reaction in Williamsburg, with some residents - even those who support vaccination - saying they felt uncomfortable with the city pushing vaccines on people who don't want them.

A growing and vocal fringe of parents oppose vaccinations, believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccines can cause autism or other disorders. Officials in New York City were no different in their blame.

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It means that anyone who is not vaccinated and living in the area who might have been exposed to the measles will be required to receive the vaccination.

"I know that parents may be afraid of getting their child vaccinated, but as a pediatrician, I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles", said NYC Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Most of these measles cases were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated individuals.

"Look it's a serious public health concern, but it's also a serious First Amendment issue and it is going to be a constitutional, legal question", Cuomo said.

"We're making clear that unvaccinated students will not be allowed in schools or day cares", de Blasio said.

Since 1963, "widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era", the CDC said.

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That's the point of vaccines - safe ways of making people immune to infections with limited side effects.

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