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

Bill de Blasio and Dr. Oxiris Barbot during a press conference Tuesday morning

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a regional "health emergency" Tuesday as a measles outbreak spread across sections of Brooklyn; requiring students in specific zip codes to be vaccinated or face a $1,000 fine.

After almost 300 people were infected in Brooklyn, Bill de Blasio, New York's mayor, ordered unvaccinated individuals in certain postcodes to get their jabs or face a fine.

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there have been 465 cases so far this year, two-thirds of them in NY state. "Vaccinate." De Blasio said the outbreak "can be turned around quickly" if residents act quickly.

"We will consider [forcible vaccinations] on a case-by-case basis", said mayoral spokeswoman Marcy Miranda, adding that the drastic measure is "not our first choice". Under the mandatory vaccination order, officials will check the vaccination records of anyone who may have been in contact with a person infected with measles, according to a statement from the DOHMH.

The mayor said that the city would issue violations and possibly fines for those who did not comply. 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. The recent outbreak is one of many measles outbreaks that have hit the city since the fall.

Public health nurse Deb Floren shows a vial of the measles vaccine Thursday at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building in Willmar.

The U.S.as a whole has fairly high vaccination rates against measles, and the vaccine is very effective at preventing the disease.

Those who choose not to will risk the penalty of a $1,400 fine.

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Three 2018 outbreaks in NY state and New Jersey, which added to a large portion of the cases recorded a year ago, were altogether connected withtravelers who brought measles back from Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring.

By far most of the city's cases are kids under 18 years age.

"This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods. They have been spreading unsafe misinformation based on fake science", said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

World Health Organization said that immunization coverage of 95 percent amongst all children is needed for a community to be fully protected against measles.

New York City's order, officially issued by the city's health commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, takes a different tack than the public ban in Rockland.

Measles cases are on the rise in New Jersey and just across the state line in NY. Last week, the judge hearing their case agreed with them, stating the number of cases in the country - over 150 confirmed cases currently-didn't legally merit the need for the county's emergency order.

No deaths have been reported.

Three 2018 outbreaks in NY state and New Jersey, which contributed to most of the cases recorded past year, were all associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring. At least 285 people have contracted the disease in the city since September, mostly in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. Two people contracted measles while in the United Kingdom and one in Ukraine.

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