The controversy of measles vaccines was brewing in New York City. Vaccine skeptics were planning a lawsuit against the city. A Hasidic woman was criticized when she boarded a public bus. Family members were avoiding weddings for fear of encountering unvaccinated relatives.
It was due to Mayor Bill de Blasio announcing on Tuesday an emergency health order requiring measles vaccinations. The mayor said the step was necessary to curtail the large measles outbreak in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. And as health officials moved into Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood to enforce the mandate, tensions only escalated.
Mr. de Blasio’s effort worked to mobilize an already well-organized network of vaccine skeptics.
“I am a religious Jew, whose religious convictions are being blatantly violated by the vaccine Diktats, which are a clear violation of the Nuremberg Code, which forbids forcing medical procedures on anyone without their fully-informed consent,” the form says.
It continues: “Childhood diseases, like measles and chickenpox, unlike smallpox and ebola, are not a legitimate public health menace, and do not justify an emergency declaration.”
On Tuesday, the mayor said unvaccinated residents in certain ZIP codes in Brooklyn must receive a measles vaccination or face a $1,000 fine. The next day, 20 city health inspectors began auditing vaccination records at yeshivas, and 15 disease detectives started interviewing those who had potentially been exposed to the highly contagious virus, the Health Department said.
Blima Marcus, an ultra-Orthodox nurse practitioner at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said she understood the city’s actions, but she raised concerns about whether they would be effective. In the last week alone, 60 new cases of measles were confirmed in New York City, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and suburban Westchester County reported its first eight cases.
What are you thoughts about the mayor’s actions in New York City? We look forward to seeing your comments.