A public health emergency was declared by Mayor Bill de Blasio last week in Williamsburg over the growing number of confirmed cases of the highly contagious measles virus in New York City.
Parents now face a $1,000 fine if their child remains unvaccinated in zip codes 11205, 11206, 11211, and 11249, and a lawsuit from Brooklyn parents claims that the new measure is overreaching.
There have been over 280 confirmed measles cases in Brooklyn and Queens this year as of April 8th and “most of these cases have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community,” the NYC Health Department claims. Across the U.S., 90 new measles cases were reported last week, bringing the total number to 555, “the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000,” according to the Center for Disease Control.
Some Williamsburg parents disagree with the legality of the measure mandating vaccines in New York City and filed a lawsuit against the city on Monday citing “insufficient evidence of a measles outbreak or dangerous epidemic,” the NY Times reports.
The lawsuit claims that the vaccine can put people at risk of health complications and side effects, amNew York reports:
The suit, however, contends, the “effectiveness of the MMR vaccine and the risk of harm to vaccinated people are exaggerated, inaccurate and misleading,” and noted that it puts recipients at risk for side effects such as seizures and brain injury. The mothers are represented by Robert Kennedy Jr., a prominent advocate of the anti-vaccination movement.
The suit also contends that the emergency order, which imposes a fine on parents for not vaccinating their children, “improperly invalidate(s) the petitioners’ children’s religious exemptions obtained in full compliance with Public Health Law.”
A Northwell Helth clinic on Kent Avenue has been flooded with calls in recent weeks regarding the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, NY City Lens reports.
Mayor de Blasio spoke out against anti-semitism following a report that a B57 bus driver covered their face uttering ‘measles’ as an Orthodox Jewish commuter entered the bus.
Anti-Semitic discrimination has no place in our city. We’ve reached out to the MTA about this report and will make sure it is thoroughly investigated. https://t.co/pA2g1lCLut
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 11, 2019
The Hasidic organization Agudath Israel of America issued a statement, as the NY Times points out, condemning both anti-vaxers and anti-semitism in the U.S.: “The eradication of these dual scourges – disease and hate – demand our immediate response,” the statement reads.