Westchester Has Its First Confirmed Cases Of Measles
The measles outbreak has highlighted the issues of municipalities forcing citizens to get vaccinated. The disease is transmitted when people who have not been vaccinated come into contact with others, so areas around worldwide airports or proximity to communities who shun vaccines are of particular concern. This comes as the number of confirmed measles cases continues to rise in Rockland County, and health officials on Tuesday ordered almost everyone in a heavily Orthodox Jewish New York City neighborhood to be vaccinated for measles or face fines.
The mayor said an estimated 1,800 children in the neighborhood are still unvaccinated, so it was "time to take a more muscular approach", he said.
The vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella came under fire in a scientific paper by researcher Andrew Wakefield.
The outbreak has largely been concentrated in the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. One of them was Cindy Scher, mother of four children age 7 to 17, all of whom have been vaccinated. The virus spread from there. It is so easy to forget how powerful vaccines are when you have never seen another suffer from debilitating or deadly diseases, like smallpox or polio.
Colleges in the D.C. area said they have had no instances of measles infections, but the University of Maryland sent out a campuswide notice Wednesday reminding students and employees that "Measles vaccine is required for students at UMD".
"You will not find rabbis citing Jewish law to say people should not be vaccinated", he said, stressing that his federation, like other Jewish organizations, encourages vaccination.
"I urge everyone, especially those in affected areas, to get their MMR vaccines to protect their children, families and communities", de Blasio said in a statement. The health department has threatened to close these yeshivas if they do not comply.
The health officials will try to persuade any unvaccinated person who has been exposed to measles to get the vaccine.
However some locals, like Miriam, 66, are anxious about how the outbreak may affect their family members.
"It's really scary out there", she said.
Westchester officials have yet to announce what measure they will take, but Westchester Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler implored parents to vaccinate their children. "We can't just be concerned about my religious beliefs, your religious beliefs", she said, as she walked out of a kosher supermarket in Monsey, the epicenter of the county's Orthodox community.
Despite people's religious or philosophical objections to vaccinations, Latimer said, the science is clear.
But, even to some who support vaccination, the $1,000 fine seems excessive. "I think it will help in getting the community covered", he said.
Other residents also proposed alternative solutions to stop the spread of the disease.