NY orders mandatory measles vaccinations, blasts misinformation fueling outbreak

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New York City has declared a public health emergency over a measles outbreak and ordered mandatory vaccinations for some people who may have been exposed to the virus.

"There's no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving", said de Blasio.

CBS reported that the "vast majority" of children in the largely ultra-Orthodox community of Williamsburg are vaccinated, but that the disease continues to spread due to how tight-knit the community is.

The city's health department ordered Monday for all yeshivas, which are Jewish education centers, to bar students who have not received the measles vaccine from class or face possible closure, reported NBC News.

"We will make sure that everybody who is allowed will be vaccinated", Rabbi David Niederman, the president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, said in a phone interview.

Government pushes for inoculations and public space bans of unvaccinated children have prompted a backlash among anti-vaccination activists, whose misinformation campaigns have led to declines for vaccinations against one of the world's most contagious diseases. "They have been spreading unsafe misinformation based on fake science", Barbot said.

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From January 1 to April 4, 2019, 465 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states.

Under the order, any person living in the affected areas who has not been vaccinated must be immunised within 48 hours. Before then, between 3 million and 4 million people got measles every year, according to the CDC.

In New York City late previous year, the health department ordered yeshivas and childcare centres in the Orthodox Jewish community to keep out unvaccinated students.

Last week, a judge ruled against an order in New York's Rockland County, temporarily halting an order from health officials there that barred unvaccinated children from public school. The other locations include areas of Washington state and Michigan, Butte County and Santa Cruz County in California, Rockland County in NY, and Ocean County in New Jersey.

City officials also expressed alarm at reports of parents holding "measles parties", where they intentionally expose their unvaccinated children to an infected child in the mistaken belief doing so is a safe means to create immunity.

Health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot blamed those against vaccines for causing the outbreak.