NYC mandates vaccine to contain measles outbreak

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Doctors who practice in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish communities say only a small number of people refuse inoculations outright because they believe erroneously that vaccines are harmful or that they violate Jewish law, but factors including large families may have helped the outbreak spread.

Since October, each case has been systematically investigated to determine how many people have been exposed to the ultracontagious virus.

David R. Curry, executive director of the Center for Vaccine Ethics and Policy, told China Daily: "Once your child is exposed and has measles, there is no better convincing argument to parents who may be questioning whether vaccinations work than when they have to come to grips with the fact that their child, because they were unvaccinated, suddenly has a potentially risky disease. Our religion says that you should do it", he said across the street from the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov school.

Also on Wednesday, officials in Westchester County just north of New York City announced that measles has been confirmed in eight children who were apparently exposed to the highly contagious virus while visiting Rockland County or Brooklyn.

New York's mandatory vaccination order in four Brooklyn zip codes is by far the toughest action to date by state or local officials, as the disease's tally grows to 465 cases in 19 states. "I'm not even sure that people know about it", Robert Krakow, a New York personal injury lawyer and prominent anti-vaccine advocate, told The New York Post about the city's emergency order. Anyone who is unable to locate their vaccination record should get the MMR vaccine, as it is not harmful to receive additional doses. He said that most things that happen in Jewish communities get blown out of proportion, "If it [the outbreak] was true, there would be signs outside every synagogue telling people not to go in, and there aren't".

Director of Lee Health Services at Lee Rachel Coffey said that vaccinated people are still at risk of getting the virus. She said people should call ahead and make arrangements.

"Our goal is to get people vaccinated", he said. Majority of them didn't die but they were admitted to the hospital. But she said that in her work as a mental health care provider, she has lately seen an increase in cases of autism.

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The objective is to raise the vaccination rate from the current 72 percent, Ruppert said.

"Parents should definitely vaccinate their kids", Fuel said in Spanish, as she stood on the corner of Havemeyer and Division Street. Those who fail to comply could face fines up to $1,000.

De Blasio took to Twitter to reinforce the importance of vaccines.

"For instance, if a parent has three children and one of them gets the measles, exposing the other two, the fine would be $3,000".

"Choosing not to vaccinate without a medical reason is putting the rights of other children and their parents in jeopardy", said Dinowitz.

"Religious exemption": For many county residents, the words have become central to the debate over the resurgence of measles and the rise of the anti-vaccine movement.

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