Update on New York Measles Outbreaks and Executive Orders
Early last month, in the week following a judge’s decision to overturn the Rockland County executive order barring unvaccinated children from public spaces, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio enacted a similar, more restrictive executive order affecting the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, mandating that “any person who lives, works, or resides” within four designated zip codes receive the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine or face criminal charges including $1,000 fines and imprisonment.
The order was challenged the following week by attorneys Robert Krakow, Patti Finn, and Children’s Health Defense founder Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. While the judge upheld the order, a resolution issued by the Board of Health removed the criminal penalty. *
Read more about the New York outbreaks and legislation here:
Glass, Germs, and Steel: Why Mayor De Blasio’s Draconian Public Health Policy Will Fail
In the weeks following the executive orders, new measles cases in Rockland County and Brooklyn have continued to climb, with 44 new cases reported in Rockland County and 138 new cases reported in Brooklyn since De Blasio’s order was implemented on April 9th. While 8-20% of Rockland cases have received at least one dose of MMR vaccine, as of late April, 11-22% of Brooklyn cases were partially or fully vaccinated.
Mayor De Blasio has since intensified his rhetoric in a recent press conference. Calling for investigation and criminal prosecution of New York residents who share information with their fellow citizens, he twice called for criminalization of speech he deemed “dangerous anti-vaxxer propaganda.”
Meanwhile, in late April Rockland County Executive Ed Day called upon President Trump to issue an executive order requiring “valid documentation or appropriate immunization records” for all travelers entering the U.S. for any reason, declaring that “there is no religious exemption which is founded or true within the Orthodox Jewish Community.”
* Edited 5/6/19 – This story has been corrected from the original 5/3/19 version to reflect the $1000 fine.
Sarah Dillingham is a freelance writer and mom to a rambunctious boy in the D.C. suburbs.
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