April 19, 2019

NYC's New Policy on Measles Vaccine Prompts Renewed Focus in NJ

13 April 2019, 08:38 | Randall Craig

New York measles outbreak spreads to more counties

Measles outbreak 2019 NYC NYC

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City Health Commissioner, said that the objective of the order is to make MMR vaccine easily available to people, not fine or penalize anyone.

The county Department of Health is working with the families and healthcare providers to identify locations where the children may have exposed others. Anyone who is unable to locate their vaccination record should get the MMR vaccine, as it is not harmful to receive additional doses.

Last week saw a minor victory for vaccination advocates amid the United States' ongoing measles outbreak: A Kentucky judge ruled against a lawsuit filed by 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel against the Northern Kentucky Health Department, claiming the department had discriminated against Kunkel by asking schools to exclude students not vaccinated for chicken pox from school and extracurricular activities. Most of these cases were found in unvaccinated or partially unvaccinated people, a majority of whom are children.

(Donald G. McNeil Jr., April 2019) - "Faced with an expanding measles outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio of NY declared a public health emergency on Tuesday and ordered a program of mandatory vaccination in parts of Brooklyn". Six of the infected children are siblings.

But many parents have legitimate questions about the impact of these shots, dozens of which are required in the first year of life, explained Sarah Lane, a doctor of osteopathy and leader with the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice, which opposed the bill to end religious exemptions.

The measles outbreak has highlighted the issues of municipalities forcing citizens to get vaccinated. Almost 83 000 people contracted measles in Europe in 2018, the highest number in a decade.

"I don't expect that people are running out [to get vaccinated]". And, if that's not enough of a reason to be vaccinated, she said, the public cost of tracking cases and quarantining their contacts with exposure to the disease can be extraordinary.

Officials said their efforts have paid off with 8,000 additional vaccinations in affected neighborhoods compared with the prior year. Protection against an infectious disease will occur only if at least 93 percent of a child's community is vaccinated. Close monitoring, plus education and outreach to further boost vaccination rates, are what now make sense for the Garden State, he and others said Wednesday. Since Sept 30, the area has produced 285 measles cases, city officials said at a news conference on Tuesday, including 246 children.

Babies and people with immune-compromised conditions who cannot be immunized against measles, she said, can develop serious complications from contracting measles, including brain swelling, which can lead to brain damage and even death. To them, fear of the unknown outweighs fear of a disease that they have never seen in their lifetime. "The vaccine has been proven safe and effective in preventing the spread of measles for decades and we have evidence". It can live for up to two hours in airspace or on surfaces touched by an infected person. "I don't think they should be getting fined, I think another penalty should be given", said Charlette Hamlin, 36, who is in favor of vaccinations for all.

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