New York City’s Health Department is going all out to reign in what it is calling the worst outbreak of measles in the city in almost 30 years. They have already declared a public health emergency and are mandating that every single person living within certain zip codes where the outbreak is fierce must have be vaccinated unless they can prove they have exempt status.
Both adults and children in Williamsburg must be immunized against measles, or else they will be liable for a $1,000 fine. The mandate was implemented after the number of measles cases in that neighborhood more then doubled in only six weeks. Since those affected are mostly from the orthodox Jewish community there, the fear is the expected extended family gatherings during the upcoming Passover holiday could make matters even worse.
Officials are hopeful that compliance with the mandate will be voluntary, but they also say that if they find someone who refused to vaccinate during their investigations of cases that appear, they will levy the fine. Rabbi David Niederman, leader of the Williamsburg Jewish community said that he is sure families will comply with the law.
“I am convinced people will learn how the Department of Health is committed, and it will never get to fines because everybody is going to be vaccinated,” said Rabbi Niederman.