Some parents who had been reluctant to have their children vaccinated reluctantly led them to a measles shoot on Wednesday when an emergency came into force in a county in New York's northern suburbs.
Rockland County adopted the Emergency Order Tuesday night to fight a measles outbreak that has infected more than 150 people since last fall. The order prohibits unvaccinated children under 18 from public places such as schools, shops and churches.
Loreen Costa told the Rockland Journal News she brought her son to her pediatrician for a vaccination Wednesday after receiving a robokal from her school explaining the ban. The school district contacted parents of unvaccinated children and told them not to attend classes on Wednesday.
Lainie Goldstein from Grandview said her son's middle school president called her and said that the boy cannot go to school before he is vaccinated. She said she had chosen not to vaccinate him because she would not hurt him, but she brought him to a pediatrician on Wednesday for injection.
"I want to be bullied right now to get vaccinations, "she told Journal News.
There has been a growing trend of parents refusing to vaccinate their children, due to various discredited claims that life-saving practices are dangerous.
About 30 people received measles vaccinations at a free county clinic on Wednesday.
"I think something needs to be done that has to be very drastic that people must adhere to it and we must stop it," said Rockland resident Renee Kahan, who stopped at the clinic for a boost shot. "This outbreak is serious."
The contingency scheme, which lasts for 30 days, was adopted because people did not cooperate with health officials working to stop the outbreak, said lawyer Thomas Humbach in Rockland County.
Humbach said the police will not stop people and ask for vaccination records. But if officials become aware that an unvaccinated person has been in a public place, law enforcement will be involved, he said. Violators may be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison.
Gary Siepser, chief executive of the Jewish Federation and the Foundation of Rockland County, said the spread of the disease was related to the anti-vaccine movement across the country. 19659003] "It has found its way through social media and confused parents and confused people about the importance of vaccination," Siepser said. "And it just happens that there is a group in Rockland County who bought into it."
The county experiences the New York state's longest measles outbreak when the disease was officially eliminated from the United States in 2000. Health officials say the best way to stop the spread of the disease is a 92 to 95 percent community vaccination rate. Day said only 72.9% of people under the age of 18 have been vaccinated against measles in Rockland County, which has over 300,000 inhabitants.
The disease started in the area when seven unvaccinated travelers diagnosed with measles into the county last October and have spread to 153 cases to date, Day said. At the beginning of the outbreak, people co-operated with health officials and had children vaccinated, he said, but it has changed.
The disease control and prevention centers list six measles outbreaks, defined as three or more cases around the country in 2019, including Rockland County. The CDC said the outbreaks are linked to travelers who returned the disease from other countries such as Israel and Ukraine, where large measles outbreaks occur.
There have been 181 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since October, most of which involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community, according to the CDC.
The CDC says 15 states have had at least one case of measles confirmed in 2019, for a total of 314 cases to date. In 2014, 667 cases were confirmed nationwide and there were 372 cases in 2018.
Israel has seen a renewed outbreak of measles since March last year with at least 2,885 cases reported. Infections have mostly centered on the country's ultra-orthodox community, where the inoculation rate has generally been low.
For adults, the highly contagious disease is usually quite benign. However, in infants and toddlers, it can be fatal and can have several serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis. In rare cases, a fatal inflammation of the brain may occur years after recovery from the disease.