While parents in certain parts of New York prefer to immunize their children to measles by exposing them to it, New York officials have highlighted the fatal side of it, and have put a rigid restriction against it.
Measles which was considered exterminated in the US around two decades ago have been plaguing North America in the recent years; all thanks to the population creating “herd immunity,” due to rumors and myths against vaccines. And, as of April 10, 2019, 300 cases of measles, mostly in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn have been confirmed in the Williamsburg neighborhood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 465 cases of measles all across the country, have already been reported since the start of 2019, with 78 new cases in the last few days.
The latest outbreak in New York City, which has mainly occurred in children and young adults under the age group of 18, has already led to 21 hospitalizations and has landed five people in the ICU fighting for their lives.
The easiest solution to this epidemic is two, simple shots, but sadly enough in spite of umpteen effort from the state, the parents choose to remain blind. They prefer exposing their children through “measles parties” where they gather with their unvaccinated kids to intentionally expose them to the virus.
Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio pleaded to the public and urged them to refrain from such practice. She said, “As a doctor, a public health practitioner, and a mom I must warn you that exposing your unvaccinated child to measles is very dangerous and it could even be deadly,”
She stressed the consequences of measles which can be severe and cause pneumonia (infection of the lungs), permanent hearing loss, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and even death.
Considering the severity of the scenario the mayor of New York City declared a public health emergency. Mayor Bill de Blasio shared the announcement on Instagram:
“We are declaring a public health emergency in Williamsburg due to the 300 cases of measles reported in our city — primarily concentrated in Brooklyn.There’s no room for misinformation when it comes to protecting our children. Vaccines are safe and effective. They work,”
The declaration will require unvaccinated individuals living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to get vaccinated against the disease or face fines of $1,000 or other violations.
The officials have earlier tried other methods to encourage vaccination. A ban was put on unvaccinated students from attending school in specific zip codes of Brooklyn, but that too had not sufficed the purpose. Therefore, the fine had to be introduced.
Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city's health commissioner, has proclaimed at the news conference that the reason behind the fine is not to burden the people but to ensure vaccination. He also added that if someone still denies being vaccinated, then the situation will be dealt on a "case-by-case basis, and we'll have to confer with our legal counsel."
Measles is a highly contagious disease, and its chances of infecting unvaccinated people are as high as 90%. It is a common cause of death among children all over and the world and WHO has been fighting hard to eradicate it.
Hopefully, with all the measures and efforts from the state, more and more people will be aware of the perils of measles and will be motivated to be vaccinated.