BROOKLYN, N.Y. - New York officials declared a public health emergency Tuesday in a Brooklyn neighborhood where a measles outbreak has infected more than 250 people and is still growing.
The outbreak is centered in Williamsburg, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where city officials also ordered mandatory measles vaccinations for anyone over 6 months old who is not vaccinated, according to WPIX-TV.
New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said those who ignore the order will face a steep fine.
“People in violation of our order to get vaccinated against measles will get a violation and could be fined $1,000 per instance,” Barbot said.
She also blamed the crisis on a small group of people in Williamsburg who are opposed to vaccinations.
“’They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science,” she said, according to the news station.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesman, Eric Phillips, said measles vaccinations for those who may have been exposed are mandatory.
“And we’ll shut down schools violating the ban on unvaccinated students,” Phillips said.
The Mayor has declared the Williamsburg measles outbreak a public health emergency. We’re mandating vaccinations for those who may have been exposed. And we’ll shut down schools violating the ban on unvaccinated students. pic.twitter.com/f88zQ9WcVK— Eric Phillips (@EricFPhillips) April 9, 2019
City officials cannot force anyone to get vaccinated, WPIX reported, but they can fine people who refuse a vaccine order.
“If people will simply cooperate quickly, nobody will have to pay a fine,” de Blasio said.
New York is battling the worst measles outbreak since 1991 with some 285 confirmed cases.
Join me for an update on how we're confronting the measles outbreak in Williamsburg. https://t.co/otgNpRYtlp— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 9, 2019