New York City declared its recent spread of measles as a public health emergency and is enforcing a mandatory measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination for people who live in the areas where the disease is spreading, CNBC reports. This affects residents from Williamsburg in Brooklyn, who have 48 hours to get the vaccine or risk paying a $1,000 fine, according to the order.
Williamsburg is home to a large Orthodox Jewish community, where some are less likely to get vaccinated. Earlier this week, NYC threatened to close Jewish schools who allow unvaccinated children to attend.
“Measles is a dangerous, potentially deadly disease that can easily be prevented with vaccine,” Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio said in a statement. “When people choose not to get their children vaccinated, they are putting their children and others—such as pregnant women, people on chemotherapy, and the elderly—at risk of contracting measles.”
Back in January, the World Health Organization named the anti-vaccine movement a global health threat, saying it “threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases.” Vaccinating yourself and your kids is one of the most cost-effective ways to avoid disease, and currently prevents 2 to 3 million deaths a year. An additional 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved, the agency says.