Mayor Bill de Blasio Declares Measles Emergency in Brooklyn

NYC declared a state of emergency and is requiring vaccinations amid a measles outbreak in Brooklyn.

“This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately,” mayor Bill de Blasio stated on April 9.

de Blasio said the emergency covers four zip codes in Brooklyn, including Williamsburg and Borough Park where more than 285 cases of measles have been confirmed since October 2018. This is a major increase from the two confirmed cases in 2017.

The order requires all unvaccinated children and adults who live or work in the area to get vaccinated unless a medical exemption applies. People who don’t comply will face misdemeanor charges and could be fined $1,000.

“Unvaccinated students will not be allowed in school or daycares,” de Blasio stated. “And I want to be clear, it not our hope or our goal to issue a violation. We want to simply solve the problem.”

The new requirement comes after a months-long effort by public health officials to contain a severe outbreak which has been largely concentrated in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Rockland County and Brooklyn. Public health officials say both communities have lower vaccination rates and have been exposed to misinformation in a spread of anti-vaccination literature.

In March 2019, a state of emergency was declared in Rockland County, which banned unvaccinated minors from public spaces for 30 days.