Dr. Oxiris Barbot, New York City Health Commissioner, said that the objective of the order is to make MMR vaccine easily available to people, not fine or penalize anyone. He also said schools in certain areas that permitted attendance by unvaccinated students could be fined or temporarily closed.
"This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately", de Blasio said at a press conference.
Mary Anderson, a spokeswoman for Montgomery County's Health and Human Services Department, noted that in the Washington region it is easy to find people who live in one state, travel to work in the other and then stop in Washington to eat or shop.
Sussman also represented a group of parents in suburban Rockland County who challenged the county executive's order barring unvaccinated children from indoor public spaces.
Last week, Ireland's Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) said in a statement regarding Dublin's recent measles outbreak: "Measles is a serious illness and is highly infectious". In Williamsburg, where there have been 285 cases since September, health authorities have ordered mandatory vaccines.
"We try always to respect religious rights, religious customs, but when it comes to public health, when we see a problem emerge, we have to deal with it aggressively", de Blasio said. A volunteer at the city's measles hotline said people who called in were being encouraged to get inoculations and report on whether they know people who recently had or now have the measles. He said that most things that happen in Jewish communities get blown out of proportion, "If it [the outbreak] was true, there would be signs outside every synagogue telling people not to go in, and there aren't". None of the measles cases in Brooklyn has been deadly, but the measles virus- usually recognized by a rash of red spots- can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death. The cause is not being helped by anti-vaxxers, with around 1,800 children believed to be unvaccinated.
Westchester borders Rockland County, where measles cases have been concentrated among members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
"I haven't had anyone come to me and point out why the Bible opposes vaccination, but there are some who simply don't want to receive it", Coffey said.