County bans unvaccinated minors in public as measles spreads

Kenny Tucker
March 27, 2019

All persons under 18 years old who haven't been vaccinated against measles will be banned from public spaces in Rockland County, officials said.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said at a news conference that the state of emergency taking effect Tuesday night is meant to persuade parents to have their children vaccinated to reverse the trajectory of the disease's spread. "That is ridiculous", Day said.

"Parents will be held accountable if they're found to be in violation of the state of emergency and the focus of this effort is on the parents of these children", Day said.

The measles vaccination is 97 percent effective, according to health officials.

According to county data, the vast majority of people recently treated for the measles had not received the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

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The Department of Health will be holding free vaccination clinics on Wednesday.

"Our health inspectors have been hung up on and told not to call again". "This type of response is unacceptable and frankly irresponsible".

Rockland county had previously banned unvaccinated children from attending certain schools, but the new measure is the most aggressive move yet. On the same day, pediatric organizations expressed support for state legislation that would allow minors to get vaccinated without parental consent. Day echoed that message, noting celebrities who have spoken out against vaccines.

The announcement comes almost six months after the first measles case was reported in the county.

The county is now experiencing its longest outbreak since 2000, with most of the cases involving members of the Orthodox Jewish community. So far in 2019, 314 cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states. In 2014, 667 cases were confirmed nationwide and there were 372 cases in 2018.

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