NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) – Unimmunized people under the New York Public Health Order have 48 hours to do so before legal action can be taken.
"They will be fined $ 1,000 per instance," said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city's health commissioner, at the morning program of FOX 5 NY & # 39; Good Day New York. "For example, if a parent has three children and one of them catches measles, exposing the other two, the fine would be $ 3,000."
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency as a result of the growing number of measles cases in the Jewish Orthodox community of Williamsburg. Health officials have ordered nearly everyone in Williamsburg to be vaccinated against measles or to pay a fine.
More than 280 people in Brooklyn and Queens have caught measles since September.
The emergency declaration requires vaccinations for people exposed to the virus and applies to residents of four postcodes in Williamsburg. Children older than 6 months in the area should also be vaccinated.
"The Public Health Order requires that anyone living under postal codes 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 be vaccinated within the next 48 hours," said Dr. Barbot.
The health commissioner warned of the dangers of the "measles parties".
"What the community tells us is that people organize these gatherings and allow their children to be exposed to measles," she said.
Parents would have allowed their children to be infected with measles in order to naturally immunize them and avoid vaccination.
Anyone who needs a vaccine can visit the city's website for NYC.gov/health or by calling 311.
"If anyone thinks of a court challenge, we are absolutely convinced that we will win this case," Blasio said.
"It's about a neighborhood and people looking for people who have been exposed," Blasio said. "You have to literally find every person that this person came into contact with."
Earlier this week, the city ordered religious schools and daycare programs serving the Jewish Orthodox community of Williamsburg to: exclude unvaccinated students or risk of being closed.
A virus causes measles, which is very contagious and spreads by coughing and sneezing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, white spots inside the mouth and small red spots on the body. The red spots appear on your head and spread to the rest of your body.
The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC recommends that children receive two doses of MMR vaccine. The first dose is given when the child is between 12 and 15 months old. The second dose is given when the child is between 4 and 6 years old.
"The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective," said the CDC. "Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective in the prevention of measles, a dose is effective at about 93%."
The US measles vaccination program began in 1963. Previously, between 3 and 4 million people contracted measles each year, according to the CDC. Less than 20% of these cases have even been reported to the CDC, estimated the agency. In the reported cases, approximately 400-500 people died each year. About a thousand developed encephalitis, which is a swelling of the brain.
Since 1963, "the widespread use of measles vaccine has resulted in a reduction of more than 99% in measles cases compared to the pre-vaccine era," said the CDC. "However, measles is still prevalent in other countries, unimmunized people continue to contract measles abroad and pass it on to the United States and spread it to others."