New York City declared a public health emergency this Tuesday due to a measles outbreak that has hit the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. The recent outbreak is one of many measles outbreaks that have hit the city since the fall. According to the New York Times, there have been 285 confirmed cases of the highly infectious disease in the last several months, mostly affecting members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish communities.
In an effort to contain the outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a city mandate that will require unvaccinated individuals living within four specific zip codes of Williamsburg to receive the measles vaccine or face possible fines.
“This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately… The measles vaccine works. it is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested,” said de Blasio at a news conference in the neighborhood.
Residents living in the Williamsburg zip codes of 11205, 11206, 11211, and 11249 must be vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella or they face the possibility of fines that can reach up to $1000.
In the same news conference, New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, revealed that roughly 1,800 children living in Williamsburg have remained unvaccinated to date, and TIME reports that Barbot has promised that the city will ensure that unprotected individuals have access to the vaccine and will help with affordability.
To learn more about the dangers of measles and how it’s spread, as well as the safety of the MMR vaccine, read the full city mandate here.