New York County takes 'extremely unusual' measure of banning unvaccinated kids from public places
The anti-vaxxer movement has gained momentum over recent years, but, as some parents choose not to get their children vaccinated, it's the community as a whole that faces the consequences. With various outbreaks of measles in the US over the last few months, the debate has reached its peak, and some areas are looking to combat this problem in any way they can.
One suburb in New York has tried to fight it by implementing a new ban, hoping that by isolating the children who aren't vaccinated they can limit the spread of illness. The state has been struggling with an outbreak of measles recently, and as Reuters reported, Rockland County declared a state of emergency on Tuesday.
This county alone has faced 153 cases of measles, so is looking for a new solution to the problem. For the next 30 days, they are implementing a ban on allowing unvaccinated children to visit public spaces such as places of worship, shopping centres, and schools.
During this time, they will have to receive the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine in order to re-enter these places as usual. "We will not sit idly by while children in our community are at risk," County Executive Ed Day said in a statement. "This is a public health crisis, and it is time to sound the alarm."
In his full statement, he also went on to speak about the response they had received from those in the community who had not vaccinated their children, citing investigators being dismissed and ignored when trying to protect the health of the area:
"Our inspectors have begun to meet resistance from those they are trying to protect. They have been hung up on or told not to call again. They've been told, 'We're not discussing this, do not come back' when visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations.
"This type of response is unacceptable and irresponsible. It endangers the health and wellbeing of others and displays a shocking lack of responsibility and concern for others in our community.
"This is an opportunity for everyone in their community to do the right thing," he added. "We must do everything in our power to end this outbreak and protect the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and for the children too young to be vaccinated."
Rockland County, which is located around 11 miles north of Manhattan, has kept its playgrounds open to children who haven't been vaccinated. According to New York City's health department, they have seen 181 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens boroughs since October.
The disease has been found to have spread mostly from school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinations. Oft-cited reasons for this decision are religious beliefs, or concerns that the MMR vaccine could cause autism. A plethora of scientific studies have found no link between autism and vaccinations.