Two days after health officials in a suburb of New York declared a state of emergency,while measles erupted, parents have mixed reactions.
Some, like Rockland County-based Lainie Goldstein, reluctantly took their children to the doctor for vaccination. Goldstein received a phone call from her son's principal that he could not go to school if he did not receive the MMR vaccine. She told the Journal News that she had previously decided not to vaccinate her son because it was her right "not to hurt her child."
"I feel like I'm being bullied for vaccinations," she told the newspaper. Goldstein was one of ten parents at a local pediatrician's office to get vaccinated at noon.
The Associated Press reported that about 30 people received measles vaccines in a free district hospital on Wednesday.
The ban began on Wednesday Wednesday and is in force for 30 days, finding support from the residents.
"I think something needs to be done that must be very drastic, that people have to stick to it, and we need to stop it," Rockland resident Renee Kahan, who came to the clinic for a refresher, said Associated Press. "This outbreak is serious."
But a handful of other parents protested Thursday morning at the Palisades Center shopping mall in West Nyack to protest the actions of the county. A small gathering of about ten people met in response to a Facebook event called "Rockland County ̵
"It's about healthy people who are quarantined and excluded from public places," said Rita Palma of Long Island, one of the women gathering at the mall this morning, the newspaper said. "People have the right to choose their own children and make their own decisions."
Measles outbreak in Rockland County
According to recent figures, there were 155 confirmed cases of measles in Rockland County, which are located about 40 miles north of New York City. The majority of cases concerned children, most of whom were not vaccinated.
The outbreak began in the autumn, when an international traveler with a suspected measles in the district arrived. This was followed by six more cases of measles from international travelers exposing more people to the virus.
The outbreak focused on an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in which many residents had not been vaccinated. At a press conference on Tuesday, County Executive Ed Day pointed out that many Orthodox rabbis worked with health officials to promote vaccination in their community.
The cases are currently in East Ramapo, though the authorities have warned that exposure could take place anywhere in the country district. The health department is working to limit exposure and offers a free vaccine to increase county vaccination coverage.
What is the ban – and what it is not
The state of emergency in Rockland County states that anyone under the age of 18 has done so. It will not be vaccinated for 30 days or until the person is vaccinated in public Places prohibited.
The public places affected by the order include shopping malls, shops, restaurants, schools and places of worship. People who have a medical reason why they should not get vaccinated are exempt from the ban.
Officials believe this is the first attempt of its kind in the US. "The circumstances we face here clearly require this," said Day.
"While he pointed out that law enforcement will not stop people and ask everyone about their vaccination records, he warned that parents of unvaccinated children" will be held accountable "if they turn out to be hurtful, Day said could be faced with a class B offense, which could potentially result in a fine of 500 USD or six months in jail.
Importance of Vaccination
Measles was declared eliminated in 2000 in the United States, but comes still on foreign travelers.
The virus is extremely contagious and can be spread up to two hours after leaving an infected person, and about 90 percent of people who are not immune become ill when exposed to the virus
One dose of the MMR vaccine – which protects against measles, mumps and rubella – is 93 percent effective, and two doses are approx hr 97 percent effective. The herd's immunity helps when at least 90 to 95 percent of the population are vaccinated to protect infants and those with compromised immune systems who can not receive the vaccine.
Severe complications of measles include pneumonia or encephalitis (brain swelling). cause blindness or deafness and in some cases lead to death. Day says he hopes the emergency declaration will encourage anyone to get vaccinated.
"This is an opportunity for everyone in the community to do the right thing for them neighbors and come together," he said. "We must do everything in our power to end this outbreak and protect the health of those who can not be vaccinated for medical reasons, and those of children too young to be vaccinated."