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Without measles vaccination records, city closes 4 Brooklyn schools & fines parents

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, right, announced mandatory vaccinations for residents of Williamsburg on April 9.  Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

The actions following the mayor’s health emergency declaration on April 9.

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, right, announced mandatory vaccinations for residents of Williamsburg on April 9. 
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, right, announced mandatory vaccinations for residents of Williamsburg on April 9.  Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe

The city’s Health Department announced Thursday that it had fined three parents for failing to vaccinate their children against measles and closed down four schools in Brooklyn for not providing vaccination records for their students. 

Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said department investigators found that the three children — who were exposed to measles — were not vaccinated as of April 12, a day after the city’s deadline for residents in parts of Williamsburg to get the vaccine.

Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a health emergency last week mandating that residents who live in the epicenter of the current outbreak get vaccinated and that schools there share vaccination records. 

The children’s parents will have to appear before a judge to respond to their summonses, which could result in $1,000 fines if they are upheld, according to the commissioner.

“Because of measles’ long incubation period, we know this outbreak will get worse before it gets better. However, we can turn the tide by people getting vaccinated, especially before Passover when families and communities will gather,” Barbot said in a statement.

The four closed schools were located at 68-84 Harrison Ave.; 241 Keap St.; 590 Bedford Ave. and 720 Wythe Ave. The city has not yet reopened United Talmudical Academy on Ross Street a week after it was shut down for also failing to provide vaccination records. Health officials said they will be supervising the school in the coming weeks.

As of Thursday, the city had 359 confirmed cases of measles, mostly in children, since the outbreak began last October. There were only two cases of measles in New York City in all of 2017.

The outbreaks have been concentrated in predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and have been spread by unvaccinated New Yorkers.

The virus can cause pneumonia, swelling of the brain and death. 

Barbot said that officials have embarked on a massive outreach to the Orthodox community to help spread the word about the vaccine’s effectiveness.

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