A group of parents opposed the New York City health department’s mandatory measles vaccination and took their concern to court.
The anti-vaxxers argued that the city’s response to the measles outbreak has been “irrational." They petitioned the court for a temporary restraining order against the mandatory vaccination.
A white syringe. | Photo: Pexels
They stated: “Most individuals who contracted measles have recovered and are no longer infectious. Only a small number of active measles cases now exist."
"To the extent that these cases pose any threat, the respondents can manage them through isolation and quarantine, which are far less restrictive interventions than forced vaccination to those who oppose vaccination.”
A girl receiving vaccine in the medical office. | Photo: Freepik
The petitioners – five mothers identified only by their initials in the complaint – oppose having their children administered with MMR vaccine for religious reasons. The vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.
“We try always to respect religious rights, religious customs, but when it comes to public health, when we see a problem emerge, we have to deal with it aggressively.”
The city government ordered the mandatory vaccination with close to 300 confirmed measles cases since September 2018. The vaccine is to be administered to every student entering or attending public, private or parochial school.
For many Orthodox Jews, however, vaccinations violate Jewish or Talmudic law. But New York Mayor Bill de Blasio maintained that public health trumps religious beliefs.
“We try always to respect religious rights, religious customs, but when it comes to public health, when we see a problem emerge, we have to deal with it aggressively,” he said. “We are absolutely certain this is an appropriate use of our emergency powers.”
Criminal fines or imprisonment face those who fail to comply with the mandatory vaccination. The city health department has issued citations to more than 20 yeshivas and day care centers for non-compliance. At least one-day care center has also been shut down.
Measles outbreak also occurred in other states, and experts have blamed anti-vaccination supporters. In Washington, it is up to parents to decide whether or not they will vaccinate their children. Authorities of the state have pushed forward legislation to remove this option, but parents are pushing back.