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Measles vaccinations mandatory for some NYC residents amid outbreak

Town Center Pharmacist Angelina Cox prepares a dose of shingles vaccine to administer to a TRICARE beneficiary at the Town Center Pharmacy. (Maria Yager/U.S. Army)

The city has ordered mandatory vaccinations for residents of Williamsburg amid an outbreak that has largely affected the Orthodox Jewish community.

Any unvaccinated resident of certain zip codes in the Brooklyn neighborhood who may have been exposed to measles will be required to receive the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine within 48 hours — or incur a fine.

“Measles is a dangerous, potentially deadly disease that can easily be prevented with vaccine,” Dr. Herminia Palacio, the deputy mayor for health and human services, said in a statement.

Staff from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will check the vaccination records of any individual who may have been in contact with infected patients in Williamsburg. Those without evidence of immunity could be fined up to $1,000, the city said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency on Tuesday morning amid 285 confirmed cases of measles in the city, which traces the outbreak back to October.

“There is no question that vaccines are safe, effective and life-saving,” de Blasio said.

The city’s order, signed by Commissioner of Health Oxiris Barbot, covers anyone who “lives, works or resides” in the following zip codes: 11205, 11206, 11221 and 11237.

On Monday, the city Health Department threatened to shut down yeshivas in Williamsburg that do not keep unvaccinated students out of schools.


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