Five New Your City mothers are suing over an order that requires people living in certain zip codes to be vaccinated for measles. The zip codes in question are locations that have experienced recent measles outbreaks.
The lawsuit filed by the women characterizes the order as arbitrary and unconstitutional. The lawsuit also says there is no evidence of an outbreak of measles that would justify this extreme measure.
The parents also say they are exempted from the vaccinations and accuse the city of New York of violating their First Amendment rights by threatening them with criminal penalties for exercising their right to religious beliefs.
Robert Krakow is the lawsuit’s lead attorney. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has been described as a vaccine critic in the past, is also an attorney on the case.
Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the order for the vaccinations on April 9 for areas in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The public health disaster was declared in response to an outbreak of measles among the Orthodox Jewish Community. Rabbis in the community say the vaccines are in accordance with Jewish law.
According to ABA Journal, the order issued by the city requires that all individuals living in designated zip codes be vaccinated for measles, rubella, and mumps if they cannot prove they are immune to catching measles.
There have been 285 documented cases of measles in New York City since the outbreak began in October. People who contract measles are at risk of developing encephalitis, pneumonia, and brain inflammation. Two adults and seven children have been hospitalized after contracting measles during the current outbreak.
Oxiris Barbot is the health commissioner for the city of New York. Barbot blames the current measles outbreak on a group of people using junk science to discourage others from being vaccinated.
The lawsuit questions how safe it is to take the vaccine and says defenders fo the vaccine refuse to disclose the measles cases that result from the vaccine. The fear of the vaccination spreading measles is a ‘poisonous myth’ according to Barbot.
A second lawsuit complains that Rockland County officials overstepped their authority by banning children who did not get vaccinated from schools and other public places. A county judge issued a temporary stay that prevents the order from being enforced for the time being.
Rockland County officials recently issued a second order that requires children who have contracted measles to remain in their homes. Students in two zip codes are also required to stay away from school if they have not been vaccinated.