A Brooklyn judge upheld the emergency response from the City Assistance Department where people in certain areas in or adjacent to Williamsburg had to receive measles vaccination or pay a fine.
Justice Lawrence Knipel dismissed the case in the Supreme Court of Kings County, brought by five mothers who said the city's actions were disproportionate to the threat of measles and did not take into account individual autonomy, informed consent and free practice of religion & # 39 ;.
The city's health service said it had confirmed 359 cases of measles until Thursday, with 294 of those diagnosing patients in Williamsburg. The disease has hit young children in the Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn particularly hard.
"The straightforward truth is that these diagnoses represent the most significant peak in measles cases in the United States for many years and that the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is at its epicenter," Knipel wrote in his decision.
The city's health service has clarified its order to note that it imposes civil penalties on offenders, but that it will not prosecute. Knipel wrote that because the city had admitted that the order does not require forced vaccination, he would not address it in his decision.
"A fireman does not have to get the informed consent of the owner before putting out a house fire. Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contamination," wrote Knipel.
Knipel did not accept any arguments from the prosecutors that the vaccine poses a greater risk than the measles itself.
"These statements are completely unsupported by studies, medical literature, laws and regulations," he wrote.
The ruling paves the way for the city to maintain its mission. The health ministry said Thursday that it has made three civilian calls to execute its order.
"This decision will protect New Yorkers against a very dangerous infection with potentially fatal consequences. We have not taken the emergency order lightly. It was a dramatic response to a serious problem," said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot in a statement Thursday night.
Those who receive a subpoena must report before a hearing, during which a hearing officer can pay the person $ 1,000. Failure to appear costs $ 2000.
In addition, four schools and playgroups will be closed due to non-compliance with the order. They are located at 68-84 Harrison Ave., 241 Keap St., 590 Bedford Ave. and 720 Wythe Ave.
The Department of Health said it allowed the United Talmudical Academy at 75 Ross St. to reopen after the city was closed on Tuesday because the students had not made the vaccination data available. The department continues to follow the school.
An Israeli stewardess, who according to health authorities receives the vaccination as a child, is in a coma with encephalitis after measles contraction, CNN reported Thursday. The 43-year-old woman works for El Al and it is unclear whether she has contracted the disease in New York or Israel, or flies between the two destinations.
"We do not want to commit violations, but will continue and hope that New Yorkers will make the best choice for their families, their neighbors and their own health – to get vaccinated," Barbot said.