Parents facing fines of up to $3000 for not vaccinating their children

Henrietta Strickland
April 19, 2019

A Brooklyn judge on Thursday upheld a mandatory measles vaccinations order. There is no religious reason for not getting vaccinated and leading rabbis in NY have called on their faithful to vaccinate their children.

"We, the undersigned doctors, who faithfully serve the Orthodox Jewish communities of North America, urge all members of our community to receive all the recommended vaccines", the letter reads.The letter is signed by state doctors from New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Toronto and Montreal. "Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion", Judge Lawrence Knipel wrote in his decision, calling the mandatory vaccination order "a rare but necessary step" and dismissing the parents' arguments that it violates their religious freedom, medical ethics, and "internationally accepted human rights principles such as the Nuremberg Code".

"The unvarnished truth is that these diagnoses represent the most significant spike in incidences of measles in the United States in many years, and that the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is at its epicenter", Knipel wrote, adding the outbreak is "sufficient to warrant the declaration of a public health emergency".

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Robert Krakow, said he will be "evaluating" their next move. The cases will go to a hearing, where parents will pay a $1,000 penalty if the violations are upheld, according to the city.

Failing to appear at the hearing or respond to the summons will result in a $2,000 ($2800 AUD) fine.

The city said its health authority is working with community leaders to ensure schools comply with emergency mandates.

Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said, "This decision will protect New Yorkers from a very unsafe infection with potentially fatal consequences".

On Monday, the city closed the pre-school portion of a private Jewish school because the school had failed to turn over vaccination and attendance records.

"The objective of this emergency order isn't to fine people", Barbot said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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