Yesterday Rockland County, New York announced that all unvaccinated people would be banned from public places for the next thirty days. Anti-vaxxers around the country are panicking and spreading misinformation about the state of emergency around social media. Many are crying religious persecution and comparing the ban to the Holocaust.
During a press conference yesterday, Rockland County Executive announced a state of emergency for the next thirty days. As a result of the declaration, unvaccinated children are not allowed in public places. The county says that public places include any civic and social place where people congregate.
Since October 2018, Rockland County has been battling a large measles outbreak. There have been a total of 153 cases, and the majority of the cases are in minor children. Despite their efforts to vaccinate the community, the county’s vaccination rate remains at only 72.9%.
For the next several weeks, the county will host several free vaccination clinics for community members. Parents of unvaccinated children are urged to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. Because the outbreak is primarily impacting the Orthodox Jewish community, the county is working with Rabbis to spread the news and educate their community.
Naturally, the news of the state of emergency is not going over well within the anti-vax groups and pages on Facebook. Hundreds of people have expressed outrage that the state would ban children from public places. An organization, Age of Autism, says the public banning is religious discrimination. Other organizations are planning public protests in Rockland County.
The response from people both inside and outside of the community is also creating a lot of chatter in the Facebook group “Stop Mandatory Vaccination.” A quick search of Rockland County brought up dozens of posts about the ban along with a lot of misleading and false information. Here are some of the most bizarre ones we found.
One person suggested that children were under house arrest.
Another person believes that the county will begin knocking on doors and demanding vaccine paperwork.
This person believes that the public ban of unvaccinated children is equivalent to Nazi Germany. Apparently, this ban is the same as the Holocaust.
A woman shared that the county is knocking on doors. For the record, the county is not going door to door.
This man provided the group Ed Day’s contact information at Rockland County. He wants people to harass and contact him with their complaints.
A New York resident is considering moving to Connecticut.
Finally, this man did some poor math and shared his vaccination rates of Rockland County. However, his data is not correct. The current vaccination rate in Rockland County is 72.9%.
The final shot comes courtesy of a follower. The woman calls this ban the “second Holocaust.”
For the next thirty days, parents of unvaccinated children have to make a choice. They either need to vaccinate their children or they have to stay out of the public. With the measles continuing to spread in the county, the best option is to have their children immunized.
The state of emergency has nothing to do with religious discrimination. While most of the cases of the measles are within the Orthodox Jewish community, the measles has spread beyond their community. Additionally, the outbreak in Rockland County has spread Michigan. Oakland County, Michigan announced today that there are 21 confirmed cases of measles. The outbreak started after a traveler visited New York and brought the virus to Michigan.
While some anti-vaxxers cry religious persecution, a public ban of unvaccinated children is not comparable to the Holocaust. Germans murdered millions of Jewish people in gas chambers during the Holocaust. A county asking children to stay home is no where near the same thing. Additionally, no one is persecuting them becasue of their faith. The ban is in place for all children whether they are of faith or not.
In order to stop further spread of measles to other states, the New York outbreak needs to become contained. Hopefully, the public ban will help the government end the epidemic and enable more children to become vaccinated.
For my reaction to the State of Emergency, watch my live stream
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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