Unvaccinated People Banned From Public Places in a New York County

Unvaccinated People Banned From Public Places in a New York County March 26, 2019

Rockland County, New York declared a state of emergency today to stop the spread of measles. For six months, the county has been unable to contain the outbreak due to the resistance of citizens and low vaccination rates. Rockland County Executive Edward Day delivered the message that all unvaccinated children will be barred from public places.

In a press conference this morning, Day outlined the details of the outbreak. Since October 2018, Rockland County has confirmed 153 cases of the measles. The outbreak started after seven unvaccinated travelers entered the county and exposed the general public to the measles.

For 26 weeks, the Rockland Department of Health has worked to stop the outbreak by hosting free vaccination clinics and documenting all confirmed cases. Unfortunately, resistance from many infected families to staying out of the general public has prevented the outbreak from stopping.

Additionally, Day said that the current vaccination rate of children is only 72.9%. The vaccination rate includes nearly 17,000 vaccinations given out at clinics since the outbreak began. Sadly, 83% of all the cases of measles have been in children under 18.

Day said that many infected individuals have been completely uncooperative with county officials. Unable to collect data, provide vaccinations, and prevent the spread of the virus, the county decided to issue the state of emergency.

As a part of the declaration, the county will bar any unvaccinated people from public places. until they receive one round of the MMR vaccine. The county will hold free vaccination clinics in multiple locations over the course of several weeks.

Individuals will not be allowed to claim religious exemptions if they want to go into the public. According to Day, the county will only allow exemptions for individuals with verified medical conditions that require a medical exemption.

The county is working with local rabbis to spread the word about the vaccination clinics and to help with education on the vaccines.

According to Day, the current outbreak is the longest in the country since the measles eradication in the year 2000. The outbreak remained mostly within the Orthodox Jewish communities, but people outside of these communities have become exposed.

Day impressed on everyone that babies, immunocompromised, and pregnant women are most at risk for developing severe complications. With many of these people unable to be vaccinated, the broader population needs to get up to date on their shots.

Serious complications of the measles may include pneumonia, swelling of the brain, blindness, and death. Individuals that contract the virus also develop a weakened immune system for three years following their illness.

Watch the full press conference via PIX News New York:

*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.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • WallofSleep

    This sounds like it’s gong to be a massive headache to enforce.

  • thatotherjean

    I’m not sure how you can enforce a ban on unvaccinated people in public places, but good for Rockland County. Can you demand that parents show vaccination records for children who are with them? What can you do with people who refuse to comply? I hope the threat works, but I have my doubts. Refusing to let children back into schools without vaccination records might be more effective, in the long run.

  • GOOD. This should be standard during any outbreak.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Excellent. Now make it permanent.

  • Public places are schools – so schools are included

  • Brian Curtis

    The only question is why this wasn’t the standard policy all along.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Although I agree that something should be done, I cant see how this ban is legal even if it was enforceable. HIPA say that our medical records are PRIVATE. So any law like this is fucking stupid. Sure, require vaccination records for school enrolment is one thing, but saying people need to carry their medical records and provide them in ANY public place at ANY time is a bit extreme.

    If this shit is not stopped then I can foresee the right wing bible humpers demanding that everybody show their AIDS test cards just in case some gayness might be riding the subway. Or all blacks should have to show they are herpies free before they can enter a grocery store.

    OTOH, like i said next page.. Where the fuck in the bible does god say anything about vaccines? Religious freedom my ass, this is a public health issue, has NOTHING to do with who/what/where/when you pray to/with.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    TBO, even though I agree with the idea… If I lived there I would be filling a lawsuit just on basic principles. Right to privacy, HIPPA, etc etc. But NOT on ‘religious freedumb’.

  • LimeGecko

    It’s just quarantine tactics, which are the historic standard for dealing with outbreaks. We’ve just forgotten about them because vaccines render them unnecessary.

  • TinnyWhistler

    No. People who cannot get vaccines due to allergy or immunity issues deserve to exist in public. This is a temporary measure due to an emergency situation that hopefully will be resolved in time. After the situation is resolved, we absolutely should NOT ban people from the public based on their non contagious medical conditions. Wtf?

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Boy, talk about not getting the point.
    People who CAN’T be vaccinated also CAN’T be banned from public places permanently. They would take the order to court and they would win. This is freaking obvious.
    Equally obviously, however, is that what can’t be done to that minority CAN be done to those who CAN be vaccinated, but for invariably stupid and insane reasons, don’t.
    Happy now?

  • Kevin R. Cross

    Okay, that was maybe a little more snarky than I really should have been. But I honestly thought it was obvious.

  • Pull your head out and think, because that is NOT what Kevin said at all.

  • TinnyWhistler

    Do you not see the issue with de facto requiring people to GO TO COURT to defend their right to exist in public?

  • Do you not see the issue with letting unvaccinated morons run around in public spreading a preventable disease?

    Public safety is more important than personal choice.

  • TinnyWhistler

    I see the problem with making this a *permanent* solution rather than a temporary one. The policy shouldn’t be “discrimination as default, go to court to fight it if you have the time, money, and energy”

  • Kevin R. Cross

    In all honesty, no.
    Unvaccinated people are a real and immediate threat to every human being they come into contact with. That includes those who cannot be vaccinated, but we have to tolerate that threat if we want to be a civilized society. Requiring proof that someone has a medical condition that warrants an exemption is probably the least we can do and still be responsible to the populace around us.

  • Public safety > personal “choice”, especially when that choice puts other people in harm’s way without their knowledge or consent.