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Biological warfare: Williamsburg residents sue city for right to not vaccinate

Five Williamsburg residents are suing NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, right, to block her emergency health declaration fining unvaccinated residents of the Orthodox Jewish enclave.
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Five Williamsburg residents are fighting for the right to not vaccinate themselves and their children amid a growing measles outbreak in Brooklyn, filing suit against the Department of Health in an effort to quash an emergency health declaration that slaps unvaccinated locals with stiff fines.

The plaintiffs, who filed a complaint in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Monday, argued that the roughly 300 known cases of the potentially fatal illness do not justify the city’s decision to override their religious objections to the MMR vaccine, according to their lawyer.

“We don’t think the so-called ‘outbreak’ has reached a level that requires the extreme response of forcing vaccinatio­ns,” said Robert Krakow, a Manhattan attorney specializing in vaccine injury lawsuits.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and city Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot announced on April 9 that unvaccinated residents of four Williamsburg zip codes — where some 250 of the total 285 measles cases had been identified — would be subject to fines of up to $1,000 in response to the outbreak, which has exclusively affected members of the borough’s Orthodox Jewish communities.

And while Krakow’s clients represent a mix of Jewish and Gentile Williamsburg residents, they all object to vaccination on religious grounds and claim the city’s latest move to stem the virus’ spread constitutes a gross overreaction, and that less drastic measures, such as quarantining infected individuals, should have been explored first.

“We don’t think the city should be in the business of forcing people to vaccinate,” said Krakow. “Quarantine can be imposed for the people with active infections.”

The measles virus can be contagious for weeks before symptoms show, and the attorney said he was not aware that several Williamsburg yeshiva’s had been cited by the city for admitting unvaccinated students amid an ongoing exclusion order, including one school where more than 20 students were infected, according to the Health Department.

The plaintiffs further allege that measles can be actually be contracted and spread by the inoculation, and that vaccinating “[enhances] the risk of harm to the public” through a process referred to as viral shedding.

“That’s something that happens, and we don’t know a lot about it,” Krakow said.

Viral shedding refers to the process by which viruses spread, but is a term used by members of the anti-vaccination movement to propagate the myth that vaccines cause outbreaks, according to a Science-Based Medicine report.

Measles is a highly infectious, air-born disease that reaped an annual national death toll of between 400 to 500 people before the MMR vaccine program kicked off in 1963, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Barbot did not exceed her authority by issuing the city declaration mandating vaccines, which came after attempts to educate the community and exclude unvaccinated kids from Kings County yeshiva’s failed to stop the spread of the disease, according to a spokesman for the city’s Law Department.

“The city’s order is within the Health Commissioner’s authority to address the very serious danger presented by this measles outbreak,” said Nick Paolucci. “The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of states and localities to mandate vaccines to stop outbreaks.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 1:02 pm, April 16, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
It's hard to see how quarantining people for their religious beliefs is better.
April 15, 2:29 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Mike from Williamsburg, when a person or a group of people perpetrate a decision that clearly impacts on the majority of people who do not believe in that decision, definitely circumvents race, religion or any other category you want to put these people in. No one is disputing their right to believe in any religion or practice they choose as long as following that choice does not endanger other people. So stop trying to put racism, prejudice or any other labeling to this action that very well may become an epidemic.
April 15, 3:43 pm
God says:
This is not what freedom of religion means. Wanna let your kids die a needless death? No problem, but keep them at home so they don't infect others. Religion is a waste of time.
April 15, 3:56 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Let the Hassid just get the measles. But once they got it, they can not use public facilities.
April 15, 8:14 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
The vaccines are not safe. And forced vaccination is unconstitutional. You idiots will fall for anything, and deserve your self imposed slavery.
April 16, 8:42 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
These anti vaxers are ignorant fools, endangering their own children and and the community as a whole,
April 16, 8:59 am
Joe from Greenpoint says:
I eight led paint chips all the time time wen eye waz kids time and I fine. Wht problemmmmmmms is?
April 16, 9:23 am
JJOE from PLG says:
I have read many many comments from the anti vaxxers in many places over the years and never once have I seen one that was well reasoned, based on science and not based in pure emotion, a very nasty, toxic display of emotion at that. On top of the selfishness of relying on herd immunity to protect your kid while insulting those who create the herd immunity by vaccinating (yeah reason that one out) it is incredibly narcissistic to assume your children will absolutely adore you as adults for making their career choices for them while they're babies and toddlers - they can't take healthcare jobs. They can't be an oncologist, not a responsible one who doesn't kill their immune suppressed patients that is. Can't work for the CDC. I've never seen that mentioned anywhere and I can't fathom that not even being considered by a parent.
April 16, 10:28 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
IF they refuse to comply then these people need to be quarantined.
April 16, 10:32 am
next logical step from Greenpoint says:
My God tells me that black people are inferior and should be treated as such. Should I be allowed to practice my religious beliefs? Religous freedom isn't an absolute blanket that permits you to do what ever you freakin' feel like. There are many religious beliefs (like the one above) that our government, with the blessing of the community, unilaterally rejects.
April 16, 11:57 am
Will from Queens says:
Vaccination is pseudoscience. Vaccines are not safe. How does not vaccinating endanger those who are vaccinated? If vaccines are so safe, why are those who are supposedly "immuno-compromised" or "too young to get vaccinated" exempted? Is it because vaccines are not as safe as we are led to believe?
April 16, 1:10 pm
Dr Feelgood from Medical school says:
“Vaccines are pseudoscience”. Thankfully we have Dr Will from YouTube University to inform us that the entire medical community are really the uninformed idiots. Perhaps Will can run for President next.
April 16, 1:51 pm
bob k from closeby says:
if it was just them and their kids at risk from not vaccinating (which it's not, unfortunately), I'd say fine, lets sit back and watch survival of the fittest play out.
April 16, 1:54 pm
Everyone says:
Will from Queens is too stupid to be in society with others for risk of infecting said others with the stupidity virus. He should be quarantined at once.
April 16, 2:08 pm
next logical step from Greenpoint says:
Will's argument is credible only if you live in a world where there is zero understanding of science and how vaccines work. It is a sad note on how the educational system has failed Will. Don't harass him because he doesn't understand science. Instead, use his ignorance as an argument for increased funding in education. Would you mock a toddler for being ignorant about the scientific process? No, so why mock Will, who has the same level of understanding. ...got your back Will!
April 16, 3:33 pm
Everyone says:
Nah. Too many stupid people as it is, trump supporters for example. We need to shoot Will and idiots like him into the sun with a giant cannon. Problem solved.
April 16, 4:44 pm
Papers please says:
Do you have to carry proof of immune on paper? Sounds like a certain country in mid 20th century Europe.
April 16, 8:42 pm
Respond next logical says:
Throwing more money wont help education. It will just get stolen. Until we have real discipline and teach real education only then will we get better students.
April 16, 8:45 pm
Archie Bunker from Flushing Meadows says:
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says: IF they refuse to comply then these people need to be quarantined Archie agrees!
April 17, 8:20 am
Jim from Baltimore says:
God isn’t real, why are they wasting their lives playing dress up.
April 17, 7:29 pm
Tom from Brooklyn says:
I find it comical that just because the author wrote something, people believe that it's true. Do some research before believing everything you read on the internet. This is propaganda and not based on facts. The people in question here are not refraining from vaccinating due to religious beliefs. An overwhelming, vast majority of orthodox Jews do vaccinate, their schools, camps and day care organizations require proof of vaccination and won't allow children to attend without it, and all of the major orthodox Jewish organizations and associations have spoken out against the anti-vax movement (try just a little fact-finding on your own!). The people who are not vaccinating are a tiny minority, just as in the non-jewish world there is an anti-vax movement. People should just stop going with the herd and start using their brains a little and you can see the actual truth, instead of speaking and acting like mindless drones.
April 18, 8:22 am
Rob from Bk says:
Growing up in Bk I would see hasidic kids with outbreaks. There is one little kid right now which I dont know if he has herpes or what but from time to time his face,mouth, neck and ears gets covered in outbreaks and they allow him o walk around like nothing.
April 19, 7:06 pm
Religion is no shield from Brooklyn says:
Rules apply to everyone and religion shouldn't be used as a shield to block compliance of anything. If that were the case, anyone could just willy-nilly make a religion (as all religions originated) and become exempt from anything. Simple, if you don't like the rules for all, you all should leave. While I don't feel government should be making the rules, but rather enforcing rules made by people, the rules that are made for all are for all to comply with. Religion is a false exception to any rule.
Yesterday, 11:04 am

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