As part of their efforts to contain a measles outbreak, New York authorities closed more schools, imposed more fines and sought support on Monday in the legislature to eliminate religious exemptions for mandatory immunization.
Federal officials have so far reported 704 cases of measles in the United States since January 1, the highest since 1994 when 963 cases were detected throughout the year. Most cases were recorded in New York City and Rockland County, almost all of the members of the Orthodox Jewish communities.
The New York City health department said on Monday it had issued citations of 57 people who did not follow an emergency order issued earlier this month and required people in certain areas of Brooklyn to receive the measles vaccine. .
If such subpoenas are ratified at a hearing, each person who fails to attend the vaccination may receive a fine of $ 1,000.
Authorities announced the closure of two more schools because they did not exclude students who did not show they had been vaccinated, bringing the number of schools closed during the outbreak to seven.
And in the state capital, Ed Day, Rockland County chief of government, has joined lawmakers at an event in support of repealing a state law authorizing immunization waivers based on religious beliefs.
Day, a Republican who is the highest elected official in the county, called for passage of a bill that would immediately eliminate religiously-based immunization waiver.
"This law would be a blessing," Day said during a state capitol press conference. "Waiting is a recipe for medical disaster."
The New York Alliance for Immunization Rights, a Long Island group opposed to the bill, said the proposal would violate an ancient right to "religious practices and autonomy of the body."