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‘Boiled Frog’ Game Continues as New Yorkers Face Jail Time for Skipping Measles Vaccine

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

jail time for skipping measles vaccine

Story at-a-glance -

  • April 8, 2019, New York City health officials ordered Orthodox Jewish schools and day care programs in Williamsburg, New York, to bar unvaccinated students from attending classes for the remainder of the measles outbreak, or face closure
  • April 9, health officials ordered residents in four Williamsburg, New York, zip codes — 11205, 11206, 11211, 11249 — to get vaccinated for measles within 48 hours or face a $1,000 fine or six months in jail. The order applies to any individual who lives, works or goes to school in these zip codes
  • Williamsburg is a predominantly orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, where many families object to vaccination on the grounds of their religious beliefs. A civil rights lawsuit against the city has been filed by some affected Williamsburg residents
  • Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, called the measure “extreme,” saying it “raises civil liberties concerns about forced medical treatment”
  • According to World Health Organization data, measles killed 110,000 people globally in 2017. In the U.S., measles rarely leads to death. The last recorded measles-associated death in the U.S. occurred in 2015

On March 26, 2019, Rockland County, New York, executive Ed Day issued a state of emergency, barring children under the age of 18 who had not gotten a measles-containing MMR shot from entering public places, including schools, restaurants, churches, synagogues and public transportation.

The ban was initially set to expire once the state of emergency was lifted in 30 days, but was cut short when an acting New York State Supreme Court judge issued an injunction lifting the state of emergency on April 5, saying the number of measles cases did not meet the legal definition of an epidemic required for an emergency order declaration.


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