By Tim Harfmann
As parents prepare to send their children back to school, New York remains at the forefront of the measles outbreak.
Of the 1,200 confirmed cases across the U.S. in 2019, more than 75 percent are linked to New York State, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the five boroughs alone, there have been 654 confirmed cases since September of 2018, according to the city’s health department.
Opposition to the vaccination of children has played a key role in the outbreak.
Doctors like Joseph Kaplovitz, a pediatrics specialist at NYU Langone, are still urging people to get the vaccine and watch out for symptoms.
“The anti-vaccine movement, in general, has this belief that by giving the vaccine, I’m going to danger my own child. That becomes a very hard thing to try and fight,” said Dr. Kaplovitz.
“It starts off as fever, usually a high fever like 104 or 105; cough, congestion, runny nose; red eyes, what’s called conjunctivitis; and it also comes with a head-to-toe rash,” he explained.
While many cases have been found in predominantly Jewish communities, now all students throughout the state must get vaccinated.
The New York Supreme Court recently upheld a new law eliminating any religious exemptions from required vaccinations.
Yoel Binyomin, a father living in Brooklyn, also believes children should be vaccinated.
“You have to obey the doctors. If the doctors say you got get vaccinated, then you have to take the vaccine,” Yoel said.
If the city’s health department identifies any child without the necessary vaccinations, that family could face a $1,000 fine.