WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — Several parents in Brooklyn filed a lawsuit against New York City Department of Health on Monday amid a Measles outbreak, seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent mandatory vaccinations from taking effect.
The lawsuit called the emergency order “arbitrary and capricious,” and the measures it necessitates “drastic.”
The parents claimed the order violated their “children’s religious exemptions” to vaccinations and their constitutional rights to due process — and that forcing vaccinations would put their kids at risk.
The order demands everyone over 6 months who live, work or attend school within the specified zip codes of Williamsburg be vaccinated.
The parents argued that “there is insufficient evidence of a measles epidemic or dangerous outbreak to justify” forced vaccinations, and they accused the city of failing to take the least restrictive measures to end the outbreak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the MMR vaccine is 97 percent effective in protecting people against the measles, a highly contagious disease.
Meanwhile, the New York City Health Department closed a child care program amid the city’s measles outbreak in Orthodox Jewish communities.
It’s the first closure since health officials ordered residents of one Brooklyn neighborhood to be vaccinated for measles.
The health department on Monday said the Williamsburg preschool, United Talmudical Academy, repeatedly failed to provide access to medical records. It says the school will not be allowed to reopen until it submits a “corrective action plan” approved by the department.
Health officials say 329 cases of measles have been confirmed since the beginning of the outbreak last October. Most of the cases are children under 18 and have been reported from Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn.
There have been no deaths associated with the outbreak.