New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot has ordered all yeshivas in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg to bar unvaccinated students from entering their schools.
“This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods,” Barbot said, according to the New York Post. “They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science.”
The order follows an ongoing outbreak of measles that began late last year and has since led to 285 confirmed cases of the virus since October, 127 within the past month alone.
Yeshivas who defy the order will face fines and potential closure.
“What we’re seeing is very clear; children cannot, must not, go to school if they are not vaccinated,” New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday during an appearance on NY1. “The school will be held responsible if an unvaccinated child is there. . . We can’t take the risk, this can be a fatal disease.”
Twenty-one people have been hospitalized with measles, including five admitted to intensive care units; 246 of the 285 cases were children and 39 were adults, according to the Health Department.
In December, the city issued an order that affected schools only in certain zip codes within Williamsburg, and in the neighborhood of Borough Park. All were Jewish areas. However, five of the yeshivas who were affected by that order had failed to comply in March, the department said.