The New York State Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of parents attempting to block the city’s order to vaccinate their children against the measles virus. The move paved the way for the city to close more yeshivas and threaten to fine more parents if they refuse to vaccinate their children.
The court ruled the current outbreak is sufficient to warrant the designation of a public health emergency. “A fireman need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire,” Judge Lawrence Knipel wrote in his ruling. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion.”
The order mandates vaccination for anyone living, working or attending school in the 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 zip codes.
Subsequent to the ruling, the New York City Health Department announced Thursday that it is closing four more yeshivas in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn for failure to provide vaccination records upon request. United Talmudical Academy of Williamsburg-Yeshiva Torah V’Yirah, UTA Beth Rachel School for Girls, United Talmudical Academy, UTA Beth Rachel School for Girls were all forced to close because they did not provide documentation proving that unvaccinated children were being blocked from entering the school building.
The closure came just as all yeshivas were shutting their doors on the eve of the eight-day Jewish festival of Passover, during which every yeshiva and Jewish school will be closed anyway.
A fifth school which was shut down last week – the United Talmudical Academy preschool in Williamsburg – reopened on Thursday, one day prior to the start of the Passover holiday.
In addition, the city announced it was moving to issue civil summonses which could result in $1,000 in fines on the parents of each of three children who were ordered to receive vaccinations but who did not comply as of April 12.
The parents of the unvaccinated children will be entitled to a hearing first, but will need to pay the fine if the hearing officer upholds the summons, according to Patch.com. They could also be fined $2,000 if they do not show up at the hearing or respond to the summons.