(NEW YORK) — A group of parents in Brooklyn are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent mandatory measles vaccinations from taking effect.
The parents’ lawsuit against the New York City Department of Health called the emergency order “arbitrary and capricious” and the measures it necessitates “drastic.”
The order, issued by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, demands that all persons, starting at the age of 6 months old, who live, work or attend school within the specified zip codes of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, be vaccinated.
The parents who are suing argued “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.
The suit was filed by five mothers on behalf of themselves and their minor children. They are listed as living in Williamsburg and Clinton Hill, parts of Brooklyn included in the mandatory vaccinations.
In declaring a public health emergency, de Blasio called the measles “a very serious situation” and noted the “danger of this disease and how highly contagious it is.”
The affected zip codes are heavily populated with Orthodox Jews and the mayor sought to get everyone vaccinated before people travel for the Passover, which begins Friday.
“To make sure it is a good holiday we have to ensure that people are protected,” de Blasio said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 285 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens from October 2018 to April 8, 2019.
The CDC states that most of the confirmed cases involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community and the first case stemmed from an unvaccinated child getting infected while on a trip to Israel.
New York is one of 20 states where there have been confirmed measles cases in 2019. Between Jan. 1, 2019, and April 11, there have been 555 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S.
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