There are over 465 measles cases this year and climbing. That’s a lot given that we eliminated measles in our country in 2000. New York City has declared a public health emergency ordering mandatory vaccinations. If you don’t vaccinate, will the measles spread to your custody case?
Little Town Blues
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, announced an unusual order: unvaccinated people living in select zip codes will be required to receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, known as MMR, to curtail the outbreak and protect others, he said.
Under the mandatory vaccinations, members of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will check the vaccination records of any individual who may have been in contact with infected patients. Those who have not received the MMR vaccine may be fined $1,000.
“Every hour, every day matters here. If people would just go and get vaccinated, there’s no cause for a fine. It’s not our goal to issue violations. We want to simply solve the problem.”
New Yorkers should call 311 to access a list of facilities that can provide the measles vaccine at low or no cost, de Blasio said.
Florida Vaccinations and Child Custody
I’ve written about vaccinations and child custody before. Many people refuse to vaccinate their child, and that decision – especially during a measles outbreak – can impact your child custody case.
In Florida, a court can carve out an exception to shared parental responsibility, giving one parent “ultimate authority” to make decisions. There are at least two cases in Florida.
In one case, a Florida court heard the conflicting positions on immunization, and decided that it would be in the child’s best interest to allow the anti-vaccination Mother to make the ultimate decision regarding the child’s immunization.
Ten years later, a different Florida court heard conflicting testimony, and decided it was in the child’s best interest to award the pro-vaccination Father ultimate responsibility to make decisions regarding the minor child’s vaccinations.
Measles and custody seem to be as far apart as two terms can be, but the decision not to vaccinate raises interesting custody issues.
It is important to know what your rights and responsibilities are in Florida, especially when there are conflicting Florida court decisions about whether vaccinations are in your child’s best interest.
It’s Up to You New York
The public health emergency comes in response to 285 cases of measles reported in Brooklyn and Queens since the beginning of the outbreak in October.
The outbreak began when, according to health officials, an unvaccinated child became infected with the illness while traveling.
Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable respiratory illness characterized by a rash of flat red spots. Symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis — swelling of the brain — that can lead to convulsions, deafness or intellectual disability.
The total number of measles cases nationwide this year “is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000,” the CDC says.
That threshold was reached last week when the national total for the year surpassed last year’s total of 372. The largest outbreak was in 2014, when there were 667 cases reported nationwide due to several large outbreaks.
We saw only two cases in New York City in 2017, so we have a very serious situation on our hands. We cannot allow this dangerous disease to make a comeback in this city — we have to stop it now.
The CNN article is here.