A measles emergency was proclaimed in Rockland County, New York, where children not vaccinated against the disease were banned from public places, and presented with a fine or six months in prison.

The measure was announced by the county administrator, Ed Day, and covers any place where more than ten people are gathered: schools, restaurants, shops, places of worship and even transportation vehicles.

Public places forbidden to unvaccinated children: The ban took place on Tuesday and will be valid for thirty days. This is the most radical measure ever taken in the United States since measles reappeared, following the emergence of no vax movements. “We must do everything possible against this epidemic – Day explained – and to protect the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or children too young to undergo the vaccine”. For those who violate the ban, fines of up to $500 and up to six months in prison are provided. 
The governor of the county then condemned the “growing resistance” of some inhabitants to those responsible for health who try to protect them, talking about “irresponsible” people and “unacceptable” behaviour. The county of Rockland, where 300 thousand people live, has been under the influence of a violent measles epidemic since October, when seven sick travellers entered. The current one is the longest epidemic of the disease since it was officially eradicated in 2000, according to Day. The confirmed cases are 153.

“These numbers say a lot about the reasons why the epidemic continues,” said the county administrator. The most affected areas are those with a strong ultra-orthodox Jewish population, where the people who refuse to be vaccinated are numerous and according to the New York Times have links with the Orthodox communities of Brooklyn, where the disease is equally widespread. Numerous vaccines are theoretically mandatory in the United States to attend school, but 47 out of 50 states, including the one in New York, allow them to be exempted, even for “religious” reasons.