A group of anti-vaccine parents belonging to the Orthodox Jewish community sued New York City on Monday for forcing their children to immunize against measles, claiming that the city overreached its functions and violated their religious beliefs.
In a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of Brooklyn, the district where most of the Orthodox Jewish population is concentrated, argue that the measure to force vaccination to those who have been in contact with the disease under penalty of 1,000 fine dollars is excessive, and that the outbreak of measles that affects the city is "insufficient" to justify it.
According to local media, the measles epidemic in the neighborhood of Williamsburg (Brooklyn) is not serious enough, since despite having confirmed about 300 cases, none of them has been fatal, so they see "arbitrary and capricious "the declaration of" public health emergency ".
Last Tuesday, the mayor of New York declared this status in Williamsburg, where an epidemic of measles has been unleashed since October that particularly affects the Orthodox Jewish community.
The lawsuit is addressed to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of New York and its head, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, and states that the city has not presented all the information related to the pandemic, including the number of active cases and how many cases could have been caused by others who were recently vaccinated.
"Instead of using the legal mechanisms available such as quarantine, officials have imposed not only severe criminal and civil penalties for not getting vaccinated, but have assured that they will be 'vaccinated against measles,' introducing the specter of unjustifiable forced vaccination." , says the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs, who qualify the decision to "witch hunt", seek a temporary halt to this order and that it be replaced by a measure that "controls measles and weighs the rights to the autonomy of the individual, informed consent and free exercise. of religion. "
A similar lawsuit was filed a few weeks ago in Rockland County, north of New York City, after it decreed a ban on unvaccinated children accessing public spaces, due to the severe outbreak of measles in the town, with 184 cases in a population of 300,000 inhabitants.
Among Orthodox communities in Brooklyn there is a debate between those who defend the inoculations and those who deplore them, based in some cases on an anti-vaccine publication according to which they contain "monkey, rat and pig DNA", they are made with aborted human fetus cells and generate autism.
On the other hand, many rabbis and organizations defend the need to immunize young people in order to prevent the spread of the contagious disease and also to occur possible anti-Semitic episodes.