Some 285 measles cases have been identified in New York City since last fall, compared with two in all of 2017. Most of these cases were found in unvaccinated or partially unvaccinated people, a majority of whom are children. The drugmaker is the exclusive manufacturer of the MMR II - measles, mumps, rubella - vaccine, which is generally distributed in two doses.
Latimer said it would be under Amler's authority to declare any county-wide measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Some in the Orthodox Jewish community oppose vaccines, saying it is a part of their religious belief or they refer to fears that vaccines will cause autism.
Measles is a contagious viral disease with complications including swelling of the brain, pneumonia, ear infections and diarrhea.
Avi, 17, a resident of Kensington, Brooklyn, said he and hasn't seen any cases of measles. It seems the only way to get the most stubborn parents to vaccinate their children is through the legal system. "Our religion says that you should do it", he said across the street from the Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov school.
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. The health department has threatened to close these yeshivas if they do not comply.
However some locals, like Miriam, 66, are anxious about how the outbreak may affect their family members. "Those who have the vaccination won't have to worry".
"It's really scary out there", she said. "It's not just that they know what questions to ask".
Like all but three U.S. states, NY requires a series of vaccinations for school-age children but has until now granted exemptions on both medical and religious grounds. In fact, according to Keith Holyoak, a UCLA Distinguished Professor of Psychology, it may be "more effective to accentuate the positive reasons to vaccinate and take a non-confrontational approach... than directly trying to counter the negative arguments against vaccines". Those who refused to get immunized within 48 hours will risk receiving violation tickets or incurring fines of $1,000.
In 27 years of practicing medicine, Ruppert said, this is "one of the most challenging health crises I have had to deal with".
Other residents also proposed alternative solutions to stop the spread of the disease.
"When you make the decision not to vaccinate your child, please understand you're also making that decision for the people around your child", warned Palacio, who said her services had received reports of so-called "measles parties" held to purposely expose children to the disease.
As anti-vaccination movements continue to rise, Coffey explained that the widespread opposition to vaccination is mainly based in false news about side effects. "Nobody has measles in my family, and my children all took the vaccines".