New York county to ban unvaccinated kids from schools, malls amid measles outbreak

Rockland County, N.Y., issued a 30-day emergency declaration over an ongoing measles outbreak March 26, which includes plans to ban unvaccinated children from enclosed public places, reports STAT.

Four things to know:

1. Rockland County has a large Orthodox Jewish population, and many choose not to vaccinate their children. Therefore, the county's efforts to increase vaccination rates have been met with community resistance.

2. The ban will apply to schools, shopping malls and places of worship across the county.

3. Rockland County Executive Ed Day said the county hopes the ban will mark a turning point for the worsening measles outbreak, which started in October 2018 and has caused 153 infections.

4. The decision is seen as an untraditional move by many public health experts, some of whom question how county officials will enforce the ban.

"My hunch … is that they're assuming it's primarily going to work by fear. That they're kind of upping the deterrence ante by putting parents in fear of having some significant consequences if their kids are seen outside," Wendy Parmet, a professor of public health law at Northeastern University in Boston, told STAT. "And that what they're hoping it will do is be primarily self-enforcing."

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