Five unnamed parents are suing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene over the recent emergency mandatory measles vaccination order.
The petitioners claimed that the city health department violated their legal right to opt out of vaccination. They added that authorities did not provide sufficient evidence to justify the existence of an outbreak.
In the legal document obtained at the NY Supreme Court Kings County, the petitioners claimed that there was insufficient facts that would warrant extraordinary measures such as forced vaccination.
The mothers, whose identities were disclosed by the initials of their names, described the order as "arbitrary, capricious" and a violation of the law and their rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
"Rather than using available legal mechanisms such as isolation or quarantine under Public Health Law §2100, respondents have imposed not only severe criminal and civil penalties for not vaccinating but have stated that persons not vaccinated 'shall be vaccinated against measles,' thus introducing the specter of unjustifiable forced vaccination to Williamsburg and the City of New York," read the lawsuit filed at the NY Supreme Court Kings County.
They also claimed that the city health department failed to address inconsistencies resulting from the mandatory vaccination order. These inconsistencies caused them confusion, anxiety, and fear due to civil and/or criminal punishment.
In addition, the lawsuit sought for a restraining order and a preliminary injunction declaring the order ineffective.
Mandatory MMR Vaccination
On April 9, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency as measles cases reached an alarming number, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There were 555 individual cases of measles in 20 states from January 1 to April 11, 2019, the CDC reported.
De Blasio required all unvaccinated individuals to get their measles-mumps-rubella shots 48 hours from the time of his announcement. Those who will refuse will have to pay $1,000 fine or get violation tickets.
Exemptions will only be given to those with compromised health conditions that would be worsened by the vaccine.