Last Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that vaccinations would be mandatory for all children after declaring a public health emergency in New York City due to the measles outbreak. Now, a group of anti-vaxx parents is suing the city for what they claim is a “drastic” rule.
According to the lawsuit, which ABC News reports was filed by five moms from the Brooklyn borough, “there is insufficient evidence of a measles epidemic or dangerous outbreak to justify” required vaccinations since there have yet to be any reported deaths. The parents also argued that the 48-hour period that they had to get their children vaccinated before facing up to $1,000 fines was “recklessly short.”
The suit, which is seeking a temporary restraining order against the vaccination mandate, went on to claim that “the emergency orders grossly understate the risk of harm to children, adults and the general public from the MMR vaccine, while at the same time overstating the benefits.”
Instead of requiring vaccines, the moms in the suit say they’d prefer a solution “that would likely control measles yet balance the rights to individual autonomy, informed consent and free exercise of religion.”
However, the mayor is standing by his decision. “The more I’m hearing, the more I realize it’s a really small group of strong anti-vaccination voices that convinced a number of parents of something that is factually wrong,” de Blasio told WCBS news radio. He added confidently, “We will beat them.”
Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesperson for the NYC Law Department, echoed the mayor’s sentiment in a statement to the New York Post. “We had to take this additional action to fulfill our obligation to ensure that individuals do not continue to put the health of others at risk,” he said, noting that “the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of states and localities to mandate vaccines to stop outbreaks.”