NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City officials are cracking down on schools in Brooklyn that allow unvaccinated children to attend, telling them to comply or be shut down.

Neighborhood officials said the vast majority of Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg are vaccinated, but because the community is so tightly knit, just a small number of anti-vaxers is allowing this outbreak to grow, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Monday.

“There is no religious exemption on measles,” said Gary Schlesinger, CEO of Parcare Community Health Network. “All rabbis, all prominent rabbis have issued proclamations that everyone should vaccinate.”

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(Photo: CBS2)

Schlesinger is trying to reverse false information being spread about the measles vaccine through the Orthodox community.

“They’re spreading this information through hotlines, some publications. I’ve seen some mailings,” Schlesinger said.


Since the measles outbreak began in October, the Department of Health says there have been 285 reported cases in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, 246 of which are children. And so far, 21 people have been hospitalized.

As a result, the health department now says any yeshiva school in Williamsburg allowing unvaccinated students to attend will face fines or possibly be shut down.

“If you ask me, I say do it. Immunize your child, save lives,” one resident said.

“It has nothing to do with Judaism. People are afraid. It’s damaging. People are afraid of the medicine,” another person said.

City Councilman Stephen Levin represents Williamsburg.

“Every child has to be registered and we can work with the schools to do this,” Levin said.

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In Rockland County, there have been 167 confirmed cases of measles. On Friday, a Supreme Court judge blocked an executive order banning unvaccinated children from public places.

“It’s happening around New York state. It’s only going to spread unless we fix the problems in the system, and the problems are we have way too lax of a requirement,” state Sen. David Carlucci said.

New York City ordered yeshivas to ban unvaccinated students in December, but said one in Williamsburg did not comply and has since been linked to more than 40 cases.

“Oversight from one of the administrators who thought the breakout had stopped,” Schlesinger said. “But by now, I’ve spoken to many administrators. Most of them … all of them are very strict about the orders.”

So will this plan be more effective?

“I’m going to be focusing on this and putting out a bigger plan,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “But right now we’re going to have inspectors out. We have clear penalties, clear sanctions.”

Neighborhood officials said it is particularly important for members of this community to get vaccinated now because next week families will be gathering for the start of Passover.

Comments (18)
  1. Chad Rodgers says:

    Gary Schlesinger is wrong. Fetal Bovine Serum is not kosher neither is hydrolyzed gelatin which is made from swine bones. Both of these ingredients are in the MMR vaccine. Any observant Jew who takes this vaccine is breaking halacha.

    Vaccine ingredients listed here:

  2. Kevin O'Neill says:

    Measles is a 2 week rash, that does no permanent damage, unless you were infirm and near death to begin with. Sure, lets wash our hands and cover our sneezes, but the hysteria is total fear mongering.

  3. Jason Ledd says:

    Don’t take vaccine, it doesn’t work. Only 21 people are in hospital. Almost everyone who gets measles was already vaccinated for it. Vaccines cause cancer.

  4. while you all worrying over shots ww3 is about to start good luck

  5. Lori Green says:

    I find it funny , the left all laughed at rick perry for saying he wanted to mandate they vaccinate for the hpv virus……… look whos mandating…….and what if it were the muslim community…….would this happen to them……….i t hink not.

  6. hinck07 says:

    This will do nothing because they don’t demand that illegal aliens be vaccinated also.

  7. These vaccines have more than just aborted fetal tissue in them. They have hundreds of unknown proprietary ingredients, which the Italian government discovered when they allowed an objective research team to examine the MMR. Proof, Proof not bluster is required. Prove that what the label says on the vaccine, is what is inside. Prove that those ingredients are safe and effective. To save my child from this vaccine I would pay the doctor to inject an orange rather than my child.

  8. Mike Miller says:


    Blaming citizen non-vaxxers will be used to assert more authority over Americans’ lives.
    Open Borders crowd is spreading these diseases.

  9. Todd Simpson says:

    I just want to know WHY, if the vaccines are so effective, is this not only affecting unvaccinated people?!

  10. James Harvey says:

    Why are jews so filthy and spread disease?

    1. Jay Meister says:

      Do an internet search – there are anti-vaxxers in every community and of every religion

    2. Cathy Kurt says:

      Yours, James Harvey, is the only filthy communication here.

  11. Bob Thrasher says:

    A fundamental problem with vaccination theory is that it supposedly requires everyone’s participation for it to work (herd immunity and all, ya know). So if you have a group of people who don’t buy in for whatever reason you have to override their personal sovereignty to achieve compliance. First, that is a serious breach of personal liberty based on the dubious claims of harm. Second, this theory is ripe for a single-point-of-failure issue. History is littered with all sorts of vaccine disasters.

  12. Quico Reed says:

    Funny isn’t it? In 2000, Measles was declared wiped out in the USA. Now, measles is on the rise, and just as millions of un-vaccinated illegal immigrants pour across the border. Coincidence? We are told “you have to vaccinate” to save lives, and they are willing to shut down schools who don’t take a zero-tolerance policy. But at the border, from where many of these diseases are coming, they want a zero-enforcement policy.

  13. Dave Hardesty says:

    While I believe that people should vaccinate against measles I do not believe that the government should FORCE or intimidate them to do so. It tramples on basic freedom and human rights. If someone is infected, quarantine them. If parents knowingly send their infected child to school, which happens all the time and you can verify that by asking any GOOD teacher, arrest and fine them. What? Are we going to enforce the One Child rule that screwed up he people o China? That was the government mandate. Someone below mentioned the vaccinated should be forced to wear the yellow Star of David on their arms. We already have problems with leftist wackos getting triggered to violence over MAGA red hats, can you imagine what the low information loons would do to the un-vaccinated? Should we make Jews and Muslims eat pork because most Americans do? What if vegetarianism or veganism AOC style become a govern mandate? But all of that probably sounds good to the people of NY who apparently go along with the notions of abortion and infanticide so what does my opinion matter?.

    1. Fasdf Fasdf says:

      “It tramples on basic freedom and human rights.”… The prob is, we live in a SOCIETY… and individual rights to breed a disease affects others. “You can swing yer fist all you want… until someone else’s face comes within the radius of yer arm.” … Make sense?

  14. Patrick Holman says:

    Should you put yellow stars on the unvaccinated? Measles are coming from the vaccinations. The wild strain of measles has 19 genotypes.
    The vaccine strain only addresses one genotype A.
    That is the reason the vaccine does not eradicate measles.
    The more you know the less you fear.

  15. Doug Huffman says:

    Ihre Gesundheitspapiere bitte!

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