A Brooklyn judge on Thursday ruled against a group of parents who filed a lawsuit against a recent New York City emergency vaccination order, rejecting the parents’ arguments that the forced vaccination order was not the “least restrictive means” for controlling the outbreak, among their moral and religious objections.
Judge Lawurence Knipel of the Kings County Supreme Court wrote that the parents failed to provide an example of any less restrictive alternative. In addition, Knipel dismissed their moral, religious and scientific objections.
The five parents filed the lawsuit Monday against the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene saying the order lacks sufficient evidence of the measles outbreak and violates legal religious exemptions.
The order was issued in response to a measles outbreak affecting more than 250 New York City residents living in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn since September. The city issued the order under §556 of the Charter of the City of New York, which charges the Department with controlling communicable diseases and “supervising the abatement of nuisances that affect or are likely to affect the public health.”
Knipel wrote that there is a rational basis for declaring a public health emergency and their subsequent vaccination orders.
“The unvamished truth is that these diagnoses represent the most significant spike in incidences of measles in the United States in many years and that the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is at its epicenter,” he wrote.
Knipel stated that any issue of informed consent was inappropriately raised.
“A fireman need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire. Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion.”