Measles vaccine

George Frey / Stringer

Amid Measles Crisis, Lawmakers Look To Mandate Vaccines At Summer Camps

June 07, 2019 - 12:52 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As New York continues to deal with the worst measles outbreak in over 25 years, concern is beginning to shift from schools to summer camps.

According to New York State Sen. David Carlucci, many parents in the state feel that summer camps are regulated in the same way schools are. However, the reality is very different.

“There are single-purpose day camps – that could be a basketball camp, computer camp, science camp – if it just does one activity, it's not regulated by the Health Department,” Carlucci explained.

Since the Health Department doesn’t oversee the camps, vaccine rules do not apply and many unvaccinated children will be at risk of contracting measles if the camps do not mandate vaccinations.

“We are putting children at risk,” Sen. Carlucci added.

The senator, who represents Rockland County and parts of Westchester County, says he will file a bill to mandate both children and counselors at all summer camps in New York State get vaccines for measles and other dangerous diseases.

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“We have to take proactive measures to protect our children,” he said.

The earliest the law could go into effect is Oct. 1, but Carlucci says it's still worth getting the word out now.

“Parents should be asking these questions of the camp directors no matter what camps their children attend,” he said.

Amid the measles outbreak in the state, both New York City and Rockland County issued emergency orders, mandating that residents in certain zip codes receive the MMR vaccine or face heft fines.

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At least seven yeshivas in Williamsburg were shuttered after failing to provide vaccination and attendance records for their students. Additionally, the city issued summonses to at least 57 parents for failing to abide by the emergency order.

There have been over 840 confirmed cases of measles in the state since October 2018.

Federal health officials say that the number of measles cases in 2019 have already surpassed the count for all of 2018.

RELATED: US Measles Cases Still Climbing, Topping 800 For Year

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms include a cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, fever, and a red, blotchy skin rash.

About 1 child out of every 1,000 who becomes infected with measles will develop encephalitis, which causes swelling of the brain. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles will develop pneumonia, which can be deadly, according to the CDC.