We are making progress. Our latest numbers show that 17,654 MMR vaccinations have been given since the beginning of the outbreak in October 2018. That number has increased by almost 700 since we declared this State of Emergency. While these numbers are the most recent provided by the state they may not encompass the total given thus far. Doctors have up to 14 days to enter their numbers into the system, so the total is likely higher.
I did not come to this decision lightly but after more than half a year of dealing with the measles outbreak something had to be done. Every action we have taken since the beginning of this outbreak has been designed to maximize vaccinations and minimize exposures, and the State of Emergency was only the latest step.
Our Department of Health must be commended for their hard work and dedication to protecting the public health here in Rockland. Without their efforts, this outbreak could have been much worse. I also want to thank those residents who have responded to the State of Emergency positively and responsibly by going out to get their children vaccinated.
We viewed the State of Emergency as an opportunity for everyone in our community to do the right thing for their neighbors and come together. We are doing everything in our power to end this outbreak and protect the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and that of children too young to be vaccinated.
Each and every new case is a roll of the dice that could bring on pneumonia, encephalitis – swelling of the brain or cause premature birth which can lead to all kinds of complications even death. We must not allow this outbreak to continue indefinitely. We will not sit idly by while children in our community are at risk.
We recognize that major religious holidays will soon be upon us and we want people to be able to celebrate. We don’t want to see a repeat of how this outbreak started when we saw people gather together and then fall ill.
That is why we have sounded the alarm and brought this issue to the forefront of public consciousness. We want everyone to be able to return to the normalcy of their lives. It is time that everyone takes proper action to protect themselves and their neighbors; for the health and safety of all of us in Rockland.