Vaccine-Refusing Community Drove Outbreak That Cost $395K, Sickened Babies

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Arstechnica.com reports: A 2013 measles outbreak rooted in a vaccine-refusing community in Brooklyn, New York cost the city’s health department an estimated $394,448, requiring 87 employees to collectively spend more than 10,000 hours on outbreak response and control, according to an analysis published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

Measles outbreak rages after anti-vaccine groups target vulnerable community
During the outbreak, which spanned March through July, health workers quickly mobilized to track down more than 3,300 people exposed to the highly contagious, potentially life-threatening virus. Workers then determined the vaccination status of those exposed and doled out prophylactic treatments or vaccines to those who would take them. To get the word out about the health threat, workers contacted local doctors’ offices, schools, and daycares. They also placed announcements in local newspapers, set up a telephone hotline, and held community briefings on the situation.

Almost a third of the employees involved in the response were working outside of their job descriptions, diverting resources from other critical public health activities. The cost estimate combined a conservative assessment of employee compensation ($332,000) and supply costs, such as lab testing and advertising ($62,000).

The authors of the analysis, led by Jennifer Rosen of New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, summed up the situation succinctly: “The response and containment of measles outbreaks are resource intensive.”

That preventable burden on the health department’s operations and budget is in addition to the disease’s toll on public health. Healthcare workers confirmed 58 cases of measles in the outbreak, which was kicked off when a teenager in the community brought back a case of measles after a visit to London. The outbreak mostly affected young children; the median age of the people affected was three. All of the cases were Orthodox Jewish persons in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park.

Forty-five of the cases (78 percent) were in patients older than one who were unvaccinated due to vaccine refusal. Twelve cases (21 percent) were in infants aged less than one who were too young to vaccinate. And the remaining case was in an adult who had an ambiguous vaccination history.

Serious complications in the outbreak included one person developing pneumonia and a pregnant woman suffering a miscarriage. Health workers also found that a newborn had been exposed to the virus in utero and had detectable measles virus in their urine and respiratory tract directly after birth. The baby’s parents declined treatment with a prophylactic immunoglobulin.

In an accompanying editorial, Jason Schwartz of Yale’s department of health policy and management notes that such insular communities of vaccine refusers can hide in nationwide statistics showing otherwise strong vaccination coverage—and most of the time they reap the benefits of “herd immunity” or community-scale immunity due to sufficient rates of vaccination.

“Those who voluntarily choose to forego vaccination are thus free-riders, benefiting from this public good without contributing to it,” Schwartz concludes. One possible solution, he writes: vaccination refusal fees that would go to cover outbreak response costs, among other vaccination-related expenses.

“Such a fee would reflect the shared benefits among a community that result from a well-functioning vaccination system and the corresponding shared responsibility for contributing to and sustaining those benefits,” he writes.

Of course, such a fee would likely be highly controversial and researchers are still trying to work out if other strategies, such as stricter exemption rules and better doctor-patient communication, that could cut down on vaccine refusal without fees. In the meantime, Schwartz notes, the new analysis provides “additional evidence that decisions to delay or decline vaccination result in potentially serious health risks to those individuals and their communities as well as significant burdens and costs to health departments and the health care system.”

34 COMMENTS

  1. Doctors are all lying weasels
    There is no such thing as measles
    Do you know what’s in that shot?
    Cooties known to cause brain-rot
    The CDC’s an evil group
    They’ll try to make your kid catch croup
    The CIA, the FBI
    They lie and try to make you die
    Every doc’s an evil knave
    While anti-vaxxers are so brave
    Only they dare tell the truth
    About the plot to harm our youth
    Medicines are tools of quacks
    Paid for with your income tax
    Faceless men from the Deep State
    Use them to annihilate
    How dare you call me paranoid?
    The CIA wants me destroyed
    Doctors, nurses, all are liars
    Instead, trust vaccine-deniers
    Be smart like me; trust online chats
    Run by men with tinfoil hats
    Leave those shots up on the shelf
    Smallpox vanished by itself
    There’s never been something called “germs”
    It’s all a plot by pharma firms
    We can ignore facts all day long
    We won’t ever admit we’re wrong

    • sorry i don’t believe doctors are lying weasels
      no one denies measles
      do you have any idea what is in the shot?
      yes they are toxic and can cause the brain to rot
      the CDC is corrupt like any other governmental agency – yes that is the truth unfortunately
      no they don’t like to make you die
      they lie to make money and keep the facade firm
      ex vaxxers have no choice, they cannot continue to harm their kids
      we never said it was a plot
      and medicine has it’s place
      the rest you wrote is just a way to mach avek and make it seem like
      we are tinfoil and you are smart when the fact remains
      that we are educated and sane
      and the pharmaceutical industry has done an amazing job in convincing
      the public how important these vaccinations are.
      this is a PR campaign to sell a product
      can’t you understand that???

  2. YES! What a great idea. Vaccine-refusal fees are brilliant, as they force the anti-vaxxer to realize the huge benefit she attains by having the rest of us vaccinated!

  3. Totally agree with the concept of fees for anti vaxers. They should also pay for Dr. coverage for anyone that is unable to get vaccines due to their young age or health and who get sick because of anti-vaxxer despicable conspiracy theories that hurt other people.

  4. China’s Latest Vaccine Scandal Illustrates The Dangers Of Socialized Medicine

    Only last November, another major Chinese vaccine maker, the state-run Wuhan Institute of Biological Products sold 400,520 inferior DPT vaccines to several local government agencies, which were then given to countless children through the state-run vaccination programs. Every time, officials denied there were problems with vaccines at first and were quick to punish media who dared to report these scandals — the editor of the newspaper that reported the story in Shanxi was fired immediately.

  5. The money that Medicaid saves by not administering the vaccines to anti-vaxxers should offset the cost of these health workers.

    The anti-vaxxers should form their own communities, schools and alternative medicine organizations.

  6. The 1986 Vaccine Injury compensation act which removed product liability for vaccines from the vaccine manufacturers needs to be repealed. This would force the vaccine industry to produce safe vaccines or admit to the fact that there is no such thing as a safe vaccine. The exponential rise in Autism prevalence was shown by the EPA to have begun in 1989 which is when all the new vaccines started to be introduced. Shutting down debate by saying “settled science there is no debate” is a totalitarian tactic employed by the vaccine industry and its supporters. It is not surprising that totalitarians want to impose tyrannical fees and penalties on healthy people for refusing an invasive and dangerous medical intervention. It is not about health but rather forcing you to give up your freedom and become compliant to the dictates of the health department bureaucrats and their lies.

    • I read your link. You can’t make generalizations based on one invoice which we have no idea if it’s a hoax. I mean, really.

  7. I only use vaccines that were tested against true placebos, so far only available on the moon. Waiting for the next moon landing so I can get my order.

  8. I find it interesting that this level of effort was made to reach a community that clearly didn’t want or perhaps even need the assistance. 50 years ago, everyone had measles as a child, and it was no big deal. In this case, there were 3 instances in which any medical care could have been needed at all, 1 of which was clearly necessary and the likelihood that the individual involved would have/ did seek care is fairly high. Pneumonia is fairly identifiable. Miscarriages happen in a large percentage of pregnancies anyway, and there was a child born with the measles virus in their system, which is potentially problematic. That’s it. They didn’t want or need assistance otherwise. So then it comes down to the fact that all of this money and time was spent to try and force people to accept assistance that they neither wanted nor needed and that they should be financially penalized for not wanting it. Think about that for a minute.

    • Just a thought for you, 50 years ago a percent would die or develop brain damage and other serious complications from measles, and nothing could have been done about it, hence it was accepted socially as a cost of doing business, so to say. That is very different from “it was not a big deal”.

  9. Oy vey. How many of these people diagnosed with measles were vaccinated? Most? Oh ok oh, and in case you wanted some factual information since this post is completely false, all adults are “unvaccinated.” When was the last time a 50 year old went for a MMR booster?

    Oooh, right! Only unvaccinated kids pass Measles..

    • the whole reason why herd immunity is important is that it prevents a virus from mutating. making all vaccines null. when below a certain number vaccinate the vaccines become useless. vaccines dont work by individual it’s a game of prevent a host for the virus to have chance to mutate!

    • “Not a big deal”?! Do you mean it’s not a big deal that a half to one percent of children infected with measles were dying, were getting acute encephalitis or other disabling complications.

  10. Leaving the anti-vaxxers out of the discussion out of fear they’ll be able to influence the sheeple with their solid evidence and data is best proof that they’re the winners.

  11. An example of how taking statistics out of context and writing biased editorials in medical journals morphs into fake news.
    From the article above:
    ” A 2013 measles outbreak rooted in a vaccine-refusing community in Brooklyn, New York cost the city’s health department an estimated $394,448, requiring 87 employees to collectively spend more than 10,000 hours on outbreak response and control, according to an analysis published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics”.
    From the NYC DOH website:
    “Welcome to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
    With an annual budget of $1.6 billion and more than 6,000 employees throughout the five boroughs, we’re one of the largest public health agencies in the world”.
    You can see that an expenditure of $394,448 dollars out of a total agency budget of 1.6 Billion dollars, and a temporary reassignment of 87 out of 6000 employees, is not something to get excited about unless you are trying to mislead the public. Nowhere in the article above or in the original JAMA article is this context provided. Instead a false public narrative is created in order to ultimately justify taking away your rights and imposing penalties on dissenters.
    The other context not given is that due to the high birthrate in the Orthodox community, there is a higher number of children in our community with nero-developmental disorders such as Autism and ADHD and other illnesses Lo Alenu. The reason parents are rejecting vaccines is because they can see from their own children that the UN -vaccinated children are healthier. In terms of costing the system money, the expenditures required to care for children damaged by vaccines or other environmental insults, dwarfs by many orders of magnitude, the entire budget of the NYC DOH. Instead of creating hysteria around 58 cases of measles, the NYC DOH should be focusing its efforts on eliminating the cause or causes of tens of thousands of children requiring expensive Special ED services in the New York City School system. According to the CDC, 1 in 6 children in America now has a neuro-developmental disorder and the rates have been rising exponentially.

    • thank you for explaining this so clearly and concisely. it is amazing how they can stir up the crowds against the ex-vaxxers.
      note ex vaxxer means someone who vaccinated and saw the harm done to their child and therefore STOPPED vaccinating.
      thats where most of the anti vaxxers come from

    • have fun homeschooling your kids. if kids that are “problem” kids are thrown out. why should antivaxers be any different!

  12. This is article is non evidence based and unless proven, I’ll just take it for a bunch of baloney and a scare tactic to get the public to vaccinate.
    People don’t fall for the trap. Most people are brainwashed into thinking that they are protecting themselves and there children but the truth is you are harming your children.

  13. In US court it was stated that quote ‘vaccines are unavoidably unsafe’
    The fact that this is not publicized should send alarm bells!
    People wake up, don’t vaccinate and endanger yourselves!

  14. Because the pharmaceutical industry were sued so much in regards to vaccines, they threatened the government that they’d stop making them.
    So a law went into place that you can’t sue the vaccine makers!
    Any alarm bells going of by anyone?!!!!
    Yes that’s right, if anyone gets harmed, dies, or has lifelong disabilities due to vaccine, the vaccine makers have no responsibility!!!
    (the government initiated a tax on each vaccine that goes towards a vaccine compensation fund and they payout millions of dollars from them to vaccine injured victims)
    The government pays out the victims, the pharmaceutical can only make money from making, administering and advertising people to get vaccinated! You can’t sue them! No responsibility! No liability! Even if they make a mistake or people die from it!

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