One Measly Change: An Unorthodox Approach to Addressing Ultra-Orthodox Measles Outbreak
Since October 2018, over 400 individuals in the Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) community in Brooklyn, New York have contracted measles, a disease once eradicated in the United States.This disease, preventable through a two-dose measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, is one of the most contagious infections and has serious long term health consequences. Both public and private officials—namely, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene(DOHMH) and individuals within the Haredi community—have taken a number of steps to address the measles outbreak, implementing policies to increase vaccination rates. This paper details those interventions and points out how many of such policies do not properly account for the idiosyncrasies of the Haredi community, such as its hierarchical structure and its insularnature. The paper concludes with specific recommendations on how policies could be improved to address the particular biases related to vaccination uptake among Haredim.