The landmark Brooklyn arena slated to host the final regular-season game of the Nets’ playing days last night was swarmed by hundreds of protesters Saturday who said the arena violated measles vaccination laws by not removing an anti-vaccination message.
The crowd appeared to be firmly against the new development, with a few waving an anti-vaccination banner at the back of the action. Later, a group of protesters rushed the escalators leading into the arena.
The protest came after Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving declined to be vaccinated after attending a meeting with anti-vaccination activists who had come to the four-year veteran’s home. Irving and the team had said he’d been informed of the regulations surrounding the proceedings, but Irving described himself in a later interview as “self-medicating.”
In recent years, reports have put the number of Americans who’ve chosen not to have been vaccinated at 1 in 68, with some studies suggesting that as many as 1 in 6 parents, children and adolescents who have not gotten the shots may have had their health compromised by the decision.
But according to a statement released by the Georgia state Department of Public Health, babies under 6 months are legally required to be immunized, while children, infants and adults older than 18 are all required to be inoculated against measles. The department provides a lot of help to health care professionals in providing information to patients who are not adequately informed, the statement said.
As for the indoor or outdoor vaccine, the two national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in Atlanta in August 2016 also said that all Americans have a responsibility to get vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR. People are considered to be in good health when they are no longer symptomatic of the disease, they said, and people may choose not to be vaccinated. But vaccination does not get rid of an infection, nor does it prevent the disease from spreading within a community, the CDC said. The agency also mentioned there have been recent outbreaks across the country of measles, which can pose serious health risks to those who are ill.
Washington native Jess Johnson, president of the East Richmond Community Association, was just one of many who said they came out to support Irving’s stance.
“We do not want to give in to this,” Johnson said. “We are proud of our city. This is a city, we grew up here.”
Johnson said she was not aware Irving had ever taken a pro-vaccination stance, and that her own children’s vaccinations were mandated. “But I get that people are afraid, and they are going to believe what they want to believe,” she said.