Brooklyn, NY - Hoping to boost immunization rates and halt the measles outbreak that has continued spreading throughout the city’s Jewish neighborhoods, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office has released a pro-vaccination video featuring a well known member of the Chasidic community.

The just over one minute long clip has Alexander Rapaport, executive director of the Masbia soup kitchen network, takes viewers on a quick tour of the many community organizations that prioritize health including Hatzolah, Maimonides Medical Center, Yad Ephraim, Relief, Refuah and Ezra Medical Center.

Explaining the strong emphasis that the Jewish community has always placed on wellbeing, Rapaport is shown standing with two of his sons urging viewers not to fall for misinformation about immunizations, saying “With all that we do for the health and wellbeing of our community, why wouldn’t we vaccinate our children?”

Rapaport said that the video was shot last week in Williamsburg and Borough Park. He noted that he has been critical in the past of the city for not doing more to spread awareness and reach the small minority that has still refused to vaccinate their children.  He hopes that this latest effort will sway public opinion towards immunizations.

“As kids, we would be on the school bus and we would brag how lucky we are, how are community cares more than anyone else about human life and how we have agencies like Hatzolah,” Rapaport told VIN News. “This has always been how we think of ourselves and we need to wake up that feeling of pride in people and apply it to the vaccination issue and say ‘shouldn’t we be ahead of the pack on this?’”

The video comes just one day after a Modern Orthodox day school in Queens was ordered closed by the New York City Department of Health.  It is both the first non-Chasidic school and the first school outside of Brooklyn to be closed by the measles outbreak.

498 confirmed cases of measles have been reported since the outbreak began in Brooklyn, 399 of them in Williamsburg residents. 

An additional 225 cases have been reported in Rockland County where the current outbreak originated.