Anti-vaccination event in Midwood draws ire from residents, officials

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MIDWOOD -

An anti-vaccination event held in Midwood Tuesday evening upset community groups and officials in the area.

The event, held at the Ateres Chynka Hall, comes as the city's Department of Health announced that the numbers of measles cases has jumped to 566 citywide. The event featured an informational session to discredit vaccines and muddy the waters of their role in keeping the public safe.

"This is not misinformation, it's missed information," says Del Bigtree. "This is the information the medical establishment doesn't really want to talk about ... sort of the dark side of vaccines. It's always been there since beginning of time."

More than 75% of cases have been concentrated in Williamsburg, mostly impacting the Jewish community.

Protesters clashed with those trying to discredit vaccines, pushing back against the other side's message that has been discredited by a vast majority of medical professionals.

"I'm afraid that people are getting swayed by the emotional side of it, and not swayed by science and not given all the information," says Anna Barkovsky.

The Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition released a statement condemning the event:

"While the Flatbush community and its yeshivas have not suffered a measles outbreak, we do suffer from the anti-religious backlash caused by the ignorant few who tarnish our good name. We beg you - stay in your own neighborhoods and out of Flatbush."

Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city's health commissioner, also released a statement saying "To hold an anti-vaccination rally in the middle of an outbreak is beyond irresponsible, it is downright dangerous. New Yorkers are being put at risk by this spread of misinformation."

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