Nearly 70 Doctors in NJ Sign Letter Urging Vaccines Amid Outbreak
About 70 doctors in New Jersey, at least 18 of them in Lakewood, have gone on record to urge patients to get all recommended vaccinations.
New Jersey physicians were among more than 500 across the country as of Wednesday, who reject what they call a "dangerous misinformation campaign" discouraging patients from routine childhood vaccinations as recommended by the CDC.
The letter comes as Lakewood is dealing with an outbreak of measles, the Ocean County township's second since the fall. As of this week, state Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said 11 cases of measles in Ocean County and two cases in Monmouth County (connected to exposure to Ocean County residents) were among 555 reported cases nationwide.
“Our unequivocal recommendations are based upon exhaustive research and supporting data from years of studies on hundreds of thousands of patients. These studies have found that routine childhood vaccinations, when following the recommended schedules, are safe," the letter posted online at Drsforvaxx.org says.
Doctors said they "faithfully serve" Orthodox Jewish communities in their respective communities and "are aware of the dangerous misinformation campaign being spread and reject any unproven unscientific statements that contradict all available current science-based studies on vaccinations."
In addition to Lakewood's measles outbreak, there have been 329 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since October, mostly involving members of the Orthodox Jewish community, according to New York City health officials.
As of Monday, 186 measles cases were confirmed in Rockland County, New York. An order issued there Tuesday barred anyone diagnosed with measles from all places of public assembly, including schools, restaurants and places of worship, under penalty of a $2,000 fine per day of violation.
The number of children claiming religious exemptions from vaccines in NJ alone has nearly tripled in recent years — from 3,865 in the 2009-10 school year to 11,428 last year.
State lawmakers also have been considering legislation to toughen or "clarify" student exemptions from mandatory immunizations. A measure sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr., D-Burlington, and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, D-Essex, was amended in late January.
An identical measure has yet to be introduced this year by state Sens. Joe Vitale, D-Middlesex, and Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen.
The first measles outbreak in Ocean County had a total of 33 confirmed cases between October 2018 and mid-January 2019.
Recently, the state Department of Health confirmed 79% of those patients infected with measles were not inoculated with the combination MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. Three percent of cases had just one of the required two-part vaccine series, while 16% of cases were found to be fully vaccinated.
As described by the CDC, measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus, that spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms start with a cough, runny nose, red eyes, and fever, followed by a rash of tiny, red spots. The rash typically starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
Before the U.S. measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year. Of these, about 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC; of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.
The Doctors for Vaccines letter also said "it is an individual and communal responsibility to work together in the effort to prevent harmful diseases from spreading.”
As of April 17, the following New Jersey doctors, with those in Lakewood listed first, have signed the letter urging vaccines:
- Jonathan Cohen – MD Internal Medicine. Geriatrics – Lakewood
- Neal Gittleman – MD/Pediatrics – Lakewood
- Tamar Green – MD / internal Medicine – Lakewood
- Binyomin Greenberg – MD Pediatrics – Lakewood
- Harvey Hirsch – MD FAAP Pediatrics – Lakewood
- Norman Indich – Rabbi MD faap – Lakewood
- Yisrael Kadosh – MD/Cardiology – Lakewood
- Baruch Kassover – Internal Medicine – Lakewood
- Inna Lekht – Pediatrician – Lakewood
- Allen Lempel – Internal Medicine – Lakewood
- Dovid Ogun – M.D./Internal Medicine – Lakewood
- Hillel Peltz – DO / Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine – Lakewood
- Daniel Roth – Ophthalmology – Lakewood
- Joshua Segal – MD, OBGYN – Lakewood
- Reuven A. Shanik – Pediatrician – Lakewood
- Miro Ukrainčik – MD, FAAP – Lakewood
- Samuel Werzberger – MD / Pediatrics – Lakewood
- David Zelman – Radiology – Lakewood
- Joanne Aranoff – MD/Pediatrics – New Jersey
- Aryeh Aryeh Berlin – PsyD Psychologist – Passaic, NJ
- Allen Blaivas – DO Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine – Clifton NJ
- Caryn Borger – MD/ Endocrinology – Livingston, NJ
- Susan E. Boruchoff – MD Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases – New Brunswick, NJ
- Arkady Broder – Associate Chief Of Gastroenterology – New Brunswick NJ
- Yehuda Burns – MD / Radiology – Bergenfield, NJ
- Aaron Ciner – MD / Hematology and Oncology – Highland Park, NJ
- Seth D. Cohrn – Oncology – Long Branch, NJ
- Abigail Cooper – MD – Bergenfield, NJ
- Donna R. Dick – MD MD – Pediatrician – Morristown, NJ
- Tikki Dulitz – Doctor/Pediatrics – Teaneck, NJ
- Ari S. Eckman – MD Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabilism – Elizabeth, NJ
- Neely Elisha – Obgyn – Cherry Hill, NJ
- Alexander Feldman – Assistant Professor Pediatrics Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – Newark, NJ
- Elliot Frank – MD, MBA, FACP, FIDSA Infectious Diseases – Neptune, NJ
- Kalman Friedman – MD Anesthesiologst – Passaic NJ, & NYC NY
- Elly Gamss – MD FACEP – Bergenfield, NJ
- Rebecca Gamss – MD/Radiology – Hackensack, NJ
- Rebecca Geliebter – MD MD, Pediatric Endocrinology – Teaneck, NJ
- Shlomit Goldberg-Stein – Radiology – Englewood, NJ
- Howard Goodman – Orthopaedic Oncology – Englewood, NJ
- Irwin Hametz – MD Physician, Dermatology – Freehold, NJ
- Joseph Heinemann – MD, Pediatric Resident – Passaic, NJ
- Joanna Iskowitz – MD Pediatrics – Passaic, NJ
- Mira Hellmann – Gynecologic Oncology – Clifton, NJ
- Shana Kaye – MD FAAP – Teaneck, NJ
- Rachel Klein – MD / dermatology – Cherry Hill, NJ
- Shanon Kleinman – MD/Anesthesiology – Bergenfield NJ
- Andrew Korman – Director of Gadtroenterology/ Gastroenterologist – New Brunswick, NJ
- Edward Liu – Infectious Diseases – Neptune, NJ
- Zev Lob – Emergency Medicine – Clifton, NJ
- Susan Malitzky – MD MD – Highland Park, NJ
- Shari Mann – MD MD internal Medicine – Teaneck, NJ
- Maureen Nemetski – MD, PhD, FAAP – Pediatric Emergency Medicine – Englewood, NJ
- Daniel Peikes – Pediatric Dentistry – Montville, NJ
- Andrei Rebarber – Clinical Professor Ichan School of Medicine, President Maternal
- Fetal Medicine Associates, MFM/OB/GYN – New York, NY and Englewood NJ
- Michael Rosen – MD Pediatric Emergency Medicine/ General Pediatrics – Passaic, NJ
- Stacey Rosenzweig – MD, FAAP Pediatrics – Woodcliff Lake, NJ
- Debbie Rybak – MD, Infectious Disease Fellow – Newark, NJ
- Elliot Samet – MD Pediatrics – Passaic, NJ
- Moshe Schiffmiller – MD Anesthesiology – Teaneck, NJ
- Olga P. Segal – MD MD – Hackensack NJ
- Ayelet Spitzer – Internal Medicine/Palliative Care – NJ
- Larry J. Tiefenbrunn – MD, FAAP Pediatrics – East Brunswick, NJ
- Howard Uderman – MD Medical Director/internal Medicine – Cherry Hill, NJ
- Melvin P. Weinstein – MD Infectious Diseases – New Brunswick, NJ
- Daniel Daniel Witkin – DPM/ Podiatry – West Orange, NJ
- Mordecai Mordecai Witkin – DPM/ Podiatry – West Orange, NJ
- Nathan Zemel – MD/ PM&R PM – Newark, NJ