Correction Officers Joseph Watkins, left, and Michael Ahearn speak with reporters about their lawsuit against the city. They claim they’ve been unfairly treated because they refuse to vaccinate their children against Hib and measles. (Ulysses Muñoz / WCPO)
Correction Officers Joseph Watkins and Michael Ahearn say they’ve been unfairly treated by the city because they don’t want to vaccinate their children against measles and other vaccines.
Watkins, a father of four, had been exempt from city requirements to vaccinate his children by driving them in his patrol car to a private school that doesn’t require it. He told reporters at a news conference that vaccination policy was a civil rights issue.
“A lot of us are off the streets at night,” Watkins said. “People can go out and get hurt just because they’re already immunized. You can’t come back. You can’t come back.”
The city Department of Health has said that, as of July 1, everyone else living in the city must get vaccinated or keep their children home from school.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor ordered New York’s court to examine the case, and a decision is expected this summer.