ANTI-VAXXER parents are hosting "measles parties" so their kids can contract the deadly virus instead of getting the jab, it has been reported.
City health officials blasted parents after they were found encouraging their un-vaccinated kids to get the virus from each other in Brooklyn, New York.
Some 285 cases of measles have been confirmed in New York since October
Anti-vaxxer parents in New York have been found to host parties in hopes their un-vaccinated children get infected with measles (stock image)
The movement against the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella, is largely thought to stem from the work of Andrew Wakefield.
The now discredited UK doctor penned a damning research paper claiming a link between the MMR vaccine, autism and bowel disease.
The study was retracted in 2010 but the paper has had a lasting influence with the "anti-vaxxer" movement particularly taking off in America.
And the movement has sparked concern amid the current measles outbreak in New York – the largest the city has seen since 1991.
It is believed misguided parents are hosting "measles parties", encouraging their young, un-vaccinated children to spread measles with the idea that once a child has contracted it, they will be immune.
The "parties" are similar to "pox-parties" where kids were encouraged to contract chickenpox from each other.
These were popular before the introduction of the varicella vaccine in 1955.
It is now widely recognised by health officials that vaccinating a child is far safer than deliberately infecting them.
The measles virus is highly contagious and in some cases can lead to death.
The city's health commissioner said she was "particularly concerned" about these parties and urged parents to get the MMR vaccine for their children.
She said: "I understand that parents may be afraid of getting their children vaccinated.
"I know that getting vaccinated is far safer than getting measles."
According to the NHS, the MMR vaccine is "a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against 3 separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection.
"The full course of MMR vaccination requires 2 doses.
"Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious conditions that can have serious, potentially fatal complications, including meningitis, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and deafness."