To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? - KOAM TV 7

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

Measles outbreaks continue to be reported in states across the country.  There are no confirmed reports in the Four States, but doctors say it could happen.

You could believe what you read on the internet blogs about vaccines.  You could fill out a special form letting your kids get out of receiving a vaccine.  But a warning from many health officials:  It's not all about you, or your child, for that matter.

"For example, say that your child is not vaccinated, and they're going to school with a child that maybe has leukemia, who isn't able to fight off illness themselves.  That child who is not vaccinated, who does contract an illness or continues to spread illnesses as a result of it, is putting all that population at risk," says Lauri Fasken-Tripp, a nurse at the Jasper County Health Department.

Missouri allows parents to cite religion as a reason for not getting a vaccine.  It's the only reason that, by law, day cares and schools have to accept, other than a doctor-certified health reason.

"In the State of Missouri, we do not have philosophical rejection," says Fasken-Tripp.

You may be curious what religions discourage vaccinations.  But the State of Missouri isn't.

"It (a special form) doesn't ask any questions.  It just essentially asks the child's information and needs a parent's signature," says Fasken-Tripp.

Health professionals say there's no doubt that vaccines have risks.  A federal law requires doctors and nurses to let parents and patients know about these risks.  But healthcare workers say there's a bottom line here, proven by science...

"We think you should be immunized.  The risk from immunization is very, very low.  The risk of contracting one of the illnesses that could be prevented from that is fairly high," says Tony Moehr with the Jasper County Health Department.

Health professionals say know the risk of trying to avoid so-called risks.

We talked with some people today who are against vaccinating their children because of health concerns.  However, they did not want to be interviewed on camera.

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