Well over 100 people in a handful of western U.S. states, as well as Canada and Mexico, have now been infected with the measles, and tens of thousands more in San Francisco may also have been exposed to the virus. The current measles outbreak has renewed a vigorous debate about vaccines and whether they’re effective or safe.
CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reported this story from Denver.
Current measles outbreak renews debate about vaccine safetyWell over 100 people in a handful of western U.S. states, as well as Canada and Mexico, have now been infected with the measles, and tens of thousands more in San Francisco may also have been exposed to the virus. The current measles outbreak has renewed a vigorous debate about vaccines and whether they’re effective or safe. CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reported this story from Denver.
Marlene Martin’s six-month-old daughter Mi’Oni is about to get her first measles shot.
“To protect them from getting diseases that can possibly make them deathly ill,” Martin, who has been getting her children vaccinated for years, said.
Getting vaccinated is a routine for many parents and most doctors in the U.S.
“I think it’s very safe. I’ve gotten my own children vaccinated. I have no concerns about its safety at all,” Amanda Dempsey, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Colorado said.
But for R.J. Gelinas, a father of two and a vaccine opponent, alarms go off when he hears experts say that vaccines do not cause harm.
Gelinas, a Colorado chiropractor, is part of the so-called anti-vaxxer movement — people whose research tells them vaccines can be very harmful.
Just 81 percent of Colorado kindergartners have been immunized, the lowest rate in the U.S. Opponents such as Gelinas have been outspoken since a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland erupted.
“I’m not going to let my child be a science experiment, putting pathogens and things that I don’t know what’s in that vial, into my child’s body,” Gelinas said.
Almost 4,000 compensation awards have been made to vaccine injury victims, and now, some Colorado parents are pushing for their own Bill of Rights which would give them greater say over their kids’ medical care.
Twenty U.S. states already allow parents to opt out of immunizations due to their personal beliefs.
“To think that children should be vaccinated so that in the event that they go into foster care, they won’t spread is absolutely ludicrous,” Parents Bill of Rights supporter, Deborah Carroll said.
“It can be really hard as a parent to sort out what’s good information and bad information,” Dempsey said.
Dempsey said science is firmly on the vaccine’s side, that a vaccine-autism link has been totally disproved, and that not getting vaccinated only helps measles spread. But she admits the debate is far from over.
Martin, who’s taking her kids to Disneyland next month, made her choice during their last visit to the pediatrician.
“You see she got a quick shot. After I picked her up, she was happy.”
Alan Hinman of Center for Vaccine Equity discusses health cost of vaccines
CCTV America interviewed Alan Hinman, a physician and director for programs at the Center for Vaccine Equality, about the vaccine debate.