Measles outbreak blamed on vaccination refusals - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Measles outbreak blamed on vaccination refusals

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Dr. Jacqueline Grant, District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant, District Health Director
Tom Seegmueller, EPIC Trainer Tom Seegmueller, EPIC Trainer
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A Texas measles outbreak, with nearly 160 confirmed cases hasn't touched Georgia. Public health leaders credit proper vaccination in the state. 

Some of those cases in Texas are blamed on families who refused to get their children vaccinated for religious reasons.

Others worry vaccines could cause autism. Georgia requires children to have proper vaccinations before they can attend schools or day cares, but some parents are reluctant to get their children vaccinated.  Health providers say they could be putting their children's lives in jeopardy.  

Some health providers say families have stopped getting vaccinated against dangerous diseases because of a British surgeon's study claiming the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine led to a serious disorder. 

"There was a supposed link to autism with vaccinations, and this has never been supported by any other studies.  And certainly that study was viewed as being very flawed,"  said Dr. Jacqueline Grant, District Health Director.

But forgoing vaccinations is creating a public health risk. "We speak of it in public health in terms of herd immunity and of what we mean is that when people are vaccinated, or when the herd is vaccinated, if you bring someone into that herd without, with that disease the herd is protected,"  said Grant.

Grant says outbreaks occur when more unprotected people are brought into the herd, which could be creating a challenge for young doctors.

"Young parents don't know the dangers of these diseases.  We have young doctors that have never seen a case of any of these diseases because the cases are so rare due to the efficiency of the vaccine," said Tom Seegmueller, EPIC Trainer.

And taking the proper precautions in a world of international travel is becoming ever more important.

"Today, I mean we can sit in Albany, Georgia and you can go to the McDonalds and three hours ago somebody landed in Hartsfield international airport from anywhere in the world.  So your chances of exposure are still very high,"  said Seegmueller.

Some say vaccines are expensive and are just another part of big business, but not all health experts agree.

"Vaccines are expensive, but vaccines are also available through Public Health, regardless of someone's ability to pay.  And there's the vaccine for children's program which also insures that uninsured or underinsured can receive these vaccines from their private physician,"  said Seegmueller.

 So it may take a little more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away.  The Health Department has reported an increase in Pertussis because of vaccine hesitancy.

They say pregnant women should get vaccinated in the hopes that their children are able to become immunized within the womb and minimize their exposure to diseases after birth. 

     Health officials also suggest you regularly visit your doctor for periodic booster shots because vaccines do wear off over time. 

 

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