Today, numerous children are developing the measles virus. Many experts are saying this is due to lack of vaccination. Should doctors be encouraging parents to ensure that their children have gotten the measles vaccine?
CBS news has the scoop. Many doctors are saying that the parents of their patients are choosing not to vaccinate their children; statistics show that more than half are not. What does this mean for the kids?
CBS news interviewed Dr. Gordon from Santa Monica, California on the topic. He said, “This measles outbreak does not pose a great risk to a healthy child. And quite frankly I don't think it poses any risk to a healthy child.”
CBS reports that if somebody with measles walked into Dr. Gordon's office, 90 percent of the unvaccinated people who come in contact with them would get measles. CBS asked Dr. Gordon to explain how that type of contagion is not a threat.
He answered by saying that measles is a benign childhood illness so it is not as dangerous for children to develop it. He further said it is not as if the child would contract meningitis, or the plague, or Ebola, they would get measles.
CBS explains that Dr. Gordon has signed hundreds of personal belief exemptions. These allow parents to bypass laws requiring vaccinations. CBS then asked him if he finds that he and his colleagues who are also choosing this route feel that they are helping to bring back a disease that we had largely eradicated from the general public. Dr. Gordon responded saying that this would not bring back measles.
But many experts disagree with Dr. Gordon’s opinion. CBS reports on the latest statistics,
“In 1962 - the year before the measles vaccine - there were 481,530 cases of measles nationwide. It killed 408 people. The vast majority of doctors support vaccination including Dr. Deborah Lehman at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.”
CBS reports that doctors have good reason for supporting vaccinations and that they should be taking greater steps to explain to parents the consequences of not getting vaccinated.
Given the recent rise in measles cases many parents are thinking twice about having their children vaccinated. Proponents are saying that pediatricians should be giving parents the extra nudge that they need.
Dr. Lehman told CBS news,
“People don't remember children staying in dark rooms because they have measles and the light hurts their eyes and developing brain swelling and serious developmental problems. We have given people a false sense of security and it is situations like this, outbreaks like this that really remind us of the importance of these diseases and really the benefit of vaccine.”
Dr. Gordon told CBS that he gave patients thirty-five measles shots this week, which is more than he gave all year in 2014. Experts who are proponents of the vaccination are hoping that this becomes an upward trend to further the fight against measles.