SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Some say the debate on whether or not to vaccinate children is pitting parents against doctors and educators.
A new study confirms families across the U.S. are refusing immunization requirements by schools in astounding numbers and many are wondering whether the anti-vaccination movement is to blame.
A recent study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds fewer children in kindergarten are being vaccinated. Overall, U.S. vaccination rates fall below the CDC’s target rates, including vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella.
Twenty-seven states have seen decreases in vaccination rates since 2009. Georgia’s vaccination rate decreased by 6.4 percent in the last 10 years — the largest decline of any other state.
In 2004, a report by the Institute of Medicine concluded that there is no link between Autism and the MMR vaccine (against measles, mumps and rubella), and vaccine experts at the CDC agree that vaccinations are safe.
Marthalynn Manterfeild did choose to vaccinate her children. She says she stopped vaccinating them because they had negative reactions. She says now she doesn’t support schools having immunization requirements.
“Basically what they’re saying is we’re going to inject these chemicals into your child and you’d have no say on it, it might work, it might not. To me, the risks are far outweighing any positives I could see coming from vaccinating my children,” Manterfeild said.
Georgia is tied for the 19th lowest MMR vaccination rate at 93 percent and has the 15th lowest Polio vaccination rate, also at 93 percent. Both fall below the CDC target rates.
Health Testing Centers, which analyzed the CDC study, tells News 3 it’s troubling to see just how far Georgia is backsliding, especially because it now ranks below ideal thresholds for deadly diseases like measles and polio.
“Diseases like pertussis, especially pertussis are very contagious,” Pediatrician Dr. Timothy Keane said. “One child coughing once can infect up to fifteen people in the vicinity of them. It’s very contagious and a bad disease and it’s really good to get your child protected.”
Some say they feel safer knowing their children are protected against diseases than any reaction a shot may cause.
“I would rather take the risk with the vaccines and the possible risks of that than to have my children catch a disease, some of which, can’t be cured,” Amber Foley said.
Out of more than 500 people who voted on our Facebook poll, 75 percent of News 3 viewers do support vaccinations and 25 percent do not.