More Kids Being Exempt From School Vaccination Policies
Thursday, August 14th 2014, 8:07 pm
By: News 9
Vaccinations have been considered routine, even required, for students heading back to school, but new numbers show that's no longer the case.
"Personal and religions reasons" are allowing more kids to be exempt than ever before.
It's been crowned the "Anti-Vaccine movement."
Parents exempting their kids from vaccine shots at what those opposed call an alarming rate.
"I feel like they are misinformed, and I feel like they aren't getting good information," RN and Health Services Administrator for Oklahoma City Public Schools, Debbie Johnson said.
Johnson describes the status of her Oklahoma City Public Schools staff as being on high alert for cases of the measles, since the severe outbreak of measles has been unfolding in Ohio.
Johnson and her staff have been tracking cases across the United States. Most recently, cases have been reported in Kansas City and Texas.
"I-35 comes right through us, and you know it's going to be here," Johnson said.
Her confidence in stopping an outbreak if it gets to Oklahoma is dwindling, because the number of personal and religious vaccine exemptions is increasing, more than she's ever seen before.
"It really bothers me," Johnson said.
In Oklahoma alone, the state department reports the number of vaccine exemptions has doubled in the last decade to 1.4 percent. Johnson and doctors at OU Children's Hospital believe the number is closer to six percent.
Oklahoma already has a policy in place that once a case of the measles is reported in the state, the commissioner of health can and will exempt students from class who are not vaccinated.
"We have kids with bone marrow transplants and with cancer," said Johnson. "These kids who don't have their vaccines are putting those kids at risk. All it takes is one, and we're going to have a problem."
Dr. Tracey McLaughlin is a certified natural health professional. She encourages self-education and vitamins over vaccinations.
"Find out what nutrients they are lacking, and if they aren't lacking, then I'd be alarmed, but they are likely lacking, and that's why the body was susceptible to the disease in the first place," Dr. McLaughlin said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Oklahoma is tied for the 17th lowest exemption rate in the nation.
Look for a story on the issue now at www.oklahomawatch.org.