Pediatrician: Time is now to vaccinate children against measles
COLUMBIA - A pediatrician who specializes in infectious diseases said vaccination is the only way to protect children from measles.
Dr. Christelle Ilboudo said aside from deciding to "wrap the kids in bubble wrap and keep them home," the measles vaccine is the best option, and it's 97 percent effective.
Missouri is one of 18 states that allow parents to not vaccinate their children for personal belief. That exception only applies to child care facilities and not public schools.
Destiny Blume, a parent from Jefferson City, said she decided to get her 8-year-old daughter vaccinated against everything her doctors recommended, including measles.
"I always just want to protect her. No sense in risking her getting something if we can easily prevent it," she said.
Ilboudo said children under 2 years old and adults over 20 are at the highest risk of suffering the worst case of measles.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, there were 14 cases of measles in the state last year, and none so far this year.
Ilboudo said that may give some parents a false sense of security.
"Because they haven't seen the bad cases or the worst cases that we use to see before vaccination, some people may not realize the complications that they are putting their kids at risk for by not vaccinating," she said.
Ilboudo said it only takes a few particles of the virus for people to get infected.
"As a matter of fact, nine out of 10 people who are exposed to a case of measles end up getting the measles, if they are not previously vaccinated against it," she said.
Blume said she always looks into the vaccines her daughter needs and their effects.
"I do look up, based off of the recommended list, you know what that vaccination is for because they always have big, long names," she said. "To see what it's for and you know to get potential side effects."
Ilboudo said it is important for parents to do such research, especially if they are hesitant to vaccinate their children against measles.
"The big fear of autism has been debunked, many times over," she said. "We have scientific article after article after review that shows that, really, the vaccines are not related to autism."
Ilboudo said parents should also vaccinate their children to protect the health of their surrounding community.
"There are children at my children's school who may not be able to get vaccines because they have a health condition the prevents them," she said. "By vaccinating my children I am also protecting those around them."
Blume said she would be upset if her daughter got a disease from another child whose parents choose not to vaccinate.
"I would encourage them to really speak to their physician and really get all the information and the benefits," she said.
Ilboudo said the measles vaccine is covered by insurance.
Blume said she will encourage her daughter to vaccine her children when she grows up.
"Medicine is only going to advance from now until when she has kids," she said.
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