TARGET 8: How worried should parents be about the unvaccinated?

4 years 5 months 1 week ago Monday, May 11 2015 May 11, 2015 Monday, May 11, 2015 6:07:00 PM CDT May 11, 2015 in Target 8
By: Megan Judy, KOMU 8 Anchor

COLUMBIA - Have you ever wondered how many of the children sitting in class with your kids are vaccinated? In the same respect, if your child is already vaccinated, does it even matter if other kids are not?

According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, in Boone County, 98.3 percent of all students grades K-12 have received all of their vaccinations. In Cooper and Cole counties, the percentage is higher - 98.9 percent. But, what about babies?

An outbreak of measles, which started at Disneyland, dominated the news cycle at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. The disease had been relatively dormant for years. In a way, the outbreak took doctors by surprise. So, what is a reasonable level of fear for parents, especially parents of vaccinated children?

Dr. Thomas Selva, chief of the division of general pediatrics for University of Missouri Health Care, said, "It can go anywhere from no symptoms at all to, if you're unlucky enough to be the child who didn't get good protection, you could catch measles, but your risk is very, very low. And, in between are what we call ‘incomplete cases.' Sometimes you see these incomplete cases and they're not even recognizable because they look like any other viral illness."

But, babies who haven't received all of the rounds of vaccinations are a different story. When young children haven't completed the vaccine series, they are not completely protected.

"They've got pretty good protection, but you kinda seal the deal by finishing the entire series of vaccines," Selva said. "As an adult, many of these diseases are not fun. Whooping cough is an example. Whooping cough won't kill the average healthy adult or 16-year-old, but it can kill a 6-week-old."

State Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, is the sponsor of House Bill 976, which is currently making its way through the legislature. It would, in part, allow parents to find out if children in their child's nursery school, preschool or daycare are not vaccinated.

"The outbreak raised the awareness and day cares were unsure if they could disclose the information," Franklin said. "My desire was to make this as easy to do as possible, and to provide the information that the parent was requesting without any identification of who it may be."

If passed, the bill would not allow the schools to name the children who aren't vaccinated, just whether or not there are any. Then, parents can decide whether or not they want to pick a new place to send their babies.

The health policy organization Trust for America's Health did a study in 2013 about the immunization gap in Missouri, which is the percentage of children ages 19-35 months who have not received all of their shots. The gap was 29.9 percent.

"Parents have every right to know the environment that their babes are going into," Franklin said.

Gail Vasterling, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, wouldn't comment on pending legislation, but did say her department has long been a proponent of making sure all babies are immunized.

Missouri is currently opted into Hallmark's 20 year program called For America's Babies. Cards are sent to families saying "Every Missouri child is precious to us. Please remember that your baby needs to begin his or her shots by two months of age."

The cards are signed by Gov. and Mrs. Nixon, and, except for the cost to mail it, is completely funded by Hallmark. About 75,000 Missouri families received the cards last year.

"It's a great program," Vasterline said. "The cards are provided to the state free of charge. They convey good wishes to new parents and also include a detachable section so parents can use that to keep track of their child's immunization record."

Selva said he is well aware there's no way to vaccinate all children, but he believes in the herd effect.

"Every farmer knows you can't vaccinate the entire herd," he said, "but if you can get most of them, the disease will probably not get a hold on the herd. So, the human population is very much the same. we know we'll never immunize every individual on the face of the earth, but if we get a critical mass then the disease can't get a foothold."

UPDATE: On Monday, May 11, House Bill 976 was amended and combined with Senate Bill 341, which is an onmibus children's well being bill.

It passed and once the governor signs it, the law will go into effect on August 28th of this year.

[This post has been updated to reflect the most recent information available.]

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A woman is dead after a car crash on Highway 63 in Columbia Thursday. Columbia police said... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 11:57:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Leaders from several organizations from around Boone County gathered Friday to talk about various county-wide goals. The... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 11:10:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a triple homicide in a Kansas City neighborhood. Police spokesman... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 11:01:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A man was arrested Thursday evening after police found dangerous drugs during a routine traffic stop. The arrest... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 4:29:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The fifth annual Project Homeless Connect begins Friday. The event provides support for those experiencing homelessness,... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 3:23:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Sixteen Columbians will travel to Columbia's Japanese sister city, Hakusan City, to reaffirm the relationship between the two... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 2:29:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — After a controversial sermon at The Crossing on Sunday, the LGBTQ community is calling for those involved to... More >>
18 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 7:41:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Princeton Review named the University of Missouri to three of its "best" lists. MU made the... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 6:16:51 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
Walt Disney once said, "All dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." If your dream... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 5:25:44 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Simmons Bank, the Arkansas-based bank which bought Landmark Bank over the summer, confirmed some positions will be eliminated.... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 5:01:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Former Camden County sheriff's deputy Leonard Jerome Wilson pleaded guilty earlier today to receiving child pornography as... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 4:15:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
BOONVILLE - A grand jury indicted a man on October 11 for one count of child molestation. Robert Bosma,... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 3:33:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
HIGH POINT- In an effort to increase safety at school, High Point school district recently began arming select teachers. ... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 2:21:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri school districts found out Thursday how well they performed over the last school year following the release... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 2:17:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Leaders of a support group say their new "Reentry Opportunity Center" will help give recently released inmates the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 1:46:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
FULTON - A man has been arrested after drug bust earlier this morning in Fulton. Antonio Jerome Beard, 43,... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 1:36:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri unemployment has decreased a tenth of a percent in the past month according to a new... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 1:10:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — A judge has ordered a man to repay most of a $2 million settlement he received after... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 12:50:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 65°
2pm 69°
3pm 70°
4pm 70°
5pm 68°