Vaccination debate reaches the Mississippi capitol - - Jackson, MS

Vaccination debate reaches the Mississippi capitol

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Fresh on the heels of a measles outbreak in California, Mississippi's Tea Party is throwing it's weight behind a bill that would allow for additional exemptions from childhood vaccinations. But health officials maintain, highly infectious diseases can resurface quickly in unvaccinated groups and spread like wildfire.

The Mississippi Tea Party president says many parents are concerned about mandatory vaccinations for children. The Tea Party has joined a group called Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights in the anti-vaccination wave.

House Bill 130 would broaden exemptions for inoculations. The tea party passed a resolution supporting the proposed measure. It claims the Mississippi Department of Health exercises inordinate pressure on physicians and clinics to push heavy vaccination schedules.

Dr. Sandy Feldman, considered Mississippi's leading infectious disease pediatric expert, disagrees. Dr. Feldman is Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor, and retired Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. He is concerned about people not getting vaccinated. 

There are reportedly 67 confirmed measles cases in the United States, most of them linked to Disneyland in California. Dr. Feldman said, public health officials are zeroing in.

"And what they found was the measles outbreak and the whooping cough outbreaks that were occurring in California, have very much localized in these areas where there are pockets of unvaccinated people," said Dr. Feldman. "And there's no reason why that can't happen here in Mississippi."

Immunizations against childhood diseases are required by Mississippi law in order to enter school, head start or day care. We posed this question to the Infectious Disease expert and he's concerned about House Bill 130

"Well, House Bill 130  just opens up Mississippi to now having problems like those being seen in California, Colorado and other states. I can go on and on," added Dr. Feldman. "Measles is a fatal infection. And with the way I look at House bill 130 is, the Legislature should be trying to save lives, not put lives at risk."

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