HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Many WMBF News viewers have sounded off on both sides of the vaccination debate after an investigative report on vaccination rates in local schools was posted to Facebook.
Some saying unvaccinated kids should stay home from school, while others said it should be up to parents to make the decision.
Here are just a few comments viewers left on Facebook:
The WMBF investigation found at 97 percent, Horry County has one of the lowest vaccinations rates in the state.
As a follow-up, a local woman who runs a Facebook group that supports parents who choose not to have their kids vaccinated spoke about the issue.
Alexandria Cowell, a mother of three, said she started the Facebook page "Vaccine and Health Choice Myrtle Beach" so parents in this area could find solid accurate information - backed up by science - to support their reasons for choosing not to vaccinate their children.
Cowell noted that, at the end of the day, no matter what a parent chooses, it's important to do the research.
"I blindly vaccinated my first child, and I wish I hadn't," she said. "I wish I had done some research."
Currently, the Facebook group that has over 800 members and is steadily growing as more parents in the Grand Strand become interested in looking at the pros and cons of vaccinations.
Cowell said parents who decide not to get their children vaccinated are met with opposition from parents who do vaccinate, and it's often based on fear.
"An unvaccinated child is not an automatic disease carrier, so that's the first thing to know," she said. "Just because a child is not vaccinated doesn't mean they're automatically carrying polio or they're automatically carrying around measles."
She added that unvaccinated definitely doesn't mean unhealthy.
"Typically, unvaccinated children are extremely healthy because the parent that had done the research not to vaccinate their children has also done the research to figure out, well how do I keep my child healthy?" Cowell said.
Those who want to weigh in on this conversation can do so by clicking this post that's found on the WMBF News Facebook fan page:
To see the full interview with Alexandria Cowell, download our WMBF News app. The interview can be found in "App Extras."