Doctors urge to get vaccinated, but health choice advocates preach education first

Possible exemptions for measles vaccine

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Palmetto State is one of 28 states that does not currently have a measles outbreak.

The Center for Disease Control says 704 measles cases in 22 states have been confirmed since January 1.

Doctors in the Grand Strand are urging parents to beware of the disease and vaccinate ahead of any potential outbreaks.

While many doctors are urging vaccinations, some parents said it’s important to make an informed decision before vaccinating.

"Informed consent should be a big part of this decision making process,” said Alexandria Cowell, a health choice advocate. “I recommend that a new parent read the vaccine insert and not the one page that the child gets on the day they go in to get eight different vaccines.”

The anti-vaccine movement has both gained and lost traction following the measles outbreak. Cowell said she vaccinated her first child, then took a year to research vaccinations before deciding not to move forward vaccinating her other two children.

"One day I just came to the conclusion that there was no way I could put these things into another child of mine,” she said.

One reason she chooses not to vaccinate: the ingredients. She said we’re currently the sickest and most over medicated generation in hundreds of years.

"When you look back at the last decade or two decades it absolutely solidifies my decision to not vaccinate my children and to continue to keep them healthy and continue on the path that we’re on,” Cowell explained.

Doctors with Conway Medical Center said a healthy diet with enough vitamin A will help if you contract the measles virus.

"But that’s not going to prevent you from getting it that just cuts in half the chance of a more severe outcome,” said Dr. Marc Bahan with CMC Pediatrics.

Bahan said the majority of people who get measles are unvaccinated, and vaccines are the most important prevention tool.

This year, measles cases hit a 25-year record high. The disease was declared eliminated in the year 2000, but now there are over 700 cases across 22 states.

"Once it starts spreading in those areas it spreads pretty quickly and about 3% of vaccinated people are still at risk for getting it,” Bahan said.

Although it’s not in South Carolina yet, doctors said people should be careful and aware of the measles virus.

Cowell said she’s prepared if the illness makes it’s way to the Palmetto State.

“I don’t fear the measles, I don’t fear the chicken pox, I don’t fear these things that are going to then give my child life long immunity,” she said. “Am I going to seek it out? Absolutely not, but I’m not going to fear it either.”

Measles symptoms range from a fever to a rash and sometimes both. Doctors said if you fear you have the disease to seek medical treatment.

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