Measles outbreak reignites vaccination debate - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Measles outbreak reignites vaccination debate

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning parents and doctors to be on the lookout for signs of the measles -- reporting the biggest outbreak since 1996.

So far this year, 129 people in the U.S. have been infected.

Here in Texas, school-aged children are required by law to be vaccinated against the measles and other potentially deadly diseases, but not every parent is on board.

More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children -- whether it be for personal reasons or because they think the vaccines are actually doing more harm than good -- and some experts are saying that's exactly why we're seeing a spike in some of these dangerous diseases.  

"There are 14 different serious diseases that we can actually prevent, and even though the incidents are low here in the state, it's simply because we do immunize," said Cindy Fancher, district coordinator of heath services for Tyler ISD.  

But mother of four Shannon Maradiaga says no parent should be forced to vaccinate their children.

"I think that parents should have a choice," she said. "It's toxins they're putting into their bodies. There has been some research and some proof that kids when they're really young can't tolerate all of that -- you can tell by their reactions."

Maradiaga believes vaccines caused severe ADD in her oldest child.

"I was young at the time, that was my first kid. I didn't know," she said. "But I knew something was wrong when I had him in pre-school and I could see with the other kids -- he couldn't really relate with them."

And she's not alone. Critics claim that vaccinations can lead to autism, diabetes and even paralysis.  

According to the National Vaccine Information Center, the federal government has awarded over $2 billion to people injured by vaccines.
Medical professionals, however, argue that by not vaccinating your kids you're putting their lives -- and the lives of everyone around them -- in serious jeopardy.

"A lot of parents nowadays, having never seen the devastation that a lot of these diseases cause, maybe take it lightly," Fancher said, "And I just think it's important to remember that these diseases are significant, and there's death that's related to them."

Although Texas law says you have to vaccinate your kids, there are some exceptions. If your child has a medical condition that you think might be exasperated by the shots, or you simply don't want to vaccinate them because of religious beliefs, you can request an exemption. It's not a guarantee, however, that one will be granted.

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