The State’s Health Officials, Group Concerned
Health officials are highlighting the importance of vaccines as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the country is experiencing a massive influx of measles cases. The Oklahoma Alliance for Healthy Families, a pro-vaccination group that counts numerous city and state health organizations as partners, unveiled some polling data the other day that shows 96 percent of Oklahomans believe vaccines are effective at preventing disease and nine out of every 10 residents support vaccinating all children. The CDC reports through Nov. 7, there were 1,261 individual cases of measles–more reported cases of measles in the U.S. than in the past 27 years. More than 30 states, including Oklahoma, have reported measles cases to the CDC this year. A majority of the cases are people who are unvaccinated. The CDC reports 123 people were hospitalized this year due to measles and 61 reported having complications, such as pneumonia. In a news conference Tuesday, Larry Bookman, president of the Oklahoma Medical Association, stressed the importance of making sure children receive all vaccinations when recommended by physicians in order to keep them and those around them healthy. “When the community around us is vaccinated, we’re all much safer, we’re all much healthier,” he said. “We have the privilege of making informed health care decisions for ourselves and our families.” Oklahoma law allows vaccination exemptions for medical, religious and personal reasons. Parents are still allowed to make that personal choice not to vaccinate their kids, but Bookman said he’s focused on making sure parents are as informed as possible about the health effects of vaccines. There’s a lot of information out there that’s not based on science, he said. Vaccines have become a heated political issue across the country as some fear they can cause neurological and developmental disorders such as autism. Many studies have concluded there is no link between vaccines and autism.