Questions about the safety of vaccines have led to arguments for public security. As more parents choose not to vaccinate their children, others get concerned when there are disease outbreaks.
Here are some quotes from parents and officials on the debate:
"Not getting a child immunized is child abuse," said Jocelyn Elders, the former U.S. surgeon general. "When you choose not to have your child immunized, you're cheating other kids."
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However, others worry that taking personal choice away will lead to conflicts.
"In an era when people are less accepting of authority and do not expect to do something because the government says so, trying to enforce immunization may actually make matters worse and create martyrs," according to British pediatricians David Elliman and Helen Bedford in The New York Times.
The debate has entered the political arena for presidential hopefuls.
"The science is clear. The earth is round, the sky is blue, and vaccines work," says Hillary Clinton. "Let's protect all our kids."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talked about balancing parental choice and public interest while touring a vaccine manufacturer in Cambridge, England.
Christie's office later issued a statement saying, "The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated. At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate."
According to Politico
, Sen. Rand Paul gave a plug for parental choice, remarking that there had been "many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines." However, he also encouraged vaccines when necessary by tweeting a photo of himself receiving a hepatitis A booster shot.
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Meanwhile, the man who created the controversy by publishing the findings of the 1997 study says it was misinterpreted, according to Newsweek
. The study, which linked the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism, was printed and later retracted in The Lancet, a British medical journal.
"We made no claims about the vaccine causing autism," says Andrew Wakefield. "In fact, we said this does not prove an association. And all we urged was further research."
Parents need to look at more than one study or a few to make decisions about vaccines, according to Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Neil Rohe, a father of two in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, told the Argus Leader he has looked at the ingredients of the MMR vaccine.
"It's not made out of things that actually produce health in a human body," says Rohe. "There's plenty of known toxins within a vaccine." He doesn't plan on having his kids vaccinated.
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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