Tags: MidPoint | Anthony Mazzarelli | vaccine | parties | doctors | measles

Physician: Anti-vaccine Doc Contingent Small But Harmful

By    |   Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 04:08 PM

The number of physicians in America who advise against child vaccinations is thankfully small, but even a few medical dissenters can damage public health by making their communities more vulnerable to infectious diseases, a Philadelphia doctor and radio talk-show host told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

Anthony Mazzarelli, chief medical officer at Cooper University Health Care, did not go as far in an interview with "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner as his former teacher, Arthur Caplan, who said to strip vaccine deniers of their medical licenses.

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"But I'd go pretty far in saying the evidence is clear on this: We've essentially eradicated measles as far back as 2000, and now it's back because there is this critical mass of people who aren't vaccinated," said Mazzarelli, co-host of the "Dr. Mazz & Rick Grimaldi Show" on Philadelphia's WPHT.

He also said it is "incredibly irresponsible" of parents in California — ground zero for this year's outbreak  — to bring children to measles parties to purposely infect them and create future immunity without vaccines.

"Because if enough of them do it, there's a one in 1,000 chance that one of those kids will die," said Mazzarelli, "and then there's a one in 1,000 chance that one of those kids will have significant brain injury that could cause disability.

"That doesn't sound like a big number, but if you were to multiply that over time, that's going to be significant," he said.

Mazzarelli said a "soft touch" might work in getting more parents to trust vaccines as safe and not a threat to cause complications.

"It's partly having some kind of communication where [parents] start to understand a little more that this is not just about them and their child; it's about an entire community, and that there's a lot of good evidence," he said. "It is pretty clear that measles hasn't been around for years and that's because of vaccinations."

Most people accept the evidence, he said, and get their kids vaccinated accordingly. "As long as you have 92 percent of a community [inoculated] — that's around the magic number — you're going to have that herd immunity that protects everyone else," he said.

"While I'm not optimistic that the most hardcore people with the tin foil hats will change their mind, there's enough of a critical mass … that you'll see this issue die down soon," he said.

He advised holding off for now on new government vaccination mandates beyond those already in place, arguing "there's a lot you can do" to promote vaccination at the local level.

"There are other groups other than the government that could say, 'Listen, you don't vaccinate your kids, they can't be a part of my group.'" said Mazzarelli. "Private groups, whether it's athletic associations or other organizations … that will ultimately put that peer pressure on."

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The number of physicians in America who advise against child vaccinations is thankfully small, but even a few medical dissenters can damage public health by making their communities more vulnerable to infectious diseases, a Philadelphia doctor and radio talk-show host said.
Anthony Mazzarelli, vaccine, parties, doctors, measles
505
2015-08-12
Thursday, 12 Feb 2015 04:08 PM
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