Tags: MidPoint | Elaina George | measles outbreak | CDC

Dr. Elaina George: 'People Should Have a Choice' on Vaccines

By    |   Wednesday, 18 February 2015 04:35 PM

An Atlanta doctor and Internet talk show host says that parents should be able to choose whether or not to vaccinate their children against viral infections, and that the origin of an ongoing measles outbreak traced to Disneyland in Southern California is still open to question.

"I'm not sure why this outbreak is happening," Elaina George, an otolaryngologist and host of "Medicine on Call," told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday. "Remember, we had a lot of people come into the country over the summer who aren't vaccinated and who have come from countries where outbreaks are happening there."

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"Those are the people who are coming in with [measles]," said George, "not the people who have vaccinations done by their pediatricians."

The 2015 measles outbreak appears to be slowing, with 141 infections in 17 states and the District of Columbia reported to date by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

George parted company with many of her medical peers, who have said that the latest outbreak ends the argument over whether kids need immunizations.

"This is a debate that needs to be had at this point," said George. "There's a big push for vaccination for everybody. I may be a little bit outside the box, perhaps, but people should have a choice."

While there is "a lot of data out there that suggests that the vaccinations are effective," there are also "question marks in some of the other data," she said.

She said that "nothing is 100 percent" in medicine, including the effectiveness of measles vaccines, and that some people have contracted measles even after getting their shots.

At the same time, she said, measles does not have a high mortality rate — a very tiny proportion of the people infected with it die — and that public health officials ought to have confidence in the concept of herd immunity — the idea that even if not every single person is vaccinated, enough are to prevent a return of population-scale measles epidemics.

"The way it's playing out is as if the herd is now at risk of getting measles, and that's not the case," said George, adding, "either you believe in herd immunity or you don't, and you do not have to vaccinate 100 percent of the people to get protection."

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An Atlanta doctor and Internet talk show host says that parents should be able to choose whether or not to vaccinate their children.
Elaina George, measles outbreak, CDC
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 04:35 PM
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