Tags: MidPoint | Richard Carmona | measles | vaccinations | Jenny McCarthy

Ex-Surgeon General Carmona: 'All Children Should Be Vaccinated'

By    |   Thursday, 05 February 2015 03:37 PM

Illnesses and deaths from preventable viruses are going to climb, as will the costs of containing outbreaks and caring for the sick, unless people who choose not to have their kids vaccinated are persuaded to reconsider, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

This is a major, major problem for the United States," Carmona, surgeon general in 2002-2006, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner, as a measles outbreak that some experts are calling an epidemic continues. "We have individuals' rights to decide in a democracy up against the rights of society to be safe."

Story continues below video.

Note: Watch Newsmax TV now on DIRECTV Ch. 349 and DISH Ch. 223
Get Newsmax TV on your cable system – Click Here Now

Carmona made clear which side he takes: "There's a compelling reason why people need to be vaccinated, because at this time, this disease is spreading, the cost of care is an issue as well, and significant morbidity and mortality is going to mount up if we don't do this. All children should be vaccinated."

Carmona said the Chicago daycare center hit by measles this week, with five babies infected, is exactly the type of "contained environment" where outbreaks can multiply among the unvaccinated.

Measles is "a very contagious disease and when you're in a contained environment — especially in classrooms, clubs, basketball teams and baseball teams — it's a quick way to spread that disease."

"That is the reason why every child should be immunized, so that we're all protected," he said.

But resistance to vaccination continues in some communities, based on religious convictions, fears of complications, objections in principle to government mandates, or distrust of the medical-pharmaceutical industry.

"The thing we try to do, especially as a surgeon general, is to educate people, and we hope to inform our parents with good information [so] they'll make good decisions that really are about preserving the health of their children," said Carmona.

What happens, however, is that sometimes "people act through emotion," he said, alluding to the furor over a link — thoroughly debunked but still hawked by television personality Jenny McCarthy — between vaccines and autism.

"You have a lot of theories that will probably have no scientific validity at all, but yet, when you have a couple of media superstars make these comments, you start to see people even on the wealthy end of the scale not vaccinating their children," he said.

At the other end of the economic scale are "children who have difficulty getting healthcare because they're poor," he said.

And when enough of those children go unvaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, among other conditions, group immunity decreases and "we see the disease spread," he said.

Carmona said the measles outbreak of 2015 is crying out for "informed leadership," not "politicians making some inaccurate remarks … and confusing the public."

"When people refuse to do the right thing, the government does have a compelling interest to step in for the greater good of society to ensure that order is maintained and health is maintained," he said. "In this case, if the public refuses to immunize their children, the government does have a compelling interest in keeping society healthy and safe."

A less political approach to picking surgeon generals might help the cause, said Carmona.

"These positions prior to the '60s and '70s were always career officers who got promoted," he said. "Politicians started reaching in and trying to affect the outcome of who might be a surgeon general, and bringing in people who have never been in uniform, and bringing people who might not have the training, experience and education."

"My contention is we need to go back to what Congress's original intention was, which was to have career public health officers that merit promotion to that position," said Carmona, a physician and nurse by training who was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Under the current system, "you see the politicians getting out in front of health things, and they really haven't gotten the information, and the staff has to backtrack what they say," said Carmona.

A surgeon general has to have the public's trust that "when you speak … you speak from a nonpartisan, nonpolitical platform," he said. "You speak truth to science and truth to power."

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

1Like our page
Illnesses and deaths from preventable viruses are going to climb unless people who choose not to have their kids vaccinated are persuaded to reconsider, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
Richard Carmona, measles, vaccinations, Jenny McCarthy
Thursday, 05 February 2015 03:37 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved