Medical Minute: Child vaccinations

MINOT, N.D. - The recent measles outbreaks in some eastern parts of the country have made the topic of vaccinations a hot-button issue once again.

We're only four months into 2019 and the U.S. has already had more than 500 reported measles cases according to the Centers for Disease Control. We're on pace to have the most cases since the disease was supposedly eliminated in the year 2000. Not surprisingly, most of those who contracted the disease were unvaccinated.

“It is very important to be up to date on immunizations,” said Christine Thompson, Minot Public School nurse.

Even though the state requires students to have certain vaccinations before they come to school, not all kids actually get them.

“The ones in blue are the schools that are just below that 95-percentile immunization rate,” Thompson said.

She says coming to school without being vaccinated not only puts that child at risk of contracting a disease, but can also pose a risk to vulnerable populations.

“If your student comes home and they've been exposed to it, they can potentially pass on to those ones that are under a year old, that are unable to get the immunization,” she said.

One reason doctors say more parents are choosing not to immunize their kids is the amount of misinformation about vaccines on the internet.

“This is what is available, and you're talking about something they've never seen. The natural tendency is, 'Oh, I'm going to act on what is available, which is what I know,'” said Anthony Udekwe, local pediatrician.

He says claims about excess chemicals and links to autism have all been proven false, as well as the notion people can contract the disease from the vaccination itself.

Dr. Udekwe says the best places to get the most accurate information is by going on the CDC's website, or consulting your doctor directly.