Vaccination Debate - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Vaccination Debate

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"There are things like lead, mercury, formaldehyde," Stringer mom Tori Jenkins said.  "I didn't want to inject my son with those types of ingredients."

Vaccines do not equal health," Mississippi Parents of Vaccine Rights Co-Director Lindey Magee said.  "If they equaled health, Mississippi would be the healthiest state in our nation, and it's absolutely not."

She said the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 stated parents cannot sue doctors or vaccine manufacturing companies over injuries or death caused by vaccinations.

"Once that law came abut, vaccine manufacturers got really busy creating new vaccines because they had absolutely nothing to lose," Magee said.  "They have no incentive to make vaccines safe or effective."

Since then parents and doctors have debated over vaccines.

Jenkins is the mother of 20-month-old Sawyer.

"He can't tell me, 'This doesn't make me feel good, this isn't what I want.' He can't speak, so I have to try to make the correct choice for him," Jenkins said.

In the early 80's, children received about 10 vaccinations.  Now, according to the Center for Disease Control, there are nearly 40 for children by age 6.

"You can't tell me that it's a coincidence that the more vaccines you're getting, the more people are being diagnosed with Autism," Jenkins said.  "It's not just a freak accident. There's something."

However, Family Nurse Practitioner Kim Howell said studies have proven that there is no cause-and-effect that links vaccinations and Autism.

Jenkins and Magee agree that they know their children better than politicians.

"I'm not anti-vaccine by any stretch of the imagination," Magee said.  "I just believe that parents know their children best and that parents should be able to choose which vaccines and when."

"That's basically taking away some of your rights by forcing you to give your child vaccines that you don't want to give them," Jenkins said.

Newton said Sawyer had shots for things like Polio and Whooping Cough, but she opted out of those like Chicken Pox and Heppititis-B.

"Chicken pox is not a life-threatening disease," Magee said. 

She said the Hep-B inserts lists things like Multiple Sclerosis and Apnea.

"Hep-B does not concern me for my infant," Magee said.  "Mothers are checked in pregnancy, and if they're not positive, then the baby doesn't have Hep-B. Unless you're going to take it to get a tattoo with a dirty needle, it's not an issue."

She said her 4-year-old daughter is unvaccinated and only ever had strep throat.

"We just eat really healthy and get lots of sunshine and exercise," Magee said.

The worst sickness Sawyer ever had was a sinus infection.

Howell warns, though, that it only takes one person being exposed to something to create an epidemic.  She gives the current outbreak of Polio in Syria as an example.

Still, Magee continues.  She said Mississippi and West Virginia have the heaviest laws on vaccination mandates.  In our state, kids can't attend public or private schools without all of their shots, creating hardships on many families.

"Some of them can't afford to go home and home school their children,"  Magee said.  "About a month ago, I know a family in North Mississippi that moved to Tennessee over this."

Howell said the side effects are usually mild and short lived.  Serious side effects are rare, and the benefits outweigh the risks.

"We're not asking the state to decide whether shots are good or bad," Magee said.  "We're asking legislators to give the parents back the right to make medical decisions for their children."

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