More parents are opting to not vaccinate their children or just partially vaccinate. August is National Immunization Month and earlier this month, South Carolina reported its first confirmed case of measles since 1997 in Georgetown County.
Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in the year 2000 but it’s still common in other parts of the world. DHEC epidemiologists say the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent measles. MMR is one of six vaccinations required for school age children but some parents do have concerns about vaccines and want to make their own decisions about vaccinations.
Dr. Parker Rogers at Parkside Pediatrics says he hears parents’ concerns about vaccines on a daily basis. Parents are concerned about things like fevers and rashes all the way up to seizures, autism and death. But Dr. Rogers says many of these fears are not backed up by research and he firmly believes in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and save lives.
He says when he hears about the increasing number of parents opting out of vaccines in South Carolina, he considers it to be a great opportunity for education.
“We at Parkside would love for you to come in if you have any concerns or questions so we can have a discussion with you and talk to you about what exactly are you worried about,” says Dr. Rogers, “Let’s see what the data shows and what the research shows and weigh those two things together and let’s have a conversation about it. That’s what we invite.”
DHEC officials say statewide parents sought 9,427 religious exemptions for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s just over a one percent increase from the previous school year’s exemptions. But in the 2010-2011 school year there were only 2,996 religious exemptions in South Carolina.
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