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SLU Pediatrician Criticizes Vaccine Skeptics After Measles Outbreak

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Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Fear the disease, not the vaccine.

That’s the word from a local pediatrician who is speaking out in the wake of a measles outbreak at a Texas church.

The outbreak began when an infected person visited Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, just north of Fort Worth. The 21 people infected range in age from four months to 44-years-old and most had not been vaccinated.

“We don’t take chances with our kids when we have them in a car, we should not take chances with our kids when they’re out in the world,” SLU Care pediatrician Dr. Ken Haller at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center says. “Kids need to be vaccinated. I feel so sorry for these people who got measles down in Texas and I hope none of them end up dying as a result of it.”

Vaccination opt-out rates have crept up nationwide over the past decade, spurred by anti-vaccine advocates who warn the injections can lead to autism.

Haller says he understands parents’ fear of vaccines but says they are unwarranted.

“It is really important, as parents, if you have fears for your kid’s safety, for those fears to be rational; the fear of the diseases we’re trying to prevent and not the best means of preventing it,” he says.

In many ways, Haller says vaccinations are a victim of their own success. Vaccines have done such a good job preventing certain diseases, he says, that many people forget they still exist, allowing the disease to once again pick up steam.

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