The outbreak of Measles in the Northwest is growing, raising concerns about vaccination rates against the virus.
There are now 35 confirmed cases of Measles in Washington state and the governor declared a state of emergency.
Eleven other cases of suspected measles are being investigated, and with 25 of the cases involve children under 10-years-old, this has public health officials here in Texoma stressing the importance of vaccinations.
The Community Healthcare Center and others facilities in the area haven’t seen any cases of the Measles just yet, but they are encouraging Texomans to take precautions, especially since researchers say Texas tops the list for areas where families choose not to get their kids vaccinated.
Ohara King said, for her daughter Laela to start daycare, she was required to be vaccinated, something King said she has no problem with because not vaccinating her children is not an option.
“With all the different things going on around the world and all the different sicknesses of being in daycare and school I definitely think it’s very important,” King said.
The two states experiencing a measles outbreak, Washington and Oregon, allow parents to opt out of vaccines simply because they want to.
Texas and Oklahoma are among the 18 states that allow parents to opt out of school vaccine requirements based on personal beliefs, but those in the medical field say the single best way to prevent measles and other infectious diseases is to be vaccinated.
“That’s how you protect yourself and others around you,” Immunization Charge nurse Jenna Holden said. “Everybody around you gets immunized to help protect those who can’t.”
Ohara said she is not against anyone who doesn’t believe in vaccines but encourages them to give it a shot.
“Definitely do your research on it you know, get a good feel on it before you go do it, but I feel like it saves them in the long run,” King said.
As the preventable disease becomes a new threat in parts of the country, public health officials said not being vaccinated increases the risk of hospitalization and even death.
Holden said while children are required to get their MMR shots at 12 months and 4 to 6 years if blood work shows they have a low immune system after those 2 doses then they may be required to get additional shots.