Even though the number of measles cases is still rising, the number of people wanting to get vaccinated may not be rising with it.
A group called ‘Michigan for Vaccine Choice,” met at the capital this morning to persuade lawmakers to keep vaccinations optional.
There is currently a statutory law in Michigan stating that it is required for children to be vaccinated to attend school. However, there are multiple exemptions including religious reasons, medical issues, etc.
Theresa Emshwiller is a mother of three and showed up to the capital. She said her children healthy and not vaccinated. Emshwiller said she made the appearance to help keep those exemptions relevant.
“We need to protect those exemptions, you know whether we decide to do a delayed schedule or no schedule at all, or selective, that we have the choice,” said Emshwiller.
She said she made the decision after her friend complained of complications her children faced after being vaccinated and after doing more research, she didn’t want to give her kids vaccines.
With the recent measles outbreak in Michigan, Emshwiller said she’s not worried, but other health care experts think differently.
“We don’t see measles as much anymore and people may not realize how serious it can be,” said Director of the Immunization Division for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Bob Swanson.
Swanson added that he doesn’t this outbreak isn’t random.
“There’s been more vaccine hesitancy, less people getting vaccinated,” said Swanson.
He said measles outbreak first started from a traveler who went to New York, picked up the virus and brought it back to Michigan.
In recent numbers, there are have been 41 measles cases confirmed in Michigan, and that number could continue to rise.
According to the Detroit Free Press, if you were born between 1957 to 1989 you could be more at risk. Swanson said the second dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine wasn’t introduced until 1989, and if you were born before then, you may want to check with a doctor if you have been properly vaccinated.
The Chair for the Board of the Michigan for Vaccine Choice, Joel Dorfman thinks otherwise though.
“Don’t rely on your doctor, your pastor, your friend, to tell you what you should do, many of them don’t have very much information about this subject,” said Dorfman.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Dorfman says they are not anti vaccine, but want people to have the choice.
“We want people who want to get them, to be able to get them,” said Dorfman.
He added that he sees measles as a benign disease, and questions if the vaccine is worth the risk of other side effects.
“If measles are contracted by people who are unvaccinated, they’re not upset about it. They understand that’s a possibility, so those that are vaccinated, if they believe in the efficacy of the vaccine, shouldn’t be concerned,” said Dorfman.
6 News will continue to follow the latest measles outbreak across the country and give you the latest updates as they happen.