Tech Chancellor Speaks Out on Child Immunizations in Texas - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/5/04

Tech Chancellor Speaks Out on Child Immunizations in Texas

"I try to make the point that we're becoming complacent and worried and fearsome of something that is a very effective tool for doctors," says Texas Tech Chancellor Dr. David Smith.

Titled "The Promise of Vaccines: The Science and the Controversy," Dr. Smith's special report is aimed at eradicating the fear factor associated with vaccines. Parents worried that the shot they give their child may cause more damage than the disease itself. The result of that worry? Texas still has biblical diseases; tuberculosis, whooping cough, leprosy. Nearly 1/3 of Texas toddlers are not fully immunized.

"Cattle are better immunized than children in the state of Texas right now," says Smith. Within it's 44 pages the report examines the wives tale links between vaccine and disease. Does the shot for Hepatitis B cause MS? Does the Influenza vaccine cause Type I Diabetes? Is the prevention of measles, mumps, and rubella linked to autism? In each instance, the answer is no. Even so, fear of disease isn't the only obstacle.

"Most of the time it's, 'I didn't want the baby to get five sticks." Nurse Ronda Cartwright of the Lubbock Health Department, continually doing outreach to get kids their shots. "Last week we did shots at Toys R' Us, and at the Safety City," she said.

The health care industry going on the offensive, trying to convince squirming parents that medicine really is good. "We all wish we had a vaccine for teen pregnancy, AIDS, and substance abuse - my argument is you might not use it," said Smith.

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