Healthwise: lawmaker discussion of vaccine opt-out concerns pediatricians

HEALTHWISE: Dr. Richard Lampe on need for measles vaccine

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A State Representative from the Fort Worth area says he is supporting a bill in Texas to make it easier for parents to opt out of vaccines.

Republican Congressman Bill Zedler argues that children are dying from measles in third world countries, not in America.

The bill and that theory have a lot of health professionals up in arms... including Dr. Richard Lampe, Chairman of Pediatrics at the Texas Tech School of Medicine. “I don’t know when he was born but I was born before the measles vaccine. And the children born in the 1960s; over 500 children a year died in the U.S. from measles. Do we want to revisit that? I certainly don’t. And on top of that, a number of children suffered brain damage from measles. I don’t want to see those children with brain damage, in institutions, suffering. We can prevent that.”

That same Texas lawmaker is also making headlines with another theory, claiming vaccines should be optional because we have antibiotics. Dr. Lampe says that is just wrong. He says antibiotics won’t even work against the measles because measles is a virus. In fact, he says most of the terrible childhood infections that vaccines prevent are caused by a virus. Unfortunately, antibiotics do nothing against a virus, since they are only used to treat bacterial infections.

Speaking for the American Pediatric Association, he says, “We want to present the correct data and act responsibly on it. we trust that our parents will also see the correct data and act responsibly. To say that immunizations are optional is just wrong for children.”

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